Position: Principal School: Prairie Vale Elementary School
School District: Deer Creek Schools
City, State: Edmond, Oklahoma
About the Nominee: Michelle Anderson was nominated by Jeanie Klabzuba and Amanda Houska, who are both parents of students in the district.
Amanda Houska's daughter was new to Edmond and Prairie Vale Elementary School as a second grader. They came from a small town where they had lived their entire lives. Ms. Houska's daughter had never attended daycare, ridden a bus, been away from her friends or experienced life outside of a small town. Her grade had consisted of a total of 80 students that would all go through middle school, junior high school and high school together.
When Ms. Houska's family moved to Edmond, her daughter, who is shy by nature, had to attend Antler Care (Prairie Vale's day care) in the mornings. From the first day of school, her daughter was devastated and just wanted to go home. She cried when her mom dropped her off and throughout the day. Ms. Houska would receive phone calls from the school saying that her daughter was sick and needed to be picked up. Each time, Ms. Houska would explain that her daughter was sad and was feeling uncertain and scared.
This is where Michelle Anderson comes in. Mrs. Anderson made all the difference in turning the year around. She took the time to get to know Ms. Houska's daughter by sitting with her at lunch and checking in on her at recess and in class. She would talk to her and make her feel secure. She spent time that she didn't have to give up from her day to ensure that Ms. Houska's daughter would feel like wasn't alone for the long day when she was at school. Mrs. Anderson helped her adjust, make friends and settle into a routine. Her warm smile and a hug for a little girl who was struggling meant the world to the student and her family! For the next three years, Mrs. Anderson continued to be a LifeChanger for Ms. Houska's daughter by encouraging her, recognizing her and getting to know her! Ms. Houska says that she'll never be able to thank Mrs. Anderson enough for coming to her daughter's rescue and being their hero!
Ms. Klabzuba indicated that she doesn't know many other principals who are so closely involved with knowing their students and their families.