Position: Title 1 Site Coordinator/Vice Principal
School: Red Mountain Elementary School
School District: Washington County School District
City, State: Ivins, Utah
About the Nominee: Jay was nominated by his principal, Amy Mitchell. Jay Porter is the heart of Red Mountain Elementary School; he has a positive influence that spills over into the community. It seems as if nothing is too big of a challenge for Mr. Porter. He finds unique ways to teach and motivate the school's high at-risk population. Some of the activities he has arranged to reinforce good behavior include: an indoor snowball fight (his students live in the desert and rarely see snow), a treasure hunt, bingo game, pie-eating contest, walking trip to the local ice cream store, etc. He also organizes a summer camp for his students each year to provide an option to TV binge watching and video game playing!
Additionally, Mr. Porter is always up to visit a student who has chronic absences or is ill. He finds extra "jobs" around the school to help reluctant students feel needed and welcome. After noticing a high number of students suffering from poor life choices made by their parents, Mr. Porter contacted a local family therapist who was willing to donate his time to conducting nighttime workshops at the school. Mr. Porter arranged for prizes and babysitters so that parents could easily attend and learn a few tools to help them navigate though parenting.
Beyond school, he volunteers as a Secret Santa each year, delivering toys to families in need. He also serves as a Big Brother in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization. Recently, Mr. Porter was with his coworkers at a conference in San Francisco. While walking back to their hotel one night, his colleagues noticed that Mr. Porter was missing. They couldn't find him until they noticed a trail of homeless men and women, each with a fast food burrito in their hands. Mr. Porter had left to purchase a bag full of food for these individuals in need and went about handing them out on the streets of San Francisco. This sums up just how much of a LifeChanger Mr. Porter is!