As It Was: Susanne Homes Becomes Jackson County Educator

Nov 1, 2017

In 1896, Susanne Homes was a member of the first graduating class of Southern Oregon State Normal School in Ashland, a forerunner to present-day Southern Oregon University.

Homes grew up when women could not even vote or run for office.  Twenty-four years later, she was elected as superintendent of schools, the first woman to be elected to county office in Jackson County.

After graduation, she had taught in local schools, including Ashland High, and in Alaska before returning to Ashland and witnessing the success of the women’s rights movement.  In 1920, she ran for superintendent of schools as a Republican, winning by only 63 votes.  Four years later, she was reelected with bipartisan support.  Homes visited rural schools spread over the county, driving slowly with her horse tied to the back of her car. When the road got rough, she mounted her horse and completed the journey.  Asked if she would have liked an easier job, she once replied “It keeps me out of doors in this country I love best.”

Suzanne Homes died in 1944.  Today, the Suzanne Homes Residence Hall at Southern Oregon University honors her name. 

Source: Vondracek, Jean. "Early-day educator was an innovator." Medford Mail Tribune, 11 Mar. 1987, p. B1.