Five members of the Clintonville School District have been nominated for the LifeChanger of the Year award.
Those nominated include: Justin Zoellick, fifth grade teacher at Clintonville Middle School; Jody Peterson, fourth grade teacher at Rexford/Longfellow Elementary School; Brooke Lamb, school psychologist at Rexford/Longfellow Elementary School; Stannye Meads, kindergarten teacher at Rexford/Longfellow Elementary School; and Jennifer Bachman, school counselor at Rexford/Longfellow Elementary School.
According to the LifeChanger of the Year web site, it “is an annual program that recognizes and rewards K-12 education professionals and school district employees.”
Nominees make a positive difference in the lives of students. Anyone can nominate someone for this recognition, including students who have the support of an adult if the student is under 18 years old.
The nomination period ended Jan. 31. The top 10 LifeChangers of the Year are scheduled to be announced in the spring.
Also according to the LifeChanger web site, nominees are recognized in the following ways:
• Each nominee will have a unique profile built on the LifeChanger web site so that their story can be shared. Colleagues, students, friends and family – anyone who supports the nominee – can visit the profile and leave a positive comment.
• LifeChanger shares the nominee’s profiles and stories on Facebook and Twitter.
• LifeChanger sends congratulatory posters to school administrators to help them celebrate the nominees in their district.
• Each nominee also receives a personalized certificate.
Each nominee is also eligible to be named one of the Top 10 LifeChangers of the Year, which brings the chance at cash and prizes for them and their school.
Zoellick was nominated by Heather Heilman, a 4K teacher at Dellwood Early Learning Center in Clintonville. Zoellick said Heilman has been a “great friend and colleague for many, many years.”
Bachman, Lamb, Meads, and Peterson were each nominated by Tami Bagstad, principal at Rexford/Longfellow Elementary School in Clintonville.
“We have an amazing staff here that works really hard to help our students experience success — not only in academics, but also in their emotional, social, and personal areas of development,” Bagstad said. “I would have loved to nominate more of our staff, because the elementary level is such an important level to the development of our students. I am very honored to have the nominees recognized, as they truly do make a difference and are life changers.”
The information that follows about each nominee is taken from the LifeChanger web site.
Bachman teaches mini-lessons about life skills to students, and is willing to help where needed.
Bachman’s profile included, “Bachman is a professional who displays positive leadership. She not only works with students when they are having difficult days or difficulty following school expectations, but she also helps the staff out by meeting with them and offering ideas and resources to help them be successful in their classrooms, with their students and with other staff members.”
Lamb not only works in the Rexford/Longfellow Elementary School, but other schools in the Clintonville School District. She has been involved with making the response to intervention process more efficient.
In addition, she has researched and works toward developing the best practices to ensure students receive all the support they need on all levels.
Lamb’s profile included, “Already her work has helped many students receive the extra support that they need, and she continually searches for what will work best for each individual student. She is involved in developing plans to help students reach their potential, and is always willing to talk to and work with students who are struggling.”
Meads has been a teacher at Rexford/Longfellow Elementary School for many years and is still inspiring staff and students.
Meads’ profile included, “Her positivity and willingness to volunteer her time for anything and everything inspires those around her and many parents call each year to request her as a teacher for their child. She puts the needs of staff and students before her own, and is always working to make the school community a better place for all.”
Peterson’s profile stated she has a positive influence on students, while at the same time having high expectations for her students — behaviorally and academically. She also used the latest technology in her classes.
Peterson’s profile included, “As a member of the TLC group, which is comprised of experts in math and reading, she is always coming up with new ideas to reach students. Through her commitment with this group, she takes time to meet with staff in groups and individually, to help them with strategies for success in the classroom and with the achievement of their students.”
Zoellick formed the group Wise Guys three years ago. He did it to “help middle school boys grow to be respectful, kind and a positive member of the community,”
Since the start of Wise Guys, more than 100 male students have participated in the group.
The group has also expanded to Wise(r) Guys. The main emphasis for expansion is to help others and give back to the community. Each year Wise(r) Guys hosts events for the community or help members of the community.
Each Wise(r) Guys student has a mentor from the junior or senior class that help with activities.
Zoellick’s profile included, “As a founder of this group, Mr. Zoellick has influenced many lives, both of students and other members of the community.”
contacted each of the nominees to get their reaction to being nominated for the LifeChanger of the Year award.
“It was a great feeling and I never ever expected to be nominated for something like this,” Bachman said. “This was definitely the highlight of my year. I am very appreciative of this recognition.”
She said being nominated makes her feel valued and appreciated.
“There are so many school staff members working in all positions who work hard and go above and beyond everyday for our students. Many people could be deserving of this awarded,” she added.
“I felt very honored when I read what Tami [Bagstad] wrote about me,” Lamb said. “It was definitely a surprise, but a very nice one.”
Meads said her reaction was, “WOW o’ WOW!” She explained that is kindergarten speak meaning, “I was more than surprised.”
She added that she is honored to be nominated, but humble because she said there are many “life changers” at the school.
“Whether or not I have been a LifeChanger might be questionable, but having been an educator for almost fifty years has definitely been a ‘life changer’ for me,” she said. “The experiences, the opportunities, the challenges, the successes, as well as the disappointments have left undeniable prints on my life and have afforded me a career, though filled with ‘changes,’ of undeniable satisfaction.”
Peterson said she was completely surprised to be nominated, but also honored. She added that being nominated makes her feel “valued and appreciated.”
“I was very grateful to have Mrs. Bagstad nominate me,” she said. “I work with so many amazing teachers, administrators and staff that are dedicated to improving learning for our students in our district that we are all working hard to be LifeChangers.”
Zoellick said he was surprised and honored to be nominated.
“What a great feeling knowing that someone thought that what I do every day was worth mentioning,” he said.
He added that he is proud of the Wise Guys program.
“As a teacher, I always said that if I can positively impact the life of just one person, that’s when I know I will have made a difference,” he said. “Reading the messages that parents have written on the LifeChanger page have given me the knowledge that I have made that difference. It is an awesome feeling.”
He added that he is also thankful for the support he has received.
“The Wise Guys program couldn’t happen without the support of my colleagues, all the Wise Guys families, our administration, our school board, the many businesses all around our community, and so many more people,” Zoellick said. “I also want to say that there are so many quality teachers working in our district each and every day. I am proud to be working alongside every one of them.”