Teacher inspired by her students

Susan Domanico was born and raised in New Jersey. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she also met and married her husband, Ed.

After Domanico finished her Ph. D. in biochemistry at Northwestern University, she and Ed moved to San Diego in 1993 and started raising their family. She spent five years as a postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute and then decided to pursue her true passion--teaching.

She has been teaching high school biology and chemistry at La Jolla Country Day School since 1998, and now also serves as the science department chair.

“The students and faculty at Country Day make every day a pleasure to come to work,” Domanico said. “I am inspired and challenged daily and couldn’t ask for a more rewarding career!”

What brought you to Carmel Valley?

About 10 years ago, we got tired of the increased traffic as we commuted from Torrey Pines and Sorrento Valley to Encinitas. Carmel Valley is close to where my husband and I work, and we love the fact that we can spend more time with our children.

What makes Carmel Valley special to you?

Carmel Valley is a community filled with active families. We’ve enjoyed getting to know so many wonderful people as our children moved through elementary school and all the soccer, football and baseball leagues.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Carmel Valley?

I would immediately add an efficient, fast and safe “monorail” system to deliver our children to all the ballfields, schools, the beach and the library. The number of cars driving in circles to get our children to all their great activities is crazy.

Who or what inspires you?

The brilliant, fresh, young minds that pass through my classroom inspire me every day. The students challenge my mind and give me infinite hope.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, who (living or deceased) would you invite?

Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams, Mary Shelley, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Richard Feynman, Alton Brown for the food, and Jon Stewart to keep us laughing.

What are you currently reading?

I am reading “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith for my neighborhood book club, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” by Sean Carroll for my AP Biology course, and “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer for the new neuroscience class I am developing for next year.

What is your most prized possession?

My most prized possessions would be the love and closeness of my family. In addition to my husband and my children, I am blessed to have my parents nearby. They moved to Fallbrook from New Jersey about six years ago, to be close to us.

What do you do for fun?

I am a passionate knitter and I love to work in my garden. In the summer when I have more free time, I go to yoga several times a week and spend as much time on the beach as possible.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

I am most proud of my two children, ages 12 and 14. It is a delight to watch them mature.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Pursue excellence in all that you do.