Meet Susan Tiedeman Bickel! A true North Palm Beach native whose family was one of the first to reside here back in 1959 when John D. MacArthur started developing the area. With a family of her own now, she chose to return to her roots after college and raise her family in North Palm Beach. Susan has been a teacher for 24 years and currently teaches at the Benjamin School teaching science to the K through 5th graders. In 2019, she was awarded Chemistry Teacher of the Year by the American Association of Chemistry Teachers.
She is a lover of Florida natural history and has been known to spend her spare time hiking or kayaking the back trails of Florida with her daughter. She is also a dedicated volunteer and consistently gives her time to causes she is passionate about. Susan and I met at a clean-up I was hosting at Anchorage Park, pulling trash from the Earman River. Among her many talents, she is also an amazing baker who donates her tasty creations to the annual bake sale hosted by The Friends of the North Palm Beach Library. Her treats are some of the first to sell and helps raise funds for the extra programming at the Library. Recently, Susan volunteered to read to 1st graders as part of the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County’s Read for the Record Campaign. Thanks to her efforts and that of 27 North Palm staff members, North Palm Beach won the Small Municipalities category by reading Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away to 700 students at 5 different schools. Her kind heart, keen intelligence, and overwhelming dedication to our community makes her one of the most amazing people living amongst us.
Thank you, Susan, for taking the time to speak with us and share your story, insights, and love for The Palm Beaches!
Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a North Palm native who has chosen to raise my family here. Tradition and family are very important to me and I love watching my children grow up where I did.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
I’m the youngest of five children raised in North Palm. My parents moved here in 1959 for my dad to work for Pratt and Whitney. I’ve been married for 15 years to my husband, Jeff, and think I am the luckiest mom in the world because my children are kind and fun people!
Q: Please tell us about your current career. What do you love most about what you do?
I’m a science teacher. I love the kids and the best part is when the lightbulb goes off because they understand a difficult topic.
What is your favorite restaurant in The Palm Beaches, and what do you love there?
I really like Thaicoon on Northlake Boulevard. I’ve been going there since I was in high school and it was a huge treat when my mom would take me. I still eat there and it feels like home.
Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
I was born and raised in North Palm Beach. I went away for college and lived in the Northeast for about 10 years before I woke up one morning and thought, “What am I doing?” and I came home.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
My mom’s best friend, Alice Turecki, was a sculptress from Bratislava who left during the Nazi occupation and ended up playing accordion on a koala farm in New Zealand before meeting her husband and moving to North Palm Beach. She had such an interesting life.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I’d love to do a road trip to Mesa Verde in Colorado. I haven’t been to that part of the country and there are so many amazing places in the United States. Mesa Verde interests me particularly because I’ve visited several archeological sites in South America and I’d like to see what the US has.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is Men in Black. I love how diverting and fun it is.
Q: What advice would you give to a crowd of people?
Listen and be kind.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
I’d like to see the Northern Lights. It looks so magical from photos and videos but nothing replaces seeing things in person.
Q: What is your favorite type of music to listen to or your favorite band?
I like hard rock and I’d have to say Jimi Hendrix is one of my favorites.
Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
Dairy Queen is a nostalgic favorite for me. My dad died when I was 13 so my mom and I spent a lot of time together and we did a lot of road trips around the southeast United States. My mom loved Dairy Queen and could only find it when we traveled. Dairy Queen makes me nostalgic for my mom’s sense of fun and adventure.
Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
I’d like to meet Banksy. I think the fact that he has been able to keep his identity a secret is fascinating. I’d take him to the Brass Ring Pub because then we could have great hamburgers and he could still be unknown.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
It’s amazing to me how many of my friends have chosen to come back to North Palm Beach to raise their families. I don’t think many communities have the same kind of loyalty.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
I can’t even think about it because I’ll be an empty nester!
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I’m a metalhead. I love listening to loud hard rock in my car when I’m alone where no one will make fun of me!
Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been to?
I visited an ancient cemetery in Peru that was so incredibly moving and peaceful. I can’t explain why it moved me so much but it felt like a sacred place.
Q: What’s your favorite day of the year and why?
Halloween because it’s the only holiday where no one expects me to cook a big meal or buy presents. You get to dress up and eat candy for dinner.
Q: What would you rate a 10 out of 10?
My life 🙂 – Not every day, of course, but I love my life.
Q: Who inspires you to be better?
My daughter. She is the best person I know and I always want to make her proud of me.
Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
FAMILY | FRIENDS | LOVE