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2020 Locals Love Us favorite school administrator: Sunya Denton of Burnet High School

The Picayune Magazine readers and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune listeners voted Burnet High School's Sunya Denton their favorite Locals Love Us school administrator in the Burnet area. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

A reason why Burnet High School front desk clerk Sunya Denton was voted Locals Love Us favorite school administrator by The Picayune Magazine readers and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune listeners probably comes down to how she treats the most important people on campus: the students.

“I love them all like they’re mine,” she said. “I do have great rapport with them. I really treat them like they’re my own.”

Denton said she was honored to receive the Locals Love Us recognition but didn’t feel comfortable accepting it.

“Because I work with a lot of great people,” she said.

And yet, many of her co-workers understood why Denton was chosen.

“She mamas all of them,” said Allyson Cokendolpher, the athletics office secretary. “As they walk toward class, she says, ‘Make good choices.’”

That phrase is picked deliberately, Denton said, because she wants the students to understand a simple yet important concept.

“If they mess up in the present choices they make today, that can mess up their future,” she said. “The choices they make every day impact their future.”

Denton, a 1993 Burnet High School graduate, didn’t think she would be working at the front desk of her alma mater. After she graduated from Tarleton State University in 1999, she was employed as a Child Protective Services case worker but quit when she became a mother.

When she accepted the job at Burnet High School, her goal was to earn a teaching certificate to be in the classroom. That was 14 years ago.

She’s still in the same role because she gets summers off to be with her children.

“I love the time off with my own kids,” she said. “This is the best of both worlds.”

At the front desk, Denton is usually the first person a parent or guardian sees when they arrive on campus.

Denton understands why parents can be adamant about wanting to speak to a principal or other school official.

“I get the parent side of things,” she said. “I can sympathize with the frustration they have in doing what they think they need to do to advocate for their child.”

Remembering that allows her to respond appropriately so they feel they are heard before they talk to someone else.

Denton has had opportunities to go elsewhere but has refused, noting she loves the age group at the high school. She can be found at ballgames, plays, and other school-related events where students shine.

“I like watching them go from freshmen into thinking they know everything to seniors,” she said. “The vast majority learn they’re going to go to a bigger world. It’s nice to see the transformation.”

As she thought back through her time at Burnet High School, Denton has no regrets. “This isn’t what I thought I’d be doing,” she said. “I love my job.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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