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Theresa Brown of Syms Middle School is nominated for LifeChanger of the Year award 

Theresa Brown, a language arts teacher at Syms Middle School, has been nominated for the 2015-2016 national Lifechanger of the Year award.

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

Brown, nominated by colleague Athena Sivongsa, a social science teacher at Syms, strives to create a safe and secure environment for students in her classroom, especially those who have challenging home lives. She inspires others to be better teachers and to build better relationships with students. Her favorite motto that she lives by every day states, “Our job is to teach the students we have. Not the ones we would like to have. Not the ones we used to have. But the ones we have right now.”

“Ms. Brown goes beyond teaching language arts and works to assist students in learning how to become young adults,” said Sivongsa. “When people think of Ms. Brown, they think of a teacher who helps change the lives of students in the community.”

Brown also leads by example through her involvement with extracurricular activities. As the basketball coordinator, she gives her spare time to attend practices and coordinate games for the students. She helps students find something to look forward to by creating opportunities to play a sport they love.

Each school year, the LifeChanger of the Year program receives hundreds of nominations.  For 2015-2016, a total of 16 winners will be chosen by the selection committee to receive cash awards that are split between the individual winner and their school. The national Grand Prize award is $10,000. The top five winners are also honored at a national awards ceremony. 

Nominees must be full-time school employees. Award winners are selected based on the following criteria:

  •         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
  •         Is involved in leadership activities at the school and/or community level
  •         A demonstrative record of excellent performance at the professional level
  •         A commitment to producing a nurturing atmosphere
  •         Adherence to high moral and ethical standards

Winners will be announced in spring 2016.

This year, a new prize, called the “LifeChanger Spirit Award,” will be given to the nominee whose community demonstrates the most support for his or her nomination. Support can be demonstrated through positive comments on the nominee’s profile page, social media posts, and school and community recognition activities.  A resource page with ideas for ways to celebrate nominees can be found at http://lifechangeroftheyearnominees.com/showspirit/.

To view Ms. Brown’s LifeChanger of the Year nominee profile, or to nominate someone from your school community, visit www.LifeChangeroftheYear.com


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HCS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age or other protected classes in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Robbin G. Ruth, Executive Director, Human Resources, One Franklin Street, Hampton, VA 23669 757-727-2000. 

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