Position: Speech Language Pathologist School: Temple Elementary School
School District: Carroll County School District
City, State: Temple, Georgia
About the Nominee: Kathy Hurley was nominated by a colleague, Tessa Thomas.
Mrs. Hurley has been a speech therapist at Temple Elementary School for as long as anyone can remember. She is one of those people that everyone gravitates to. She walks into a room and every student immediately smiles in the hopes that today is speech day. All of those are reasons why she is a LifeChanger, because she changes lives at her school every day. None of those, however, are the reasons Mrs. Hurley was nominated by Ms. Thomas.
She first met Mrs. Hurley prior to teaching at Temple. Ms. Thomas was a scared parent with a scared child who could not speak properly. She brought him to the school for speech therapy, hoping for someone to understand and help him. Her son's problem was bigger than just speech; he had autism and was terrified of schools. Mrs. Hurley listened to Ms. Thomas and accepted that her son was afraid. When Ms. Thomas brought him in, Mrs. Hurley worked with him one on one. When he came in and cried because his mother had left him, Mrs. Hurley looked at Ms. Thomas and said, "He will be okay and so will you. I'll call you if he isn't." She sent him home with a million "treasures" from her treasure box. Pretty soon, he couldn't wait for speech day. Before Ms. Thomas knew it, her son wanted to attend school and is now a full time student in the district.
Mrs. Hurley is a LifeChanger because she, along with many teachers she enlisted help from at her school, literally changed the course of Ms. Thomas and her son's lives. Every day, one can see a student whose life she is changing. She quietly works with students to improve more than their speech. She helps develop their social skills, life skills and self confidence, all while working on speech goals in her classroom. Ms. Thomas says she is thankful that Mrs. Hurley was once her son's speech pathologist and is now her co-worker and friend!