Position: Physical Education Teacher
School: Tippit Middle School
School District: Georgetown Independent School District
City, State: Georgetown, Texas
About Amanda: Amanda Reyes exemplifies the meaning of compassion, team work, leadership, tolerance, responsibility and trust through everything she does. As a physical education teacher and sports coach, she instills strong moral values in her students. Although Coach Reyes coaches many sports, basketball is her biggest passion. She gives every student the opportunity to be a part of the team as long as they have a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn. She looks after her students long after they leave Tippit, even going as far as inviting them to return to help coach the middle school students. Coach Reyes is often seen at high school volleyball and basketball games cheering on the kids she once coached. She is truly their biggest fan!
On February 24, 2016, Ms. Reyes was surprised at a school assembly where it was announced that she was a LifeChanger of the Year Top 5 Finalist! Ms. Reyes also attended the National LifeChanger of the Year Awards Ceremony in Los Cabos, Mexico on April 12th, where she received a $2,500 personal cash reward and a $2,500 donation to her school.
Position: English Language Arts 11/12 Teacher
School: Stevenson High School
School District: Utica Community Schools
City, State: Sterling Heights, Michigan
About Annette: Often by their very nature, teachers are LifeChangers in the communities they serve. Annette Christiansen, however, exemplifies what it means to be an exceptional teacher and has been a LifeChanger to her students. She makes her English courses dynamic and interactive by carefully selecting materials of interest to her students. She drives students to excel both academically and personally. Through the use of philosophical questions, thought-provoking material and a safe classroom environment, Ms. Christiansen encourages students to explore their passions and their positions on a variety of socio-political topics. She encourages students to learn from each other and to become more tolerant, understanding and open-minded about those who are different. She is willing to share personal triumphs and tragedies, and has been the source of strength to many students during difficult personal experiences. Many students report through various sounding boards and polls that she is the teacher who has influenced them the most.
On March 30th, we surprised Ms. Christiansen at a staff meeting to let her know that she won a LifeChanger Award for 2015-16! Ms. Christiansen received a $1,500 personal cash award, as well as a $1,500 donation to her school, Stevenson High School.
Position: Higher Education Coordinator
School: Century High School
School District: Santa Ana Unified
City, State: Santa Ana, California
About Beau: Beau Menchaca always finds a way to be a leader in activities at his school. Through the development of several programs throughout his career, he has worked to make every school community he works in a more appreciative, inspiring, and welcoming place to be for faculty and students alike. For example, While working as an office assistant, Mr. Menchaca overheard two girl students talking about what they wanted to be, how there had never been a women president in the US and whether or not women in the world held any positions of influence. This prompted him to organize the “The Gallery of Illustrious Women.” For this display, Mr. Menchaca realized that the students needed some positive women role models to inspire them and he began a letter writing campaign to women leaders all over the world, asking them to send a picture and a letter encouraging everyone, especially girls, to aspire to be the best they could be and work towards making a difference in the world. Each letter and picture he received was displayed at the school.
On March 30th, we surprised Mr. Menchaca at a school open house to let him know that he won a LifeChanger Award for 2015-16. Mr. Menchaca received a $1,500 personal cash award, as well as a $1,500 donation to his school, Century High School.