Position: School Counselor School: Underwood Elementary School
School District: Lee's Summit R-7 School District
City, State: Lee's Summit, Missouri
About the Nominee: Although Erica VanNess has only been at Underwood Elementary School for two years, her influence has been immeasurable. In her short time at Underwood, she has changed the lives of students who were emotionally struggling. Whenever Mrs. VanNess hears about a student who needs help, she quickly does the following: - assess the situation for safety/security - offer school and community resources to the student and their family - notify local agencies - collaborate with medical professionals treating the child - check in with the student throughout the school day.
Because of this, Mrs. VanNess has great relationships with the students at Underwood. There was a time when a student was in a dire situation and that student's friend felt comfortable enough to contact Mrs. VanNess immediately. Mrs. VanNess quickly took action to get the student the help they needed in order to keep the situation from escalating, likely preventing a tragedy.
This is just one example of the influence Mrs. VanNess has at Underwood. The stories are endless. Mrs. VanNess is not only a LifeChanger....but a life saver!