LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Sarah Kelly

Position: Fourth Grade Teacher
School: Pleasant Hill Elementary School
School District: Des Moines Public Schools
City, State: Pleasant Hill, IA

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Sarah Kelly's nominator wishes to remain anonymous.

Ms. Kelly is an amazing teacher who truly cares about her students. Every new school year comes with new students and challenges. This year, Ms. Kelly heard her new class had a bad reputation, and she was determined to change that. She decided to give them the best educational experience that they could possibly have.

First, she gives her students the opportunity to learn in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, alongside other core subjects. Ms. Kelly is constantly thinking of ideas for her classroom that include more than one of the STEAM elements.

"From what I hear, her students have a blast and are engaged in their learning, more than ever before," the nominator said.

Ms. Kelly also tries to incorporate field trip opportunities whenever she can to enrich her students' learning. She takes them out around the Des Moines area to enhance their experiences, and also conducts virtual field trips in the classroom. Nothing can stop her from providing her students with an amazing educational experience.

From being their technology guru to working to provide leadership for other staff members, Ms. Kelly takes on any opportunity to be a leader. She is a member and one of two building representatives for the local union, DMEA. She's also very connected to her school and community, providing guidance for all. Ms. Kelly is very involved in the PTSA and attends every event they host for families after school.

Ms. Kelly is involved in extracurricular activities for her students, including show choir. This not only encourages students to participate in show choir, but provides students with an amazing opportunity to be more involved in their school.

"Ms. Kelly is an amazing candidate for LifeChanger of the Year," the nominator said. "Her love for students and teaching clearly shows in everything she does."



Comments (54)


Tiana Campbell Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kelly really cares deeply about her students - she provides fun & exciting opportunities for her students to learn! She is very patient and treats them all with respect!

Patty Garrett Posted over a year ago

Sarah is a great candidate for Life Changer of the Year. She always provides her students with exciting and challenging activities incorporating a lot of science and technology and makes the learning fun. She is always willing to take time to help her colleagues as well with their technology and science questions. I hope you will consider Sarah for the award.

Harry and Cindi Spain Posted over a year ago

Congratulations, Sarah! It is that can-do attitude shining thru again. Since your youth, you have an uncanny knack of finding ways to accomplish what is needed. Your students have reaped the rewards. We’re proud of you.

Andrea Love Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kelly is a great teacher and asset to the Pleasant Hill Elementary community. Her dedication to her kids is evident in everything she does inside and outside of the classroom. I have enjoyed working with her in PTO activities and I look forward to her teaching my children in the coming years.

Geoff Farrell Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kelly really cares deeply about her students - she provides fun & exciting opportunities for her students to learn! She is very patient and treats them all with respect!

Thomas Ahart Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kelly understands better than many the need to educate the whole child. Her track record for providing needed opportunities to students in her classroom and others' classrooms at Pleasant Hill Elementary is extraordinary. A good education and educational experience for today's students must go well beyond reading and math and Ms. Kelly delivers.

Sara Kizzier Posted over a year ago

Sara works hard to provide her students with the support and guidance they need to achieve at their highest levels. She recently wrote and received a grant that enabled her students to have amazing STEM experiences. She is very knowledgeable about technology and is willing to help others who need extra guidance. Thanks for your dedication to your students and our school!

Trana Hanna Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kelly takes time to build relationships with our Sped students, always welcoming them in her classroom ! She definitely earned this nomination!

Eleni Anousis Posted over a year ago

Mrs.Kelly is a great teacher. When you are having a tough time in school she helps you. And this is not a lie she is funny and nice.

TK Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kelly is a fantastic teacher and provides an amazing work environment inside the classroom. She is very dedicated to her job and her students. She finds ways to challenge the students in fun and exciting ways. You can always count on her to give the students 110% and nothing less. I hope she wins this award because this will not only show how much of her hard work is noticed but also it may inspire others including students to always do their best and never give up.

Nevaeh Ryan Posted over a year ago

Mrs.Kelly helps at all the school avents that I have went to.And my friends say she is nice and kind.

Ladianna Solo Posted over a year ago

Mrs.Kelly is a good teacher and she helps out with lots of the school events. She has a good spirit for teaching and she has lots of class pets and She's Awesome!

Cameron Dannels Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kelly was my 4th grade teacher! she use to have a black and white hamster named Oreo. She also had yoga balls, wobbler chairs. She does opera. she also helps with school activates

Bradley Rodriguez Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kelly helps with all the school the school activities Plus she has a cute hamster

cheyenne vanblaricum Posted over a year ago

she helps at our school with our events,teaching, and field trips she is a REALLY GOOD 4th grade teacher she also has class pets.! SHES SO AWESOME :)

conner radke Posted over a year ago

i had her as a 4th grade teacher and she is very kind nice and caring and she has a hamster in her class and the hamster name is Oreo and her class room is awesome and she is awesome.

Ricky Enosr Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kelly is a greAT TEACHER!!

nick taylor Posted over a year ago

Mrs.kelly is a great teacher. I've had a great year so far because her.

Jaiden Moody Posted over a year ago

She supports school by writing grants to get STEM items and other academic challenges!

Mattison Ann Smith Posted over a year ago

Mrs Kelly is truly sweet. I know because she has pets a hamster, fish ,she takes good care of them. she is at all the pto meetings and panthers jams .

Avery Posted over a year ago

She was my favorite teacher, she encouraged me to be my self.

