by Amy Lehrer | photo by Lauren Nygard Photography

Proud Carlsbad Resident Susan McKinney Gives Back at the Library

Susan McKinney comes from a family of volunteers. Her mom baked pies and sewed quilts for fundraisers in addition to supporting the Polish-American Club and St. Patrick’s Church. Her father served as the Treasurer of the Polish Club and on numerous Carlsbad school parent committees. Inspired by her parents, Susan McKinney began volunteering last year. A recently retired high school principal and former teacher, Susan chose to support the Cole Library. While her main duties include reshelving books and sorting donations, she has also assisted in translating documents into Spanish and helps community members find what they need. As an arts supporter too, she is likewise honored to serve as an usher at the Old Globe Theatre.

Name: Susan (Karpinski) McKinney
Community: Carlsbad
Volunteer Affiliation: Carlsbad Libraries
Occupation: Retired High School Principal
Family: Sons – Adam (27) and William (22); Siblings – Kerwin (CHS class of ’70), Nancy (’75), and Lynn (’76)
Favorite Spots in Carlsbad: The beach


volunteer_mckinney2Susan McKinney has led an interesting life. It began in Carlsbad when her parents left Michigan. She attended Buena Vista Elementary and vividly remembers being impressed by a walking field trip to what became the Cole Library the day it opened. She attended UCSD and SDSU to obtain her teaching credential and then taught high school Spanish, English, and social studies. Interestingly, she even taught the husband of her Cole Library mentor, Nancy Ludwig, during her first year teaching. She moved to Oregon when her husband took a job as an animator for Will Vinton Productions. She worked as a teacher, assistant principal, and high school principal and obtained her Master’s degree in Instructional Technology. In addition, she and her ex-husband raised two sons who now have successful careers. William, a musician, tours with a band named March Fourth, and Adam works for Education Pioneers. She shared, “I could not be more proud of these two fine young men, and I give my ‘ex’ most of the credit for how wonderful they are.” When her mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Susan retired and moved to Carlsbad to care for her. Both of her parents have since then passed away, but she feels lucky to have shared their last days.

Now that her children are grown and her parent caretaking days are completed, Susan’s life is an open page. She may work in another capacity or travel, but she’s certain she will continue to attend her book group and meet up with the Tamarack Tootsies for fun activities and volunteering in Carlsbad. She expressed, “I am so proud of what this town has become and very grateful to my parents for moving us here.”