Position: Special Needs Teacher School: Mainspring Academy
School District: Private
City, State: Jacksonville, Florida
About the Nominee: UPDATE: June 13, 2016 Mr. Chris left his full-time teaching position to travel the world on behalf of Special Books by Special Kids. Although he is no longer eligible for the LifeChanger of the Year cash prizes, we recognize the outstanding work that he has done within his role at a school -- and that he will continue to do as he travels the world -- raising awareness about kids with special needs. We're leaving this profile up to honor his passion and dedication as a special education teacher.
Christopher Ulmer, known as "Mr. Chris" was nominated by a member of his community, Casey Twisdale.
Christopher Ulmer is a true LifeChanger! At the time of his nomination, he was a special needs teacher in Jacksonville, FL, where he took a completely different approach to the way he taught. While plenty of children with special needs are teased for their differences, Mr. Chris lifts these students up and makes them smile. He takes the time to figure out the different needs of each child he comes in contact with. Mr. Chris understands that not everyone is the same, and that just because someone is different doesn’t mean that they aren’t "normal." His students are 100% normal - they just learn and do things in a different manner.
Not only was Mr. Chris dedicated to his classroom full of wonderful children, but he made time to visit with other children (and adults) with special needs throughout the country. He travels with his girlfriend, Alyssa, and rescue dog, Noodle.
Before he decided to leave his teaching position to travel the world, he started Special Books by Special Kids with the help of his wonderful students. It has since become a nonprofit organization that tells stories about special needs children and provides children and families from the special needs community with an audience to share their thoughts and experiences. In short, Mr. Chris is the definition of a LifeChanger. He is changing the lives of both his students and their parents, but more importantly, he is changing the world’s perspective of students with special needs.