Columbiana Middle School library/media specialist Sheikla Blount has been nominated for the 2017-2018 national LifeChanger of the Year award.
Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, LifeChanger of the Year recognizes and rewards the very best K-12 educators and school district employees across the United States who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.
Blount was nominated by a colleague, Jason Mayfield. She has been working at Columbiana Middle School for the past decade after years of teaching kindergarten. Blount was praised for her work with the school’s JUNA (Junior United Nations Assembly) program. For several years, she has taken a JUNA team to the state competition, where they’ve placed in several categories each year.
“When students go to JUNA, they’re competing with stiff competition,” Mayfield explained. “Moreover, Ms. Blount has always tried to lead JUNA, like most everything she has ever done, with an eye on reaching students who don’t normally compete in anything, or students who haven’t found their niche. After math team, the Scholars’ Bowl, the athletic teams, and additional clubs have made their picks, Ms. Blount makes her picks, encouraging students who need an outlet. Yearly, she takes students in the JUNA group and helps them shine.”
Through the library, Blount has sponsored programs where students were encouraged to read the equivalent of 20 books. During various school years, she has set up incentives to help students check out books more frequently. One year, the goal was to keep “clean accounts,” or accounts without fines or fees. Last year, she led her school through its first student-led conferences.
“Personally, she helped me apply for money to go for national boards, and she has been a gracious aid all year long during my process of applying,” said Mayfield. “She is a gem, her heart is big, and we are blessed to have her.”
Each school year, LifeChanger of the Year receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Seventeen individual LifeChanger of the Year awards will be given during the 2017-2018 school year.
- (1) Grand Prize Winner – will receive $10,000 to be shared with their school/district.
- (4) Grand Prize Finalists – will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.
- (10) LifeChanger Award Winners – will receive $3,000 to be shared with their school/district.
- (1) Spirit Award Winner – This award is given to the nominee whose community demonstrates the most support for their nomination. The winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.
- (1) Spotlight Award Winner – This award will be given to a nominee in a specific discipline each year. For 2017-2018, the award will be given to a nominee who works in a support role, such as a secretary, administrative assistant, or office manager. The winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district in fall 2017.
Winners are announced via surprise award ceremonies held at their schools. The grand prize finalists will also be honored at a national awards ceremony in spring 2018 in Bermuda, where the Grand Prize Winner will be revealed.
Winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals. Nominees must be K-12 teachers or school district employees. To be considered for an award, nominees must
- Make a positive impact in the lives of students
- Enhance their school or district’s atmosphere, culture, and pride
- Demonstrate exemplary leadership at the school and/or district level
- Possess a proven record of professional excellence
- Show commitment to building a nurturing environment that supports learning
- Adhere to the highest moral and ethical standards
A resource page with ideas for how to celebrate nominees can be found at http://lifechangeroftheyearnominees.com/showspirit/.
To view Ms. Blount’s LifeChanger of the Year nominee profile, or to nominate someone from your school community, visit www.LifeChangeroftheYear.com.