“These four educators inspire us all,” said Mehran Assadi, CEO of National Life Group. “They make a positive difference in the lives of their students. They are true life changers.”
The four honorees are:
• Sandra Winkley, a teacher at W.W. Samuell High School in Dallas who is also in charge of a special program at the school that prepares all students for college. One of her nominators wrote that “she is an inspirational and encouraging woman who is constantly inspiring her students with hope to reach a full life of success and achieved goals.”
• Trapper Beck, the physical education teacher at Kaiser Elementary School in Oklahoma City, whose innovative and creative ideas have helped promote fitness and wellness despite school district budget cutbacks.
• Robin Jones, a third grade teacher in the Chula Vista district of San Diego. A parent wrote that “Mrs. Jones provides her students to be independent thinkers and great citizens.” Another nominator said, “Confidence and a positive attitude exudes from Robin Jones.”
• Charlotte Day, the lead adapted physical education teacher in Orange County Florida’s Hospital Homebound, a program for mentally and physically disabled children who cannot attend traditional schools. “Charlotte is an outstanding and enthusiastic teacher who has had many students, families and peers over the years contact her to tell her the difference she has made in their lives,” wrote her nominator.
The recipients received $500 and were given $2,000 to purchase whatever they wish for their classrooms and schools.
“I love my job. I love my co-workers but Lord knows I love my kids,” said Winkley at an awards ceremony in Dallas. “Thank you for recognizing me.”
The 2011 LifeChangers were the first recipients in the new recognition program by National Life Group, a financial services company that, through Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, offers 403(b) and 457(b) retirement plans to thousands of policyholders who are educators and school district employees in more than 7,000 school districts nationwide.
“Today, it is important for communities to support our teachers and school district employees,” said Assadi. “While many state budgets have been cut, educating our children remains a number one priority. Outstanding educators and school employees make a difference. They change lives and help make our society a better place.”
Students, parents, teachers, and administrators nominated school district employees on a special website, www.your403bclassroom.com. The criteria included a proven ability to make a beneficial difference in the lives of students; an ability to positively add to the development of the school's atmosphere; a leader in his or her activities at the school and/or district level; a proven record of excellent performance at the professional level, and a commitment to producing a nurturing atmosphere.
National Life Group will open nominations for the 2012-2013 LifeChangers of the Year on Aug. 1. Winners will be announced in spring of 2013.
National Life Group® is a trade name representing various affiliates, which offer a variety of financial service products. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, Addison, TX, is a member of National Life Group.