Fort Mill Times

New Fort Mill coordinator brings unique perspective to the job

Dr. Sutton
Dr. Sutton

There’s a new face to get to know in the administration offices of the Fort Mill School District.

Dr. Antwon Sutton not only brings impressive academic credentials, but some experience to his new role as Student Services Coordinator that other administrators might not have.

Sutton earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Winthrop University and paid his way through school by driving a school bus. Sutton said it was that job that set him on his current path.

“That’s how I ended up going the education route my senior in college. (It) was because of the impact I saw I had on students as a driver and working as a mentor,” he said.

He drove a bus for six years and after graduation was hired at Clover High School as a business education teacher. While at Clover, he went back to school to earn his doctoral degree and an Educational Specialties Degree in Educational Leadership. He was promoted to assistant principal at Clover and after four years there Sutton was recruited to a position in the Lowcountry.

A native of Charleston, Sutton took a job as a middle school principal in Goose Creek. But after a year he decided he missed his life closer to Rock Hill and accepted a position in Richland School District 1 as a middle school principal.

That was four years ago. Now Sutton is back in York County with the Fort Mill School District.

He’s prepared to use all he’s learned to tackle his new role. Sutton is in charge of verifying student residency, tracking behavioral trends and issues in the schools, such as bullying, and providing school leadership with tools to address those issues. He will also be the district hearing officer in cases of expulsion and will manage alternative placement for expelled students. Handling discipline appeals and parent complaints, in addition to school safety and security, are part of the job as well.

Recently, Dr. Sutton took the time to answer a few questions about joining the district:

How will your background as an educator help in a position in administration?

Sutton: It will greatly help me. I was able to see through those different phases of my educational career what happens in a school; what happens when a student when they get on the school bus in the morning, how they leave the school bus in the afternoon... I’ve seen that level. Also as a principal I’ve worked with all stakeholders in the community, establishing relationships with business, colleges, community organizations and working with parents, students and staff members, those experiences and helping them to focus on the district’s mission and goals… It pulls together everything I’ve already done but it’s in one place now. I’ll be able to handle similar things but on a larger scale. In the past I’ve focused on my bus full of students, or as a principal, my school and students. Now at the district level I’m looking at it for the entire school district.

What are you most looking forward to in your new postion?

Sutton: Getting into the schools and getting to know the administration, the teachers and the students. I definitely want to be able to use this role to establish mentoring programs in the school and to serve as a mentor to students in this district.

What is something you want the community to know about you?

Sutton: I’m a very dedicated, passionate person about education and I know that education is the key that unlocks all kind of opportunities for future success. I’m the first one in my family and extended family to go to college and complete college. I’ve seen the importance of education and seen how it’s impacted and changed my life for the better. I’m a hard worker, I put myself through school with scholarships and working as a (bus) driver to get through my bachelor’s, my master’s, my specialist and my doctoral degrees. My parents weren’t able to afford sending me to school so I had to work and put things in place to make it through on my own.

Do you have any hobbies?

Sutton: I dabble with the piano a bit so I want to get back into it again; mentoring and spending time with my family and friends, and traveling – I love traveling and going to different places... I want to get out there and see the world.

Do you have a favorite sports team?

Sutton: Panthers football – that’s my team and I’m a diehard Panthers fan and a season ticket holder. I’ve been a fan since I’ve been in middle school back when the team started.

Katie Rutland: