Just before joining Maranatha’s Psychology and Science faculty in the fall semester of 2022, Dr. Marie Sutton spent 18 months exploring the Southwestern part of the country in an RV with her husband, David.
They joined the many others who spent part of the pandemic on the road taking in our country’s natural wonders. Yet the meandering roads and varied scenery she passed were not nearly as windy as the road her impressive career has taken.
With advanced degrees in immunology, cancer research, and educational leadership, as well as having her juris doctorate, Dr. Sutton has been a hospital physician; an international manager; an interim college president; a school Deputy Director; a teacher in Hawaii, the U.K, and Costa Rica; has worked in the corporate world in Japan and Asia-Pacific; and has been an immigration defense lawyer in both Washington, D.C. and California. But with all the different hats she’s worn in her career, teaching was always her calling. “I should’ve known,” she says with a smile, as she reminisces about the times as a little girl that she would hold “school” for her stuffed animals and take attendance and give out report cards to them.
She felt called to return to teaching while on that extended RV trip, and has been so grateful that her role at Maranatha has enabled her to integrate her faith into her teaching—a first, even with all her previous roles in education. “It is incredible that I have that freedom,” Dr. Sutton says. “How wonderful it is in biology and chemistry, to acknowledge what creation is. It is wonderful to be able to share that perspective that has the potential to be transforming for my students.”
Dr. Sutton has 84 students total between her AP chemistry, biology, and psychology classes, and relishes working with teens. “I just love teaching teenagers. The more attitude and opinion, the better—I love it. It makes for good discussions in class.” She says the social psychology and ethical issues they discuss in AP Psychology have especially given her students the opportunity to reflect for themselves on who they hope to be and how they will behave when faced with challenging situations once they’re out of high school.
The belief Dr. Sutton has in each and every one of her students’ great potential and strength of character is evident as she speaks of her hopes for her students. “I just hope to strengthen their own self-belief, to consider their own Christian worldview and belief. I want to show them by example of being patient and kind, and getting them to reflect as much as possible on what is the right thing to do in any situation.”
When she’s not focusing on equipping her students to be their best, she’s got all eyes on her household. The move back to California helped Dr. Sutton and her husband be closer to family. One of her two daughters recently moved down to Pasadena from the Bay Area, and she’s currently expecting. Dr. Sutton says she is very excited to be welcoming her first grandchild.
Dr. Sutton’s deep love of family and undeniable drive in her career comes from the inspiration that you can make things happen through faith and hard work. She says she finds deep personal joy at being part of the Christian community at Maranatha—a community she sees as more than nominally Christian. “I am grateful every day to be part of this community of faculty, staff, parents, and children who are committed to the Lord and to these students.”