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Bessemer educator nominated as life-changer for positive influence, leadership

 

November 10, 2017

Ian Minielly/Daily Globe

JAMIE STIFFARM, Bessemer teacher, was nominated by former principal Dan VanderVelden as a LifeChanger of the Year Thursday in Bessemer. Stiffarm's profile for the award is available on the lifechangeroftheyear.com website and, according to Stiffarm, "Comments left on the website help the individual candidates" in the selection process.

By IAN MINIELLY

iminielly@yourdailyglobe.com

Bessemer - The former high school principal at the A.D. Johnston school in Bessemer, Dan VanderVelden, nominated Jamie Stiffarm, special education and peer-to-peer mentor teacher for LifeChanger of the Year before his departure last spring.

The LifeChanger of the Year program annually recognizes K-12 educators and school employees across the country who make a difference in the lives of students by, "exemplifying excellence, positive influence, and leadership," according to the lifechangeroftheyear.com website.

Since the program's inception in 2006, the National Life Group Foundation and the National Life Group seek to do good in the communities in which they live and work by supporting nonprofit and educational organizations by providing grants, 40 hours of paid volunteer time annually, sponsoring events, and offering in-kind donations.

When an individual is nominated, he or she receives a unique profile on the lifechangeroftheyear.com website so the story can be shared. Anyone who supports the nominee is encouraged to visit the website and leave comments. Because of the volume of profiles and nominees, selecting Michigan narrows the field considerably. As of Thursday evening, only four people had logged in and left comments regarding her nominations.

Vai Triggiano wrote, "She is passionate about what she teaches and is very personal."

Judy Krocker wrote, "Mrs. Stiffarm does an amazing job for our school system and the community. She goes above and beyond her duties. She has good communication and respect for and from her students."

Profiles and stories are shared via social media to promote the local do-gooders within each community and each LifeChanger is given the opportunity to be selected the overall winner, which can result in the school and district winning cash prizes, according to the website.

A LifeChanger of the Year must:

Stiffarm said she wants kids to learn about kindness towards each other while helping individual kids succeed. She said, "(I am) excited to be nominated. Mr. VanderVelden valued me as a teacher and I really appreciate that."

 
 

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