About Dr. Susan K. Vaughan



Susan received a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and holds current Texas certifications for K-12 Music, K-12 Art, and Superintendent of Schools.  She earned her MBA from the University of Minnesota Carlson Executive Management Program in Marketing and Quality Assurance.  Additionally, she earned two M.A. degrees from Texas Woman’s University in Piano Performance and Music Education and one M.A. degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, in Art Education.


Dr. Vaughan’s piano studies began with Katherine Johnson and composer, Merritt Johnson, Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota.  Recently, she teamed with two universities and the Johnson family members to compile all of Merritt Johnson’s music.  These works are currently available free of charge on-line worldwide through the devoted efforts of Dr. McKnight, University of North Texas, and Robert Russell, Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Additionally, recordings of many of the works are available through UNT and NSU.

Dr. Vaughan completed graduate piano study with Dr. Wilgus Eberly, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas, and Mr. Terrence Rust, University of Minnesota, Duluth (Piano Games author).  She studied piano with Vladimir Levitski, Principal Pianist of the Minnesota Orchestra, Minneapolis Minnesota; Evelyn Chen, Columbia University Teacher’s College Faculty, Houston, Texas; and Gustavo Romero, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. 

Suzuki Training

Dr. Vaughan taught Suzuki and traditional piano at the Galveston Island Arts Academy, which she and her husband, Michael Hennen, founded and for which she served as executive director and CEO for twelve years.  She was manager of the Annual Galveston Island Arts Academy Concert Series, an eleven-year collaborative project with the Mary Moody Northen Endowment.  Susan began teaching piano in the Suzuki tradition while in Sandia Park, New Mexico, prior to her move to Galveston, Texas.  Susan completed all seven levels of professional piano training. 

In addition to serving as an adjudicator for the North Texas Suzuki Association Trophy Festival and annual Guild auditions, Susan is a member of the Plano Music Teachers Association, where she oversees the Halloween Festival annually.  Susan’s students participate in periodic recitals as well as Parent and Student group classes, all part of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki’s teaching and learning traditions.

Dr. Susan K. Vaughan combines traditional teaching rigor from the Suzuki Association of the Americas with diverse piano technical studies of Terrence Rust. Lessons are individualized to meet the needs of every student, appropriate for their performance and learning goals.  Susan has a particular interest, commitment, and training in high potential students and those children on the autism spectrum.  She was a guest speaker about autism with Suzuki adaptations at the 2016 International Suzuki Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 


Professional Career

For sixteen years, Dr. Vaughan served as the Minnesota State Fine Arts Specialist designing state music and art tests and curricula for 435 school districts.  She also created curricula for students with special needs and served on the MENC Professional Development Task Force sponsored by Yamaha International Corporation.  Dr. Vaughan served as a member of the MENC Music Educators Journal editorial review board prior to moving into the role of director of Shakopee, Minnesota’s Special Services and Assessment programs. 

Teaching Experience

Susan’s teaching career began in Minnesota, where she taught music and art for nine years at Hibbing and Century Community Colleges.  She exhibited art, performed piano concerts, and conducted musicals, including “Fiddler on the Roof” and the first off Broadway production of “Man of La Mancha.”  Susan directed the college Chamber Band and served as music manager for Minnesota State Fine Arts Festivals.  Dr. Vaughan directed the Chamber Band when it performed at the Anglo-International Music Festival in Guildford, England earning a merit rating.

While in Texas, Dr. Vaughan taught elementary and secondary choral and classroom music in Houston and Galveston.  She founded the districtwide, audition-based Houston ISD Elementary Honor Choir while at Harvard IB Magnet school, a program which continues annually.  Before moving to Denton, Susan served as the Houston ISD district level secondary fine arts manager, responsible for creating district arts curricula while providing leadership to Houston’s secondary school music, art, dance, and theatre programs.  While employed by HISD, Susan successfully secured at $250,000 US Department of Education Arts Grant for Houston’s secondary fine arts programs.  While at HISD, she managed marching band festivals and arts programming appropriate for enhancing the quality of arts instruction and enrichment activities.

 Denton Suzuki Academy Teaching Studio with Steinway Grand Piano and Yamaha Grand Piano

Denton Suzuki Academy Teaching Studio with Steinway Grand Piano and Yamaha Grand Piano