MIFFLINTOWN - A passion for teaching creativity, individuality and self-expression defines Perry County Council of the Arts' 2013 Educator of the Year, said Amy Reed, arts-in-education coordinator.
On Sunday, PCCA recognized Juniata High School art teacher Sara Sutton for her positive impact during the organization's annual meeting of membership.
"I am very humbled as I am surrounded by so many wonderful art teachers," Sutton said about being named Educator of the Year. "It is a true honor to be appreciated."
Sutton said she has been teaching art at Juniata High School for seven years.
"I have wonderful students that I love seeing every day. They make me smile, laugh and shake my head ... I have the coolest job," she said.
Reed said the annual award acknowledges the efforts of educators in PCCA's seven-county service area. Educators who qualify for recognition serve schools in Huntingdon, Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties. This is the second year PCCA has awarded the honor.
Nomination letters are submitted by PCCA members, and a committee reviews the nominations, Reed said. The committee then chooses the most appropriate candidate.
"Under Sara's guidance, the art program at Juniata High School has seen tremendous growth and development," Reed said. "She is a true crusader and champion of arts in education, and she should be honored for her valiant efforts."
For the past four years, Sutton said, JHS has partnered with the Juniata Cultural Arts Committee and PCCA to bring a specialized artist to the school. She said the school has hosted a quilter, a muralist, an animator/illustrator and a glass artist.
"The art room is a place of discovery, creation and breaking the rules. It is amazing to help students in the act of creation," Sutton said.
The art room is a place where every student can be successful, she said. And that success drives the importance of art in schools.
"It is important to have educators within the community who positively promote the arts and its vitality to a well-rounded education," Reed said.
Sutton lives near Burnham with her husband, John, and son, Eli.
For more information about Perry County Council of the Arts, visit www.perrycountyarts.org.