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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Jan 24

Susan Piland

Posted on January 24, 2017 at 8:05 AM by Communications Department

United Way Community Hero

United Way of the Virginia Peninsula is honored to salute Community Hero, Susan Piland. With quiet grace and incredible warmth,
Susan Piland is a woman who would much rather listen than speak. In fact, it is her gift for listening that has helped this stealth mover of mountains to quietly change lives, broaden perspectives, and help people improve their neighborhoods and their lives. Susan enjoyed a long career in academia, beginning as a middle school educator in both Michigan and her home state of Virginia. The latter part of her career included work as a high school counselor, school administrator and staff development director, working closely with current Virginia Department of Education CEO and former Superintendent of Hampton City Schools, Dr. Billy Cannaday.

Susan credits her early work with People to People and subsequent involvement with Newport News Mayor McKinley Price’s task force to reduce teen violence as her springboard into a passionate devotion to ABCD: asset-based community development. What began with the task force has evolved into what is now known as “Circle of Compassion”— a grassroots approach to addressing community issues that invites interested residents within neighborhoods to engage in conversation, idea and talent exchange, decide upon and set their own goals for solving issues, and develop relationships with outside resources that can help take their plans to fruition.

“I’m really proud of our community. I love the diversity of this community. There have been so many changes just in the past 10 years that people don’t even know about,” says this dedicated servant who would never take credit for her own part in making it happen.