TSGC teacher nominated for LifeChanger of the Year award

Published 1:29 pm Thursday, January 17, 2019


ALABASTER – Thompson Sixth Grade Center math teacher Amber Willis has been nominated for the 2018-2019 national LifeChanger of the Year award.


Willis was nominated by Rebecca Cohen, the parent of a student, for creating a welcoming and positive atmosphere. Cohen’s son previously struggled with bullies, but has regained confidence since entering Willis’ classroom.

“He came home after one day in Amber’s class and said, ‘This year is going to be different. Ms. Willis has this under control,'” said Cohen.

Willis consistently goes the extra mile to help her students succeed, whether it’s by videotaping lessons for students to re-watch if they need to, giving helpful study guides, or incorporating technology to make learning more fun. She respects students of all levels in the classroom, and she stokes their curiosity about math.

“Amber has changed my child’s life for the better, and I have no doubt that she has changed the lives of other students for the better, as well,” said Cohen. “My child is one lucky kid to be in her class.”

This will make the second-consecutive year an Alabaster teacher has been nominated for the prestigious award. During the 2017-18 school year, former Thompson High School pre-engineering teacher Brian Copes was named the LifeChanger of the Year Grand Prize winner, and received $10,000 to be shared with the school.

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.

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 2018-2019 school year:

-One Grand Prize Winner – will receive $10,000 to be shared with their school/district.

-Four Grand Prize Finalists – will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.

-Ten LifeChanger Award Winners – will receive $3,000 to be shared with their school/district.

-One 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.

-One Spotlight Award Winner – This award is given to a nominee in a specific discipline each year. For 2018-19, the Spotlight Award will be given to a nominee who works in a counseling role. The winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school or district.

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 April 2019 in Hawaii, 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 standard.