A conversation with Dr. Lucilla Esham

Veteran teacher Lucilla Esham of Gumboro retired this year from Sussex Technical High School after 38 years teaching. She taught at the elementary, middle school, high school and college levels, in such varied subjects as reading, math, science, and social studies. She also has taught at Widener University and at Delaware Technical Community College, where she has been an adjunct instructor for the last four years.

At Sussex Tech, she has most recently been a special education shared approach teacher, co-teaching social studies classes with other specialists. She recently shared her thoughts about education, advice to students and future teachers, and more.

How did you become a teacher?

I majored in pre-law at the University of Delaware, and was fortunate enough to fall in love with teaching while working as a career specialist for Jobs for Delaware Graduates after graduating from college.

I returned to UD and earned my master’s degree in education. My maternal grandmother and namesake taught school in rural Georgia; while we never met, as she passed away when my mom was three, I have striven to honor her memory through my passion for teaching.

What were the highlights of your career at Sussex Tech?

Teaching at Sussex Tech has been the best part of my teaching career. I feel very fortunate to have spent the last fifteen years as an educator at this wonderful school. Our students and staff are kind, committed to learning, and make coming to school each day a positive experience.

My most rewarding (and fun) teaching experience has been co-teaching social studies in the inclusion setting, working collaboratively with Ms. Swan and Mr. Denbrock. It has been exciting and rewarding to design and develop lesson plans in the professional learning community that support each student’s opportunity to learn and grow academically and socially.

What advice would you give to future teachers?

I would recommend that prospective teachers spend time volunteering, interning or working as substitute teachers to see if teaching is their calling and whether teaching in elementary, secondary, or post-secondary learning environment is the best fit. Earning advanced degrees will enhance both their knowledge and salary level.

What advice would you give to incoming students and parents at Sussex Tech?

Enjoy every minute of your high school experience. Become involved in our school community through Skills USA, sports, and clubs; these four years fly by.

What are your plans in retirement?

I plan to continue to teach at DelTech, to earn my Realtor’s license, and to research and write about my father’s experience as a World War II pilot as well as write about education and social issues. I am looking forward to spending time with family and traveling. First things first, though: I am going to Disneyworld!



Career Highlights: Taught at Sussex Elementary Consortium for three years; Sussex Central Middle School for 15 years; Sussex Technical High School for 15 years. Worked for Jobs for Delaware Graduates at Sussex Central and Laurel High Schools for two years; worked for the University of Delaware for three years in the ACCESS Center while earning master’s degree. Adjunct instructor, Delaware Technical Community College.

Education: Doctorate in educational leadership, University of Delaware, 2001; Master’s in Special Education, University of Delaware, 1985; Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, University of Delaware, magna cum laude. National Board Certification in exceptional youth, 2008 and 2018.

Other: Served as SkillsUSA advisor for community service, job demonstration, and customer service. Served as lead mentor for the Comprehensive Induction program at Sussex Tech, supporting new educators and their mentors as they earn their licensure and certification.

Lucilla Esham
Lucilla Esham helps a student in one of her classes.