The National Life Group has named Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) teacher Susan Turner as a 2012-13 ‘LifeChanger of the Year’ award recipient. Turner, a sixth grade world history teacher at Beachside Montessori Village, received the award recently at a surprise ceremony at the school in front of students, parents and fellow teachers. She is one of 10 educators from across the country to be recognized by National Life Group for making a positive difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.
"Susan Turner is a shining example of the powerful, positive influence educators can have in the lives of their students,” said Mehran Assadi, CEO of National Life Group. "Her demonstrated ability to motivate and inspire students to learn and succeed makes her a true life changer.”
Turner was selected from more than 400 nominations in 33 states. As a ‘LifeChanger of the Year’, she receives a $3,000 cash prize, which is shared as $1,500 personal award and a matching $1,500 contribution to Beachside, according to Nadine Drew, spokesperson for the Broward County School District.
Turner received several nominations for the award from students and parents for her ability to engage students in the learning about world history by making it interactive and fun. She has a passion and enthusiasm for performing arts and created a drama program that encourages all students to participate in school plays. At Beachside, Turner is affectionately known as ‘Mama Goose’ for her dedication to going above and beyond her duties in the classroom to support and nurture all students and strengthen the school community, according to Drew.
“Ms Turner has been both a mentor and a motivator in the lives of Beachside students. She patiently guides our children to find their strengths and overcome their weaknesses,” said Sabrina Johnson, a parent who nominated Turner for the award. “She has built a drama club that allows children of all backgrounds to feel included and valuable. For all this and more, Ms. Turner has been invaluable to Beachside students and parents.”
"It’s been more than 30 years since I was her student but I still have fond memories of her imaginative and wonderful classroom and the way she helped instill some important morals and values in my life,” said former student Rhoma Mills. “She was an amazing teacher then and I know she still is now."
A National Life Group selection committee that includes teachers and school district staff chose winners. Students, parents, teachers and administrators submitted nominations of individuals who must be full-time K-12 educators, teachers, principals, or any member of the school's staff who makes a positive difference in the lives of students, according to Assadi.
“The important work that teachers perform on a daily basis and the critical role they play in the development of our children is worthy of special recognition and reward,” said Assadi. “Outstanding educators make a difference and are a valuable resource in our communities.”