By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
A total of 416 teachers were nominated for Best Teacher in King 5’s 2013 Best of Western Washington contest. Sultan High School Music Department Director Jill Sumpter didn’t even know she was a contender.
So it was quite a surprise to Sumpter when she was interrupted in the Sultan High School cafeteria on Friday morning by Evening Magazine reporter Saint Bryan and his cameraman. Sumpter was in the midst of directing the band through a jaunty rendition of the A-Ha song “Take on Me” when Bryan approached her. Sultan Music Parent’s Association President Melissa McNaughton presented Sumpter with a bouquet of roses as Bryan prepared to offer her the official award announcing her Best Teacher.
“Your choice for Best of Western Washington’s Best Teacher this year,” said Bryan to students and staff as he held up the plaque. “Jill Sumpter!”
Each year King 5 holds the Best of Western Washington contest in which local businesses, entertainment professionals, restaurants and services can be nominated for the contest. People can nominate any business or person they deem worthy of the honor of being recognized as the Best of Western Washington in any particular category.
Then the nominees can use social media in order to get customers, friends and other supporters to vote for them. Individuals and businesses that receive the most votes become known as the Best of Western Washington in their respective categories.
This year the contest competition included more than 20,000 local businesses, places and people, who were nominated in over 200 different categories. Voting was open from Sept. 9 through Oct. 18.
Jill Sumpter has no idea who nominated her for Best Teacher.
“I didn’t know anything about it,” said Sumpter.
Sumpter also marveled at the fact that Sultan High School students sure know how to keep a secret.
Sumpter runs Sultan High School’s award-winning Music Department. She is the director of the Sultan High School “Turk” Marching Band, directs musicals performed by the Drama Club and the Music Department, teaches band and choir, and heads up the Show Choir, Jazz Band and Honor Band. She is looked up to by students and has received tremendous support from the community.
“Jill is amazing,” said Gold Bar resident Jennine Linn. “She has created an environment that is about so much more than music. She teaches our kids life lessons; lessons about never quitting, being a leader, and taking responsibility for yourself. She challenges them to get out of their comfort zone and excel in ways they never thought they could. She is truly dedicated to her students and brings out the best in all of them.”
Footage from Friday morning’s award presentation to Sumpter will be featured on Tuesday, Nov. 5 during Evening Magazine which airs at 7:30 p.m. on Channel Five. Tuesday also happens to be the high school’s fall concert, so the technology department will broadcast the television show during a break in the performance.
The citizens Sultan and the Sky Valley as a whole are proud to have rallied in support of one of their own.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of our community,” wrote Sultan resident Susie Hollenbeck on her Facebook page. Our kids are better and brighter for the efforts of Mrs. Sumpter, and my hat is off to her!”