MMHMF Honoree

2016 Education Service Award Recipient

Gayle Carter SuttonGayle Carter Sutton was born September 18, 1954 in Richmond VA to the late Mr. and Mrs. Irvin M. Carter, Sr. Gayle grew up in Richmond. She spent her childhood in Fulton Bottom (present day Rockettes Landing). Her maternal grandmother raised her and received her early Christian education at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church where she was baptized and participated in the Choir, Usher, Missionary and Bible School programs.

Gayle's first school experience was at Bethlehem Center where she attended kindergarten. Gayle remembers her teacher, Ms. Thompson well. Each day they recited the pledge of allegiance to the American flag and the Christian flag followed by the morning prayer and a bible verse. Gayle remembers reading to the teacher as her favorite part of kindergarten class. Gayle was the most talkative student in the class, especially when she had a point to make. When Gayle entered Webster Davis Elementary School it was the best time of her life. Her favorite teacher was Mrs. Grace Townes. Mrs. Grace Townes remains connected with Gayle today.

By the time Gayle reached middle school age, her parents were ready to have her live with them in the Northside. She attended Chandler Junior High School; spent two years at Armstrong High School where she really wanted to graduate from, however, forced bussing in the 1960's prohibited that from happening and Gayle finished high school at Thomas Jefferson High School.

As an adult Gayle became a member of St. Paul's Baptist Church, Creighton Road campus, Richmond, VA.Her hobbies include: dining out with family and friends; vacationing at Myrtle Beach; watching movies; listening to R & B; and participating in Sisters & Friends book club since 1997. As a retiree, she plans to travel, volunteer and enjoy being a grandparent.

Gayle is committed to the empowerment of girls and women. Her role models include the late Maya Angelou and Marion Wright Edelman. Throughout her life she has embraced the power of strong women. During her career she coached the Girls on Track team; wrote letters of recommendation for females aspiring leadership positions and she continues to connect and mentor females of all ages. Gayle is a devoted mother, grandmother, sister, friend and colleague to many. She has the most contagious laugh, one that you will remember long after her presence in a room.

She is the proud graduate of the class of 1972 of Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond, VA. She received a B.S. in Special Education from Virginia State University in 1976 and a M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1995. Gayle met and married her high school sweetheart, William, and they spent many years together, prior to his death. From their union they had 2 sons. Gayle is very proud of her family William A. Sutton, Jr.(Ann) and Keith L. Sutton(Alyshia), and three adorable grandchildren, McKinley Grace, Carter William and Kaelyn Renee all living in the Richmond area.

Gayle began her career as a special education teacher at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children in Richmond, VA. The Treatment Center is a state psychiatric facility for emotionally disabled children and youth. In 1991, she was hired by the Chesterfield County Public School System where she remained until her retirement in 2016. Her first experience with Chesterfield was as a special education teacher at Manchester Middle School. In 1995, she became an Assistant Principal at Bailey Bridge Middle School. In 2010, she transferred to Matoaca Middle School as Assistant Principal.

Under Gayle's leadership at Bailey Bridge Middle School she:

  • implemented the Olweus Bully Prevention Program.
  • supervised the single gender program for three years.
  • was the Special Education Administrator.
  • embraced and supported the transition from math 8 to "algebra for all".
  • served on a committee that researched Professional Learning Communities and the impact on student achievement (a collaborative venture with the PTA and school staff).
  • was the instructional leader for Mathematics and Science.
  • restructured the special education department and programs moving towards a more inclusive instructional programming.
  • nominated a single gender teen to receive an award for Outstanding Middle School Teen (VMSA) and the teen received the award
  • nominated a beginning teacher to receive an award for Outstanding Beginning Teacher (VSMA) - he received the award; and mentored staff.

Under Gayle's leadership at Matoaca Middle School she:

  • served as liaison between the Martha Mason Hill Memorial Foundation Outreach Committee and the school to coordinate the following activities.
    1. field trip to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (culminating activity for a semester of interdisciplinary units of study).
    2. coordinated field trips to Richard Bland College and Virginia State University (supporting the CCPS college/career initiatives) - "Matoaca Middle Goes to College Day".
    3. coordinated the book "drops" each student in 6th grade receives a book at Christmas and/or the end of the school year as supplies permit.
    4. school supplies for the 6th and 7th grade student throughout the school year.
  • offered academic support sessions to 6th grade students each semester to help them improve their grades(one on one tutoring).
  • wrote proposals for and attended board meetings of the Ettrick Neighborhood and Business Association requesting support for teaching materials for the school.
  • mentored staff.
  • participated in the book buddies program and literacy committee.

Gayle is past president and current member of the Virginia Middle School Association. She is a member of the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, a current member of the Virginia State University Alumni Association Hanover/Henrico Chapter, a past member of the NTIP Board (New Teachers Induction Program) and past mentor for new administrators.

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