8th Grade Center – Jonathon Sutmiller, English
English teacher Jonathon Sutmiller has been named the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year for Eighth Grade.
Sutmiller enjoys teaching but he had started out as a student minister.
“In 2015, my wife and I decided to look at career changes and she wound up teaching at the Union High School Freshman Academy. I knew I loved working with teens and coaching too,” he said. “I applied to become a paraprofessional to see if I might enjoy the school environment. Within a few months, I was taking certification tests, because I fell in love with education. I became a teacher in 2017 to reach the kids who hate school, or hate reading. I became a teacher to be someone who every student knows supports and believes in them. I teach not to just impart knowledge, but for the future of our society.”
This year has brought a lot of changes, however.
“2020 has been so different, but has encouraged me,” Sutmiller said. “I think we are seeing the best in our students and teachers during the pandemic. I am seeing an increase in engagement of students in class and parents outside of class. I have pressed myself to advance technologically, in order to make content available to students working from home. I think this has made me a better teacher.
“One of the drawbacks is that it has hurt the cohesiveness of my department. My department at the 8th Grade Center is remarkable, but I can say I miss them. I miss seeing them at lunch and in professional learning centers weekly. This is very challenging, and I know this is felt across the board for our teachers. I’m proud of how we email and text one another to encourage and even setup times to meet and discuss the upcoming weeks work and share material.”
Sutmiller’s undergraduate degree is in theology from Oklahoma Baptist University. He was alternatively certified in English Language Arts in the fall of 2016, and he started working on his master’s degree in education from Northeastern State University in the fall of 2019.
“Currently I am also working to obtain my EL endorsement in Oklahoma,” he said, adding “Prior to teaching, I released an independent bestselling book in 2013.”