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Kyanna “Kay” Sumpter ’22: ‘There is Nothing that Brings Me More Joy Than Being in Front of a Class and Teaching New Concepts That They Will Continue to Use Throughout Their Life’

kay sumpter

When Kyanna “Kay” Sumpter ’22 came to NC State University as a Goodnight Scholar, she was looking for a community that would make her feel valued and a college that would prepare her to make an impact as a teacher. She found both during her time as a student in the NC State College of Education. 

Now, after an inspiring student teaching experience, Sumpter is prepared to enter the classroom and create lightbulb moments for her students as an elementary school teacher in the Wake County Public School System. 

Learn more about Kay Sumpter

Hometown: Sanford, North Carolina

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a Special Education add-on licensure 

Activities (Research or Extracurricular): Education Council secretary, Fall 2019-Spring 2021; Education Council vice president, Fall 2021-Spring 2022; undergraduate student ambassador, Spring 2019-Spring 2022; Passport to Success, Spring 2020-Fall 2021; undergraduate Global Educator, Spring 2020-Spring 2021; We Teach for NC Spring Break Trip, 2019; research with [Associate Professor] Deleon Gray

Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?

The NC State College of Education created a welcoming space and environment for me before I even stepped foot on campus. There were advisors that came to my high school to personally talk to me and answer any questions that I may have had. I knew if I had this support from the College of Education before enrolling, then this was something I would continue to have. It was important for me to find a place where I would feel valued and loved. The College of Education also produces the best educators. I remember learning about how well educators that graduated from NC State’s College of Education were performing in their field. The dream of being an impactful educator was something that I knew the NC State College of Education could help me reach. 

What do you hope to accomplish in your field after graduation? 

I hope to create future world changers. I know that my students will be the future generations of society. I want to create inclusive individuals who care about the well being of others. I want my students to understand their capabilities and the impact they can have on others. 

What’s your next step? What do you have planned after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to teach in Wake County in an elementary school. After student teaching in fifth grade, I discovered my love for working with the upper elementary schoolers. With this discovery, I quickly knew I wanted to work with upper grades. I want to eventually go back to graduate school after teaching for a few years and getting more experience.

How has the College of Education prepared you for that next step?

The College of Education has prepared me to be a culturally relevant teacher in the future. I now know the importance of educating the whole child. 

The College of Education also gave me the opportunity to make my experience my own while also preparing me to be an effective teacher. Through the student organizations and professional growth units (PGUs), I was able to take part in different experiences that will be relevant in my future classroom. The College of Education taught me how to provide students with an equitable learning experience despite opportunity gaps that may be in place and having an impact on their success. My College of Education taught me how to be an advocate for myself and my future students.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the College of Education?

My favorite memory in the College of Education happened while I was volunteering to call prospective students with the student ambassadors. While making a phone call with a prospective student, I gave them my email address to contact me if they ever needed more support or had more questions during their process. Through this connection, I made a great friend that decided to come to NC State as a Goodnight Scholar. It was nice to see my hard work pay off in such a small way. My true goal is to continue to pay it forward and leave positive impacts on the college. 

Tell us about an experience you had with the College of Education that had the biggest impact on you or your career.

One thing that I participated in that had the biggest impact on me was Education Council. I had the opportunity to gain experience with leading an organization and working collaboratively with a variety of people. With Education Council being the umbrella organization for other organizations, I was someone that held a higher position within the organization. I had to sometimes make executive decisions that would impact the entire group. This ability to make decisions while considering everyone else will be a skill I will use in the future as an educator. 

Why did you choose education? 

I initially became interested in education after having firsthand experiences in a classroom in high school. I loved engaging with students, and I loved implementing lesson plans. Although this experience was with students under the age of five, this really set my foundation for loving to teach. 

I knew that I wanted to get experience working with children that were in elementary school. In high school, I worked at an after-school program where I was able to teach students concepts they may have missed during their regular instructional time in class. I enjoyed having this impact and seeing the “light bulb” moment for students when they were able to grasp concepts they were not able to before. This experience stuck with me so much more than I ever thought it would. Now, it is my main goal in every lesson. This “lightbulb moment” is something that I always look for in my students. 

Before starting my student teaching, I was worried I made the wrong decision to go into education and be a teacher. This journey at NC State has helped me to see that this is exactly where I was meant to be. I had the opportunity to grow as a future educator. I have been able to see that the classroom is my happy place and exactly where I want to be. I have been able to see that my students value me as a teacher, and that I am capable of being an effective educator. There is nothing that brings me more joy than being in front of a class and teaching new concepts that they will continue to use throughout their life.