The Halifax County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a report of a missing person — Tammi Sutton, who is the founder of KIPP Eastern North Carolina Schools.
Chief Deputy Scott Hall said in a statement that around 7:30 p.m. Saturday Sutton’s family members reported her missing. She had last been seen Saturday around 2 p.m. in the Roanoke Rapids area.
Hall said it is believed she left her home driving a gray 2015 Nissan Pathfinder with North Carolina license tags AJJ-6170. Her destination is unknown and she and the vehicle have entered into national databases for missing people.
It is believed she could be suffering from depression.
Hall said any extenuating circumstances surrounding her disappearance are being investigated. He declined to elaborate.
In a notification from KIPP Gaston College Prep the school announced it canceled classes today.
“It is with heavy hearts that we write to share with you all that Tammi Sutton, our KIPP region’s founder, has been reported missing since Saturday afternoon,” the notification said. “As members of our larger Pride, we know the profound impact Ms. Sutton has had on so many of us and our families over the past two decades.”
The notification continued, “While we can’t predict the emotions we may experience as we process this information, we hold fast to the school motto she set to vision for us when she founded GCP — ‘The strength of the Pride is the lion. The strength of the lion is the Pride.’ We hope these words remind us to all lean on each other as we pray for her safety.”
The school said it is in contact and working with the sheriff’s office.
“We hope for her safe return to all those who love her, her family, friends and our entire community,” the notification said. “While we wait for more updates from local law enforcement and as our community begins to process this news, we have decided to cancel all classe tomorrow, April 19, for all in-person and remote students at GCP Primary, GCP Middle, and Pride High School.”
According to her biography, Sutton, 46, currently serves as KIPP ENC’s director of leadership development.
In 2001, she co-founded KIPP Gaston College Preparatory where she served as the co-principal and taught English, history, and pre-algebra.
During her time at GCP, she was a recipient of the Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award.
In 2005, she founded GCP’s high school, where 100 percent of the first 12 senior classes have earned acceptance to a four-year college or university, and over 70 percent of these students will be first-generation college graduates.
Before co-founding GCP, she taught middle school language arts and social studies in Northampton County for five years and was named the Sallie Mae New Teacher of the Year as well as twice named Teacher of the Year.
The success of her students has been featured in Wendy Kopp’s book, One Day, All Children and Richard Whitmire’s book, The B.A. Breakthrough: How Ending Diploma Disparities Can Change the Face of America, as well as on Fox News, ABC News and twice in the New York Times.
She was appointed by the governor to serve on the North Carolina Charter School Advisory Board and was also a member of the North Carolina Leadership Forum.
In addition, she was also a Fall 2016 Pahara-Aspen Fellow.
A first-generation college graduate and the only person in her family to earn a degree, she earned her BA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with degrees in English and Political Science. She earned her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from National-Louis University.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact local law enforcement, the sheriff’s office at 252-583-8201 or Crimestoppers at 252-583-4444.