Stephanie Durham

Position: Reading Coach

School: John E. Ford Pre K-8 Montessori School

School District: Duval County Public Schools

City, State: Jacksonville, Florida

About the Nominee: Stephanie Durham has been instrumental in the transformation of her school. Her work to ensure a quality education for all students does not end with her full-time position at Ford, as she also holds two additional jobs to strengthen the field of education and individual at-risk students. Ms. Durham trains, guides and mentors 32 teachers at Ford on the traditional school calendar. Since June 2012, she has also worked at night and during the summer time facilitating poetry lessons for Hope at Hand, Inc. Her Hope at Hand poetry groups include: - Pretrial Detention Facility - incarcerated female adolescents with felony charges - Department of Juvenile Justice - incarcerated female adolescents - PACE Center for Girls – alternative high school for high school girls - Gateway, Steps to Recovery – adolescent females in recovery - Buckner Division/Children’s Home Society - adolescent females in foster care, ages 13-18 either pregnant or with young children - Catholic Charities/Refugee Resettlement –girls from Afghanistan - Catholic Charities/Refugee Resettlement –girls from Burma

Hope at Hand is funded by local donations and grant awards. From time to time, funds are unavailable for scheduled poetry sessions, but Ms. Durham never alters her schedule with her high school girls. She is determined to facilitate hope for some of the most vulnerable students in North Florida. She can walk into hostile environments with a box of crayons and a handful of poems and change the attitudes and hearts of her girls, who all love her.

This 12 year veteran educator is also a K-2 English/Language Arts team leader for EdReports.org, a national organization. She was accepted into Leadership Jacksonville, Class of 2017. She was also a 2016 Finalist for Instructional Coach of the Year for Duval County Public Schools. In the last year, Ms. Durham has presented language arts and poetry on the local, state and national levels. She was selected to attend Teach to Lead. Finally, she is a lead language arts advocate for the State of Florida’s Student Achievement Partners.

Ms. Durham strengthens beginning teachers, veteran teachers, educational organizations and at-risk female adolescents. She is a tremendous asset in the profession of education!

Anton Bucher

Position: Theatre Teacher

School: Lone Star High School

School District: Frisco ISD

City, State: Frisco, Texas

About the Nominee: Anton Bucher was nominated by Kim Meeks. Mr. Bucher is a new teacher to Lone Star High School this year. Prior to his arrival, he served at Pioneer Heritage Middle School for a very long time.

Mr. Bucher is a "one-of-a-kind" stand-up guy! He has made an impact on so many students, including Ms. Meeks' oldest daughter. He has helped students with "disabilities" believe in themselves, giving them the love and attention they need to thrive and survive. Mr. Bucher has built confidence and self-esteem in thousands of students who may have never had any hope of a future.

He is also a coach for his adopted daughter's volleyball team. Mr. Bucher and his wife adopted her from China, and they also have a son whom they have adopted as well. They gave life to two children who may not otherwise have had a life.

Every year he invites colleagues, past students and their parents on a trip to New York.

[nominee_videos nominee_email="Buchera@friscoisd.org"]

Jeanette Cellucci

Position: Seventh Grade Social Studies Teacher

School: Jordan Road School

School District: Somers Point Schools

City, State: Somers Point, New Jersey

About the Nominee: Jeanette Cellucci is a role model in every sense of the word. She infuses her lessons with technology and hands-on activities for her students. When students at her school wanted to participate in a state-wide STEM competition, Ms. Cellucci worked tirelessly with them in preparing their projects for viewing by the judges. She opened her classroom on Saturdays so students could work on their videos and scripts. She is also the coach for the boys' basketball team. On the court, no one is more competitive than her. She holds daily practices for the students to get them in shape for the season. Off the court, she is equally as demanding in the kind of behavior she wants her team to exhibit. She is an outstanding teacher who understands that some of the most important lessons in life are learned outside the classroom. She is a tireless volunteer for the community and its children.

[nominee_videos nominee_email="jcellucci@sptsd.org"]

Sadye Heenan

Position: Third Grade Teacher

School: Northfield Elementary School

School District: Northfield Community School District

City, State: Northfield, New Jersey

About the Nominee: Every day, Sadye Heenan changes the lives of her students! She is a kind, compassionate teacher whose enthusiasm and passion for teaching is repeatedly shown to her students throughout the school day and beyond. Mrs. Heenan gains the respect and admiration of her students by running a structured, fair classroom that is infused with lots of fun and positive reinforcement! In addition to being a LifeChanger to her students, she continuously inspires her colleagues. Her supportive and encouraging attitude helps keep a positive spirit around the school. Mrs. Heenan can often be found volunteering for committees that are created to improve the school.

As the elementary representative of the recycling program, her class is responsible for collecting the elementary recycling every week. Mrs. Heenan has motivated her school to recognize the importance of recycling.

It takes a special person to go above and beyond for both students and staff. Mrs. Heenan is most certainly a LifeChanger in her school, and her colleagues and students feel fortunate that she is part of the Northfield Community School family!

[nominee_videos nominee_email="sheenan@ncs-nj.org"]

Kaitlyn Pickett

Position: Second Grade Teacher

School: College Park Elementary School

School District: Pascagoula-Gautier School District

City, State: Gautier, Mississippi

About the Nominee: Kaitlyn Pickett was nominated by a student, Lydia-Kate Jordan. Ms. Pickett works really hard to make learning fun. She spends time creating fun things for students to do while we learn. To give some examples, she made the classroom into a Pokemon game for students to learn how to read. She also made "Pickettville" to help students learn to work in groups, and to teach them that it's not always about themselves. Ms. Pickett decorates the entire classroom and hallway for different things her students do. She teaches them how to speak properly, and not to say things like "ain't," or "do's not." She's a super fun teacher who stays after school and helps students with their homework.

Ms. Pickett is also on the literacy team, and she helps Lydia-Kate's other teacher all the time because it's their first year. Lydia-Kate says that Ms. Pickett has helped her be a better reader, meet her AR goal and raise her AR level. Ms. Pickett has a chart in the classroom where students can see how far they have to go to reach their AR goal, and they all meet their goals because she really helps them.

When students are sad, Ms. Pickett hangs out with them on the playground. When students don't get along in class, she talks to them to help them be friends again. When Ms. Pickett teaches, she sings, raps, acts and uses puppets. She teaches her students to do what's right, and she helps them use more advanced words such as melancholy and ecstatic to describe their feelings. Ms. Pickett is an awesome teacher, and her students are lucky to have her!

[nominee_videos nominee_email="kpickett@pgsd.ms"]