BENNINGTON – Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders is pleased to share that Pierce School teacher Jenn Sutton has been named the Educator of the Year by the Harris Center.
Sutton, a third-grade teacher at Pierce, was recognized at a ceremony Friday, Oct. 18, at the Harris Center annual meeting. The award is given annually to a teacher or team of teachers who have demonstrated a deep commitment to teaching children about the natural world through hands-on, developmentally appropriate education in conjunction with Harris Center programs.
The Hancock-based Harris Center for Conservation Education is a nonprofit organization that promotes understanding and respect for the natural world through education, direct protection and stewardship of the Monadnock region’s natural resources, conservation research and programs that encourage active participation in the outdoors.
Sutton was recognized for the impact she’s had on students – including award presenter and Harris Center Naturalist Susie Spikol’s own daughter – and for her longstanding engagement with the Harris Center and its mission. Spikol noted Sutton’s efforts to foster a classroom culture of respect and kindness which has opened doors to learning about nature through the same lens.
In Sutton’s classroom, students have myriad opportunities to connect with nature, through bird watching, caring for hatchling turtles and exploring numerous other outdoor learning opportunities.
She was also recognized for her contributions to a school-wide effort at Pierce to engage students with the outdoors, through time on town conservation land at the Bruce Edes Forest, which helps students build a connection with nature and learn about the positive impacts time in nature can have on their wellbeing.
“Jenn Sutton is a tireless, dedicated educator with an embracing heart and an incredible ability to connect deeply with each and every one of her students,” Spikol said. “She is determined to do what she knows her students need to be the best humans possible. They find joy and playfulness in being outside, and they learn, most of all, how to be respectful, caring community members, not just to each other but to this planet.”
Sutton has been involved with the Harris Center for many years as both a teacher-naturalist and as a camp director.
“Jenn is immensely deserving of this honor,” Pierce School Principal Beth Gibney said. “She is a constant advocate for incorporating the outdoors into her students’ lives, which deeply enriches their learning experience and fosters a deep connection between them and the natural world.”