Brenda Scheffey

Position: Physical Education Teacher School: Tamanend Middle School

School District: Central Bucks School District

City, State: Warrington, Pennsylvania

About the Nominee: Brenda Scheffey was nominated by her principal, Cheryl Leatherbarrow.

In the many years that Brenda Scheffey has served Tamanend Middle School, she has been a coach, a dean and the athletic director. In all of her roles, and for all of the students whose lives she has touched, her most profound, life-changing moments have been in her role as leader and facilitator of the school's "Friends." Ms. Scheffey's Friends are a select group of students who befriend Tamanend's students with autism. Together, the Friends enjoy activities in and out school and have established a culture of acceptance and kindness at Tamanend. The students with autism experience a life-changing, positive, age-alike relationship with peers. The Friends' lives are also changed as evidenced in the detailed thank you notes received by Ms. Scheffey. Overall, the Friends' most common reflection and realization is that it's the little things in life that are most important. Tamanend's entire Friends group has become a living model of compassion, service, and leadership to the rest of students, staff and community as they go out together on field trips. Each year, Ms. Scheffey has more and more students who want to be in the Friends group. She has made it "cool to be kind," and even cooler to be a friend during some of the toughest social years of everyone's lives. Ms. Scheffey has changed many lives, and the ripple effect of the Friends Program at pep rallies, the talent show and dances is immeasurable!

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