Each year, a group of prior LifeChanger of the Year winners and higher education professionals comes together to select our top LifeChangers for the year. Meet the 2017-18 selection committee below!
Position: Science Teacher
School: Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy
School District: Detroit Public Schools Community District
City, State: Detroit, Michigan
About Amy: Mrs. Lazarowicz is more than just a science teacher. She is the epitome of what it means to be a community educator and leader for her students. She has the ability to teach lessons that are both rigorous and engaging, with a strong focus on her students becoming stewards of the environment and their community. Last school year, she and her students nurtured and studied onions, cabbage and potatoes among other vegetables that are made available to students and neighborhood families. Additionally, she led her school to DPSCD RecycleBowl victory! Over the course of four weeks, they collected more than 300 pounds of recyclables.
On February 24, 2017, Ms. Lazarowicz was surprised at a school assembly where it was announced that she was a LifeChanger of the Year Grand Prize Finalist! She attended the National LifeChanger of the Year Awards Ceremony in Naples, FL on April 30th, where she received a $2,500 personal cash reward and a $2,500 donation to her school.
Position: Physical Education Teacher
School: Earlington Heights Elementary
School District: Miami-Dade County Public Schools
City, State: Brownsville, Florida
About Ana: Ms. Rubio began teaching more than 16 years ago with a mission to make a difference in every students’ life. She founded a non-profit called Streamline Miami to help underprivileged students stay active and healthy after school. Streamline Miami started off as a baseball program for students. The group consisted of three teams that would travel across Florida and compete against other local baseball teams. Ms. Rubio’s dedication to the students paid off, as six of the program’s participants received college baseball scholarships. Streamline Miami provides underprivileged students a healthy and productive outlet for their energy outside school.
On February 22nd, 2017, Ms. Rubio was surprised at a staff meeting where it was announced that she was a LifeChanger of the Year Top 5 Finalist! She also attended the National LifeChanger of the Year Awards Ceremony in Naples, FL on April 30th, where she was named the Grand Prize Winner and received a $5,000 personal cash reward and a $5,000 donation to her school.
Position: Science Teacher
School: New Manchester High School
School District: Douglas County School System
City, State: Douglasville, Georgia
About Casey: Mr. Bethel is an example of a teacher with a thirst for knowledge. He has spent the past six summers participating in Georgia Tech’s Georgia Intern-Fellowships for Teachers (GIFT) and conducting authentic biochemistry research. He is also a Paul A. Duke Award winner for his lessons, which have been published in The Journal of Chemical Education. Mr. Bethel isn’t simply learning for the sake of learning; he brings practical solutions into the classroom so his students understand the relevancy of the different curricula. He is truly a state “treasure” for enhancing and promoting the field of science to students in Georgia. In fact, his ability to make a difference in the lives of students, demonstrate leadership in the school and district and outstanding professional performance recently earned him the title of 2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year.
On March 8th, 2017, Mr. Bethel was surprised during a district leadership meeting, where it was announced that he was a LifeChanger of the Year Grand Prize Finalist! He attended the National LifeChanger of the Year Awards Ceremony in Naples, FL on April 30th, where he received a $2,500 personal cash reward and a $2,500 donation to her school.
Position: Assistant Dean of Educator Preparation
School: The Ohio State University
City, State: Columbus, OH
About Erica: Erica M. Brownstein, Ph.D is Assistant Dean of Educator Preparation at The Ohio State University and worked as an associate professor of science education at Capital University. Erica has a passion for accreditation and has experience at the discipline, program, and university level. Her service at a national level includes data projects with CAEP, AACTE Case Study, and the Teacher Education Data Project funded by the New Venture Fund, Overdeck Family Foundation, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition, she chairs the State University Education Deans in Ohio organization. She also leads a 27 institution collaborative research project to develop valid and reliable instruments for use by educator preparation providers (VARI-EPP). Erica has made presentations about accreditations to local, regional, national, and international audiences. Her research and publications are focused on accreditation and assessment.
Position: Title 1 Site Coordinator/Vice Principal
School: Red Mountain Elementary School
School District: Washington County School District
City, State: Ivins, Utah
About Jay: 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!
On March 7th, 2017, Mr. Porter was surprised at a school assembly where it was announced that he was a LifeChanger of the Year Grand Prize Finalist! He also attended the National LifeChanger of the Year Awards Ceremony in Naples, FL on April 30th, where he received a $2,500 personal cash reward and a $2,500 donation to her school.
Position: Seventh Grade World History Teacher / GATE Coordinator
School: Los Angeles Academy Middle School
School District: Los Angeles Unified School District
City, State: Los Angeles, California
About Martha: Many would describe Ms. Infante as a Life Changer for the work she has done at her school. They might cite how she has helped generations of students obtain numerous educational experiences such as scholarships for attendance to private school, or to travel to China and Japan on education exchanges. They might even cite her own magic as a classroom teacher who brings Medieval World History to life and whose students eagerly rush to class to learn their next lesson. Through relentless and unceasing efforts, Ms. Infante has fought to change the image of what it means to be a student in South Central L.A. In a place that is often known for its gang violence, she has encouraged and succeeded in helping students from varying backgrounds find the scholar in them.
On March 17th, 2017, Ms. Infante was surprised at a school assembly where it was announced that she was a LifeChanger of the Year Grand Prize Finalist! She also attended the National LifeChanger of the Year Awards Ceremony in Naples, FL on April 30th, where she received a $2,500 personal cash reward and a $2,500 donation to her school.