When Jennifer Sumner’s learners discovered she’d have to shell out $200 every single time she took the test that would credential her to educate ninth-grade math for the 2021-22 university yr, they provided to commence a GoFundMe web page for her, elevate dollars through their social media feeds and even develop her a basket of snacks to take in even though testing.

Although she graciously declined the magnanimous delivers, she was undeniably moved by the “sweet gestures,” she explained. That “gets you in ‘the feels’ right there.”

The devotion she inspires from her students is just one particular rationale of quite a few Sumner was named Dalton Community Schools’ Instructor of the 12 months in August. Sumner, who taught this previous school year at the new Dalton Junior Higher University, has spent her overall vocation in Dalton Public Colleges, and for the duration of the COVID-19-impacted 2020-21 university calendar year her motto with her college students was to “focus on the opportunities, not the obstacles.”

“I listened to that in a sermon from Barry Grider,” preacher at Riverbend Church of Christ, and “it trapped with me,” said Sumner, who taught at Dalton Center School for 18 years. “It seemed that was what we had to do (that) calendar year, and there was no other alternative.”

“We could’ve dwelled on the negatives, but that is not successful, and we’d never ever get to the probable of what that year could be,” she mentioned. “It was only a ‘wasted year’ if you designed that choice.”

In 2021-22, Sumner taught an “intensive class” of college students “not quite” suited to full courses of 25-30 learners, she mentioned. Her class experienced about 10 college students, and “we do a good deal extra fingers-on finding out.”

“There’s not as significantly pencil and paper, and all the desks are whiteboards,” she claimed. “It’s a lot of ‘do.’”

She’s her school’s direct Exceptional University student Expert services (ESS) teacher, and she was the direct ESS instructor at Dalton Center Faculty for much more than a ten years, wherever she labored with new academics, mentoring them on ESS techniques, serving to with schedules and running the discovering for ESS students.

“My doorway is an open up doorway, and my goal is to raise up the division,” she said. “I want to be the human being you can appear to to assist address problems.”

She’d like to do even a lot more coaching of special training lecturers, but she’d under no circumstances want to eliminate contact with college students.

“I know it sounds so cliche, but it is the interactions you construct with them and the connections you make,” she explained. “My heart breaks for them, simply because I know their backstories, but I have created interactions with them, so they belief me.”

A unique upbringing on the West Coast When Sumner was 8, she moved from California to Oregon when her family procured a foster dwelling there that presented a refuge for children with psychological and bodily disabilities, and Sumner produced her passion for helping individuals in need to have though assisting individuals little ones.

“They all experienced IQs underneath 70, and they lived downstairs (though) we lived upstairs, (so) they ended up like my brothers and sisters,” she explained. “My brother,” who was 2 when the spouse and children moved, at some point “became, like, the activity coordinator, and I was far more the educator.”

“I normally had a different way I could clearly show any individual some thing, a further card up my sleeve,” so doing the job with students with specific needs is “a best healthy for me,” especially educating them math, she explained. “I’m certainly a math individual, and it’s (the matter) I’ve always begged to educate.”

Growth way of thinking Sumner would make absolutely sure her college students have an understanding of “math is a life ability you have to have,” and she punctuates her chats with them with “the energy of but,” she reported. It is not that they do not recognize a concept or simply cannot do it, but, rather, they never comprehend “yet” or cannot do it “yet,” and “I want them to have a expansion mindset.”

Sumner utilizes inspirational video clips in her lessons to encourage pupils, and she utilized a lot of clips from Olympians conquering problems as the 2021 Summer Game titles ended up held in Japan, she said: “That was wonderful (timing).”

She can empathize all the far more with her pupils, now, as she experienced to discover in get to educate ninth-quality math for the initially time, she claimed.

“I explained to them, I researched, I did investigate, and I appeared for videos for the reason that I’m a visual learner.”

“I had to figure it out just like you (learners) have to figure it out,” she claimed. “This could not have appear at a improved time for me.”

Dalton Junior Substantial Principal Missie McKinney has “had the privilege of operating with Jennifer for many many years,” and she’s often been an extraordinary instructor, McKinney said. “I’ve watched her in her classroom and know the impression she’s had on our college students (who) frequently have the best educational desires.”

Sumner and her partner Jason have been married much more than two a long time, and that romantic relationship led her to relocate to Ga, in which she acquired her distinctive education instructing certification and began operating at Dalton Center College.

Georgia was “a tradition shock” to begin with to the West Coaster, but “God has a program,” she explained. Her partner “asked me to marry him the very first time we achieved in human being,” and they have a few little ones: Tucker, Hayden and Weston.

Assistance and volunteeringWhen she’s not in the classroom, Sumner devotes a good deal of time to volunteering at Riverbend Church of Christ, in which she and her partner guide the congregation’s Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes supplying. She also spearheaded an effort quite a few a long time ago in which local community associates painted bogs in Dalton Center College with inspirational messages.

Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes exists across the U.S. and various other nations with the goal of developing “Godly leaders,” she explained. At her church, these in the team assortment from kindergarten to substantial college seniors, and in modern months “we’ve set together baskets for folks new to the community, weeded the playground, (gathered) gifts for initially responders, worked with (the youth) on their devotionals — all the things you can feel of.”

‘A heart for all’ As the Teacher of the Calendar year, Sumner acquired a one-calendar year lease to a 2021 Ford thanks to Ford of Dalton, a examine for $500 as the district Trainer of the Yr (and a person for $200 as her school’s Trainer of the Yr) and a “Dalton Difference” coin, according to Dalton Community Universities. The financial awards ended up built feasible by way of donations from partnering corporations Dalton Utilities and Shaw Industries.

Every single of the university Trainer of the Calendar year honorees been given a $200 check out and a Dalton Distinction coin to keep, in accordance to the college program. Individual university Lecturers of the Yr had been:

• Meghan Glaze, Blue Ridge College.

• Daniel McArthur, Brookwood University.

• Lauren Aldrich, Metropolis Park Faculty.

• Suzanne Arnold, Park Creek School.

• Joycelyn Richards, Roan University.

• Christen Bryant, Westwood Faculty.

• Matt Cheaves, Dalton Substantial School.

• Dolores Carrillo, Morris Innovative High University.

“I can’t say ample good matters about Jennifer, (and) I experience very fortuitous that she chose” to get the job done at the junior higher, McKinney stated. “She is a chief between her peers and has a heart for all.”