Erica VanNess, a counselor at Underwood Elementary, has been nominated for the 2016-2017 national LifeChanger of the Year Award. Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, the LifeChanger of the Year program recognizes and rewards the very best K-12 public and private school educators and employees across the United States who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.
Mrs. VanNess was nominated by a colleague.
“Although Mrs. VanNess has only been at our school for two years, her influence has been immeasurable,” said her colleague. “Whenever she hears about a student who needs help, Mrs. VanNess checks in with them throughout the day, offers school and community resources to the student and their family and collaborates with local agencies and medical professionals treating the student. She has great relationships with students who are struggling emotionally and has changed their lives for the better.”
Mrs. VanNess is beginning her seventh year as an R-7 counselor and has also worked at Prairie View and Richardson Elementary. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northwest Missouri State University and her master’s degree in counseling from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
“I am honored to be nominated!” Mrs. VanNess said. “I love my job and helping students reach their highest potential.”
Each school year, the LifeChanger of the Year program receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For 2016-2017, there will be a total of 15 individual LifeChanger of the Year Awards. In addition, a 16th prize, the National Spirit Award, is given to the school and nominee whose community demonstrates the most support for their nomination. Each winner will receive a cash award that is split between the individual winner and their school. The national Grand Prize award is $10,000. Winners are announced via surprise award ceremonies held at their schools. The top five winners will also be honored at a national awards ceremony in Naples, Fla. Winners will be announced in spring 2017.
Winners will be chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals. Nominees must be school district employees. To view Mrs. VanNess’ LifeChanger of the Year nominee profile, or to nominate someone, visit www.LifeChangeroftheYear.com.