Teaching ‘a mission’ for Sutton

PICKENS — Pickens Elementary School first-grade teacher Darleen Sutton’s grandfather was never offered a formal education as a child and never learned to read.

“Knowing the challenges that he faced motivated me to do my best to prevent another child from experiencing the difficulties that he did,” Sutton said.

And that inspiration has led Sutton to great heights as an educator, as she was recently named the School District of Pickens County’s Teacher of the Year.

“From Papa, I also learned that any child can learn when given the right motivation and support,” she said. “I try very hard to be that support for my students. I believe that teaching is not just a profession, it’s a mission… one I take very seriously.”

Sutton started her career in Oconee County and was an adjunct early childhood instructor at both Tri-County Tech and Greenville Tech before coming to Pickens County, where she has been at PES for the past six years.

“Teaching is an incredible journey that is challenging, but twice as rewarding,” Sutton said. “I have the opportunity to ‘grow’ students by planting seeds of knowledge. Parents entrust their children to me and I accept the responsibility of helping them to reach their maximum potential, even if this requires extra work on my part and lots of determination.

“The reward lies in that incredible moment when the child realizes, with awestruck wonder, they can indeed read. Being able to read allows the child to go anywhere, be anything, and discover more about the world around them. I get to say that I played a role in that, and that’s pretty amazing.”

Sutton said a love of learning, coupled with an innate curiosity, led her into the field of education.