Vail teacher, who made music come alive for Eagle County elementary students, is heading home

But her legacy of successful performances remains

Red Sandstone Elementary School's outgoing music teacher, Sue Pehrson, right, poses with outgoing principal Marcie Laidman.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Sue Pehrson, the beloved music teacher at Brush Creek Elementary in Eagle and Red Sandstone Elementary in Vail, is leaving Eagle County to be closer to her children and grandchildren in her native Minnesota.

Pehrson taught 550 students per week between the two schools, ranging in age from kindergarteners to fifth graders, and formed personal connections with every student.

“You get to know them really well when you’re a specialist like a music teacher, because you get to know them from kindergarten through fifth grade,” Pehrson said. “I’m going to miss them, for sure.”

Pehrson, a Minnesota native, came to Eagle County in 2009. Pehrson’s first position in the area was at Brush Creek Elementary, where, excepting a couple of years away, she has worked ever since, sharing her talents with Red Sandstone Elementary when she returned to Eagle County in 2015.

“There were usually tears at her performances, because they’re just amazing.” — Marcie Laidman, outgoing principal of Red Sandstone Elementary School

In the classroom, Pehrson — who students called Ms. Sue — was known for her creativity and ability to engage students.

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“The most impressive thing is that Sue not only wanted students to learn about music, but she wanted them to love and appreciate music. Not just singing, but also with instruments, and making music come alive for students. It was so impactful,” said Marcie Laidman, outgoing principal of Red Sandstone Elementary School.

Music has held meaning for Pehrson her entire life. “I was always passionate about it, ever since I was a young girl,” she said. As a child, she sang and played ukulele, guitar, organ, and piano. “I just wanted to do it all,” Pehrson said. Formally trained as a teacher, Pehrson obtained her music teaching license in 1994 and never looked back.

Sue Pehrson and Eagle Children’s Choir students take in audience applause after their May 2023 performance of “A Kid’s Life,” a musical about kids spending a day without technology.
Courtesy photo

The concerts and choir performances Pehrson put on with her students were renowned for their success. Students would sing, dance, and play instruments including guitar, piano, and ukulele.

“There were usually tears at her performances because they’re just amazing,” Laidman said.

For Pehrson, as well, the performances stood out as a highlight of her time in Eagle County.

“It’s so much fun to watch the kids shine on stage, and do what they’re best at. I will always remember those shows,” Pehrson said.

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Outside of school, Pehrson enjoyed the beautiful Eagle County outdoors while mountain biking, hiking, skiing, and participating in other snow sports while cultivating a community of close friends who also enjoyed being active. Pehrson particularly loved skiing powder in Vail Mountain’s Back Bowls.

“You can’t beat that,” she said.

With her adult children starting families in Minnesota, Pehrson had to make what she called the “bittersweet decision” to leave Eagle County and move back to Minneapolis.

“I’ve had some hard days the last couple weeks, getting ready to go and knowing that I was leaving everyone that I’d gotten to know so well,” Pehrson said. In Minnesota, Pehrson is excited to spend time with her grandchildren, and to continue to pursue her passion as a music teacher. “Hopefully at a school as wonderful as Brush Creek and Red Sandstone,” she said.

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