Passionate about music for as long as she can remember, Susan Marie Barzda often dreamed of becoming a band director. She worked hard to make that dream a reality, starting by earning a Bachelor of Music from Heidelberg University in 1974 and by becoming a licensed music teacher through the K-12 Ohio Department of Education. Then, to further her professional standing, she obtained a qualified intellectual disabilities professional certification from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disability and completed postgraduate coursework at Muskingum College.
Ms. Barzda’s first job in the field was instrumental and vocal music instructor at Rolling Hills Local School District in Ohio, followed by positions as a music teacher at the Cambridge Developmental Center and the director of the high school band at Bishop Rosencrans High School. During this time, she began working with disabled people, and although she thought it would be temporary, she ended up feeling a deep connection to those she was helping. Ms. Barzda’s goals began to shift, and she decided to join the Cambridge Developmental Center full time. From 1987 to 1993, she served the organization as an administrative assistant II, and from 1993 to 2015, she served them as a qualified intellectual disabilities professional. Since 2015, Ms. Barzda has sat on the Cambridge Developmental Center’s Citizens Advisory Committee. She considers helping developmentally disabled people become more independent to be the highlight of her career.
As a testament to her success, Ms. Barzda received the President’s Award from the Ohio Community Theatre Association in 2007 and the Dick Beal Outstanding Regional Representative Award from the Ohio Community Theatre Association in 2002, as well as the Rhodes-King Scholarship from Heidelberg College, the Jean Lisle Memorial Award from the Alliance Music Study Club, and a scholarship from the Quota Club Alliance. Her achievements were highlighted in six editions of Who’s Who in America, five of Who’s Who of American Women, and two of Who’s Who in the World.
When Ms. Barzda has free time, she enjoys acting, traveling, gardening, and genealogy. She currently pursues her avocations as the secretary, board member-at-large, executive committee member, and Southeast Ohio regional representative of the Ohio Community Theater Association. Ms. Barzda also likes to play clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, and tenor saxophone. She has been a clarinetist in the Muskingum Valley Symphony since 2005, the Dominic Greco Concert Band and the Coshocton Community Band since 2002, and the Zanesville Memorial Concert Band since 1982.