ENID, Okla. — A Longfellow Middle School teacher has been nominated for a national LifeChanger of the Year award for her dedication to helping students, a release from the award program said. She also stands a chance of earning some money to share with the district if she wins.
Kaeli Jantz, an ELL math teacher, was nominated by Longfellow Principal Jonathan Mitchell.
"Kaeli's positive attitude, commitment to her students and the profession, and high moral and ethical values make her a LifeChanger in our community," Mitchell said.
The LifeChanger of the Year award is sponsored by National Life Group, a life insurance company. Hundred of nominations are sent in each year, according to the release, naming 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."
"(Jantz) possesses a unique ability to reach students whose native languages are Spanish and Marshallese. Many of Jantz’s students do not speak English, but her dedication and their determination allows them to grow and become confident with both math and the English language," the release said.
She is one of four K-12 teachers nominated in Oklahoma, according to the program's website.
"I'm really, really surprised, and really, really thankful," Jantz said, adding the fact she was nominated by her principal makes the honor even more exciting. "To have that kind of support, it's a really great boost."
Jantz was surprised at the news because there are plenty of others just as deserving of the recognition, she said.
"When I got the email notification that I was a nominee, I was pretty taken aback because we have a lot of really good teachers at this school," she said.
First place will receive $10,000 to share with their school and district, the release said. Four grand prize finalists will take away $5,000, and 10 LifeChanger Award winners will earn $3,000.
The Spirit Award winner, the nominee whose community shows the most support for their nomination, is granted $5,000.
Another $5,000 will be given to the Spotlight Award winner, an individual who has had a significant impact in the area of school safety, the release said. Criteria for this award changes to recognize a different discipline each year.
A special committee comprised of former winners and education professionals will handle the selection process, the release said. Surprise ceremonies will be held to announce the winners at their schools.
To see Jantz' nominee profile, or to submit a nomination, go to www.LifeChangeroftheYear.com.
Willetts writes for the Enid News & Eagle, a CNHI News Service publication.