Brownsville teacher Ana Rubio named a ‘LifeChanger of the Year’

Ana Rubio began teaching more than 16 years ago with a mission to make a difference in every student’s life. As a single mother with three sons, she is aware of the effect public education and school involvement has on the lives of young people.

A physical education teacher at Earlington Heights Elementary School in Brownsville, Rubio has been named a 2016-2017 “LifeChanger of the Year” award winner and a top-five finalist for the national $10,000 grand prize. She was surprised with the honor at a ceremony during an after-school meeting Feb. 22.

LifeChanger of the Year is a national program that annually recognizes and rewards K-12 school district educators and employees who make a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.

Rubio is the founder of Streamline Miami, a nonprofit that helps underprivileged students stay active and healthy after school. The program started off as a baseball program for students but has evolved to provide underprivileged youth with local cultural experiences. Through Streamline Miami, Rubio has planned field trips to music festivals and art museums, raised money for books and basic classroom materials and inspired many students to pursue a college education. The group has purchased Kindles for students to read during class.

Rubio says her program is trying to ensure that underprivileged students do not fall through the cracks.

“Every student deserves access to high quality education,” she said.

Silva Kaneesha Dockens has worked with Rubio for years. She says her colleague does “great work” for her students and has brought “positive change” to Earlington Heights Elementary.

“I am so happy to witness the positive change she has brought to this school,” Dockens said. “She is committed to exposing our students to other options. By exposing our students to culture, sports and travel, our students recognize that they can achieve more.”

National Life Group representative Maria McLendon said at the event: “Ana is a fierce advocate for the betterment of all students, regardless of their economic background. Her students and colleagues have spoken about her patience, grace, passion, and commitment to changing children’s lives. She truly embodies what it means to be a LifeChanger.”

As one of the top five finalists, Rubio will attend the national LifeChanger of the Year awards ceremony, which will be held in April in Naples, Fla. A grand prize winner will be announced. Rubio was selected as a LifeChanger of the Year winner out of more than 720 teachers, administrators and school district employees nominated for the award from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.