GUERNSEY – Liesl Sisson is the second half of last week’s article on Guernsey’s successful power couple. Dan Sisson would say his “better half.” Liesl just smiles at that comment.
From last week, the definition of a power couple was given: “The definition of “power couple” according to Oxford Languages is “a couple consisting of two people who are each influential or successful in their own right.” There are also 12 signs according to Fairygodboss.com that tell if you are a power couple.
Dan and Leisl Sisson fit that category nicely and most likely they fulfill at least 10 of the 12 signs.”
This week we will be looking at Guernsey-Sunrise K-12 principal Liesl Sisson.
Dan Sisson was born and raised in a small community setting while Liesl Sisson was born and raised in Casper. All the finest fast-food restaurants, and a Walmart.
“We lived in town until I was in eighth grade,” Sisson said. “We then moved out to the country just to get out of town and have some land. I have always grown up with horses, but we used them primarily for hunting and family riding.”
Although she made mention that she grew up with horses, she admitted that dogs were her favorite animal.
Sisson grew up an aquaphile which simply means that grew up with a love for water and swimming and participated in swimming at Casper High School and was a competitive swimmer since fourth-grade.
“In the summers you can still find me in the pool swimming laps,” Sisson said. “In high school I mainly competed in the 1500 meter free. Anything with water, I love.”
High school was also a time when Sisson ran track and also was in band through the ninth-grade, playing the clarinet.
“Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “I played school while I was in elementary and at my friend’s houses.”
Although Sisson’s mother worked at Casper College in the financial aid department, she said it really wasn’t that influence that made her decision, but she says that she had some teachers in elementary school that helped her make a career decision early and that she really enjoyed school.
Although there were a lot of good memories for Sisson along the way, she had a particular love that she developed while in high school.
“I love to travel and my senior year in high school I had to take French class,” she said. “During spring break that year, we got to go to Paris. We spent a week there with our French teachers and it was amazing. It’s got to be among one of my favorite memories.”
She got the travel bug and once out of high school after a 2003 graduation she would look for more opportunities.
“After I graduated, I went to Australia and got to swim in the All-Under games there,” she said. “It was wonderful. We were in Sydney and then on the Gold Coast. They just had the 2000 Olympics there so we stayed at the Olympic Village.”
After she graduated, she spent two years at Casper College where her math teacher and mentor helped her earn her math degree along with her education degree. She then went on to Laramie and completed her Bache laureate degree from the University of Wyoming where she earned a degree in secondary education and math.”
Her next move was as if it was scripted.
“I applied at various different places,” she said. “I applied at Wheatland just to get some interviewing experience. So, I went down and did the interview and Maureen Ryff was the principal at the time. I left the interview and had a friend that was from Wheatland that I went to college with. I called him and said, ‘well, I think I’m going to be taking a job in Wheatland.’ It just felt like that’s where I was going.”
Sisson said that she was the only new teacher hired that year and mentioned that the new employee orientation was a bit lonely, but said that the staff at the high school was very welcoming and took her in and away they went.
From there, she enjoyed her teaching career at Wheatland High school and while teaching met the other half of the power couple at a pontoon boat party that took place on a trailer in front of Eric and Kristen Jones’ home as kind of a dry run before the boat was actually taken up to Glendo Reservoir.
The couple were engaged for a few years while Sisson earned her master’s degree in math in 2012 from a combination program from Northern Colorado and UW before eventually taking a teacher leadership program that finished up in 2014. She then went to work for the Guernsey-Sunrise school system.
“My education gave me a lot of skills to be a teacher-coach,” she said. “So, I was looking for that opportunity in Wheatland, but they didn’t have anything open at the time, but Guernsey ended up having an opening in 2015.”
From working for the Guernsey-Sunrise district as a teacher-coach, the principal position became vacant and upon encouragement from Mike Beard, she threw her hat into the ring and was hired for the job.
Her first year she was thrown into the fire immediately with COVID. She has navigated unchartered waters and has led the high school through the pandemic.
She said that although working for the district helped her know the Guernsey-Sunrise system and helped her to learn the ropes, she admits, “Oh I think there are still ropes to learn.”
Dan and Liesl Sisson have a 2-year-old daughter, Claire who Sisson says is definitely in that 2-year-old stage, but admits that it is fun raising a family and plan on one more before it’s all said and done.
The couple are very important to the community and also very involved in many community and educational activities. One is in the financial oversight of finances in the community as a bank president and the other has oversight of the educational needs and goals of the community. Definitely the definition of a Guernsey power-couple.