Annemarie Fetter, the 2017-2018 STAR student for West Union High School, has selected Seth Sutton as STAR teacher of the year.
Sutton, who has taught at West Union for all six years of his teaching career so far, teaches Geometry, Algebra II and Algebra. He is a Pontotoc native who graduated from Lakeview Baptist Academy in Tupleo and pursued a degree in education from Blue Mountain College. After graduating, he began serving as a substitute teacher at North Pontotoc and at New Albany Elementary School. While substituting at the elementary school, Sutton said he met Jamey Wright, who was about to transition to West Union in an administrator position at the time. He interviewed with Wright and was hired on in a teaching position.
Sutton said he has found success in promoting discussion among his students as a teaching method.
“I try to include peer groups because, in my six years, I’ve discovered that any struggle that a student has, they are more likely to feel comfortable asking each other in small groups than asking me in front of the whole class. I also try to incorporate discussion with students who’ve never had me before regarding my physical distinction, about my height. By doing that, they realize that I’m approachable and that I have been able to overcome a lot of the same social fears they have.”
Earlier this school year, Sutton was selected as West Union teacher of the year and Union County School District teacher of the year.
Fetter said she selected Sutton as STAR teacher because of the impact he made in her life when she first came to West Union.
“When I first moved here, I felt really discouraged because I didn’t know anybody,” Fetter said. “Both my sisters and I just kind of gave up when we came because it just didn’t feel right. Then when I got into Mr. Sutton’s class in the 7th grade, everything flip-flopped. I was more excited to go to class and to go to school. It just overall improved the quality of school because I had things to look forward to. It’s like he’s been here the whole time.”
Of the accolades he has received this year, however, Sutton said being selected as STAR teacher means the most to him.
“It has it’s own special meaning in my heart,” he said. “The other two accolades are selected by my colleagues, other adults. To be selected as STAR teacher by our STAR student is very special because I’m in the business to impact the lives of my students. For Annemarie to choose me will always be special. She was part of my first year when I came to West Union and this senior class was part of my first year. To receive all of this during their senior year is the cherry on the top.”
Sutton said in the application for the teacher of the year nomination, the Fetter family wrote a letter of recommendation.
“They welcomed me to a community I was new to and, along with many other families, made me feel like a part of the family,” he said.