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Jackson County Schools Educators nominated for National LifeChanger of the Year Award

Jackson Newspapers
Jackson Newspapers

Evans Elementary School fourth grade teacher Melissa Campbell and Ripley High School family consumer science teacher Sarah Roark and have been nominated for the 2020-2021 National LifeChanger of the Year award.

Both Campbell and Roark, who are mother and daughter, were nominated by their friend and colleague, Susan Matheny.

Campbell was recognized for the drive and passion for learning she’s inspired in students over three decades of teaching. She has a joyful heart and spreads her joy to the staff, faculty, students, parents, and community around her.

Over the years, Campbell has taught summer school to keep students motivated and current on their academic skills. She has given up much of her personal time to give to these students and serves on multiple curriculum teams. For over three years, she has been the staff contact for her school’s new hires because the staff trusts her judgement and experience as a teacher and a colleague.

“I could recite her resume and talk about all the numerous things that Missy has achieved with the community and her students over the years, but honestly, I believe the things that make her a LifeChanger are the lives she has changed,” Matheny said. “In a small town, everyone knows everyone and all their business. For the 18 years I have known Missy, I have never heard one person speak badly about her. I constantly hear students, parents, and fellow teachers say how much they love her. Many of her former students have chosen to become teachers because of the influence she had in their lives.”

Roark was recognized for her school spirit and drive for teaching which changes and impacts the lives of the students and staff she works with every day. She has rebuilt her school’s Family Consumer Science program, doubling its size in three years. The variety of classes she offers through the program teach students everything from parenting skills to restaurant management. Her creativity draws in the students and involves them in the learning process. Students come to her class to not only learn, but to be heard.

One of Roark’s students wrote, “I am beyond thankful for all the advice you’ve given me in the short time you’ve known me. You are honestly like my mom when we are at school. I know that if I ever need anything, you will be there for me in a heartbeat. I just want to thank you for everything and let you know that I appreciate everything that you do for me.”

Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, LifeChanger of the Year recognizes and rewards the very best K-12 educators and school district employees across the United States who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.

Each school year, LifeChanger of the Year receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Eighteen individual LifeChanger of the Year awards will be given during the 2020-2021 school year.

• (1) Grand Prize Winner – will receive $10,000 to be shared with their school/district. 

• (4) Grand Prize Finalists – will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.

• (10) LifeChanger Award Winners – will receive $3,000 to be shared with their school/district.

• (1) Spirit Award Winner – This award is given to the nominee whose community demonstrates the most support for their nomination. The winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.

• (1) Capstone Award Winner - This award is given to a nominee retiring at the end of the 2019-20 school year. The winner will receive $3,000 to be shared with their school or district.

• (1) Spotlight Award Winner – This award is given to a nominee in a specific discipline each year. For 2020-21, the Spotlight Award will be given to a nominee who has gone above and beyond to educate remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school or district.

Winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals. Nominees must be K-12 teachers or school district employees. To be considered for an award, nominees must:

• Make a positive impact in the lives of students

• Enhance their school or district’s atmosphere, culture and pride

• Demonstrate exemplary leadership at the school and/or district level

• Possess a proven record of professional excellence

• Show commitment to building a nurturing environment that supports learning

• Adhere to the highest moral and ethical standards

A resource page with ideas for how to celebrate nominees can be found at lifechangeroftheyear.com/showspirit/.

To view Jackson County LifeChanger of the Year nominee profiles, or to nominate someone from your school community, visit LifeChangeroftheYear.com.