My road to teaching has been long.  It began on a hot July day in Dallas, Texas when I was born the third child of a Presbyterian minister and a teacher.  Only three years later, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where I spent the next eighteen years of my life.  I was raised, surrounded by an affluent community, in a family that teetered financially on the edge of the haves and have nots, but until I was much older I never realized it.  Values were strong in my parents’ family. 

    I was a restless high school student with fond memories of my elementary and middle school days.  I didn’t have much use for adolescence and my drive for adulthood committed me to gather enough credits by my junior year that I graduated one year ahead of my class.  It was that or drop out, so I figured out the rules to the game and moved on.   I attempted college to please my parents, but soon realized a degree in business was not for me.  The trail I blazed made me a licensed paramedic, where I was able to apply my love for helping people.  I also found the love of a transplanted midwestern Social Worker working in the local emergency room.

    Once married, we returned to her roots in Michigan where I realized that to afford our dreams of parenthood and still have a career helping others, it was time to hang up my stethoscope and pick up the books.  I returned to college in 2000 with my own motivation, on my own dime.  I was bent on becoming a teacher without sinking my family in debt, so I attained a position with a global marketing firm while going to school year round.  Ironically over the next seven years, I worked my way into business leadership, but maintained my determination to teach.  During this time we had two children, renovated a house, finished the teaching degree, sold the house, moved to a new one, and both changed careers…and we still like each other!  I soon enrolled in graduate school, realizing that public education needs two things to reach the promise of its potential:  leadership and change.  In 2011, I earned a master degree in K-12 Education Administration and decided to take a sabbatical from the classroom to learn from other teachers about how children learn and how we instruct and structure ourselves for teaching, as a Transformational/Instructional Coach, then interim principal.  

In 2015 I toiled over the choice to apply for a permanent principal position or return to my heart as a teacher.  Given a tumultuous political environment and a keen, professional staff to serve, I took a leap of faith, interviewed and was hired as a middle school principal.  I miss having my own classroom,but with my family's support and a handful of daily prayers, I keep focus on living this dream!

5th Grade Today


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 Updated November 8, 2015

Walt Sutterlin 2015. All rights reserved. All works published on are copyright protected and may not be used, reprinted, retransmitted, or altered in whole or in part without express written permission of Walt Sutterlin.