Michelle Martinson Posted over a year ago

In addition to being a great teacher, I appreciate how Mrs. Kelly encourages her students to be themselves. She uses fun ways to keep the kids engaged and has a rapport with the kids that makes them comfortable to go to her with troubles. My daughter was historically shy but the inclusive environment in Mrs. Kelly's class has really encouraged her to be herself and participate more in class. She's even more animated at home since having the encouragement of Mrs. Kelly to be herself and be proud of who she is. Thank you, Mrs. Kelly for encouraging our kids and helping them want to learn.

Deborah Krueger Posted over a year ago

My daughter loves going to school and is excited each day to see Mrs.Kelly. She goes above and beyond with her students. My daughter has had a couple personal situations that she has felt comfortable talking to Sarah about and that says a lot as my daughter is shy and reserved.Sarah has helped her a great deal while she's in school and as a parent that can't be there in school with her that means so much to me, to know she's in good hands when she's away from me. It's such a joy to see my daughter after school and to see the excitement of talking about her day. My daughter really enjoys STEM. I've seen her grow so much this year with the help of Mrs.Kelly. Sarah is the perfect nominee for this award!!

becca berglund Posted over a year ago

she is a very good teacher. she makes me laugh every day. she is funny amazing and is one of the best teachers i have ever had.she has pets in the class room and they are so cute. Also if there is a problem she fixes it right away. sometimes she even makes up funny words. And she sometimes tells story's of her family and usually they are pretty funny. and we do stem projects every Thursday and it is so fun!!! I love having her as my teacher. SHE IS THE BEST TEACHER EVER. by your loving student Becca.

Eliza Berglund Posted over a year ago

i wish Mrs. Kelly deserved to win because she is so talented,funny she is great teaching school and the kid at pleasant hill alimentary we are all hoping that she will win we can use the money for the school and the play ground it will be so helpful and will be so amazing she is so sportive for every one and she is very social and not quite she is the best teacher you can have that is why i think she should win

Grace Posted over a year ago

Mrs kelly is awesome teacher and she also very funny and talented and also very caring and I Hope win the money for the school and she also very honest and very nice so I hope we get some cooler Equiment.

riley james Posted over a year ago

Ms.Kelly is a amazing teacher and lets us do all kinds of stuff like do robots and buys us class pets and all kinds of great stuff.She buys presents for Christmas.She also have extra recess,and she give us every thing we want.That is why she is a AMAZING teacher!!!!!

Liana Huynh Posted over a year ago

I wish Mrs. Kelly will win so she can get the money for our school so we can get a better playground and she is a awesome teacher she can help you when your stuck and she is talented, funny, and is very of caring so try to vote for her so she can help our school get more students and let the students have more fun on a new playground and we could have a fun raiser so we can get a bigger and better playground. So please vote Mrs. Kelly so all the kids at pleasant hill elementary school will be more happy then they already are about Mrs.Kelly

Ella kono Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kelly is so nice i think that i am lucky to have her as a teacher!\

gabriella Posted over a year ago

she is is my teacher and the best #I love her . sorry ,and i like her as my fav teacher love gabby . L

luca Posted over a year ago

hello ms.Kelly

olivia Posted over a year ago

mrs.kelly is a awesome teacher and she is fun very smart and she gives us alot of good caring and she funny a little. she talented too.

cash Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kelly is the best teacher in whole wide world she has cool pets

jensson Posted over a year ago

best teacher ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

carson Posted over a year ago

you are the best teacher ever.

jackson burns Posted over a year ago

shes a great teacher also really fun also she learned a lot so if you get her you will learn alot

cash Posted over a year ago

HI Mrs.kelly

Jake Posted over a year ago

Sarah has a great impact on the children's lives in which she instructs every day! We are very lucky to have educational leader's like Sarah in school system.

Lisa Newton Posted over a year ago

I have the honor of having a child in Mrs. Kelly’s class. My daughter truly enjoys everyday at school. All the extras that come with being in Mrs. Kelly’s class are awesome. STEM activities are among my daughters favorite. I know from friends that also have 4th graders at other schools activities like STEM are extra, or after-school activities. Mrs Kelly has made it a priority to have this in her class during school hours! I can also tell you as a parent, I really enjoy walking into Mrs.Kelly’s classroom. It is very obvious she has gone above and beyond to make her classroom a welcoming area for student to learn and thrive! I feel like I am at home instead of at school when I walk in her room. I also appreciate the class pets. It is teaching children about being responsible for other things/objects, but it has also started to prepare them for the cycle of life(one of the pets passed away this school year). Keep up the awesome work!

Joshua Waldrep Posted over a year ago

This nomination couldn't go to a better person. It really takes a special teacher to reach children on multiple levels and keep them engaged and focused. Keep on succeeding, Sarah! So very proud of all your accomplishments.

Kari Warren Posted over a year ago

Though my children have not had her as a teacher, I am familiar with Mrs. Kelly due to her very outgoing and fun personailty. She is very present at the school and PTO. I see her encouraging and engaging all students during activities such field day, class assemblies, school concerts, etc. She always has a smile on her face and makes sure to say hello to everyone she sees. She sets a great example. Even though she has not had my children in her class, she knows all 3 of them by name and always greets them or interacts with them in some way. They love Mrs. Kelly, and hey, children know best!

Kris Flater Posted over a year ago

Sarah is always finding new ways to engage all of her students in new and exciting ways to learn. She is a wonderful advocate for our students and is such a joy to work with.

Ryan Martinson Posted over a year ago

She connects with all students and is a joy to be around.

Jacki Carlson Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kelly is an amazing teacher and mentor for our students at Pleasant Hill Elementary. My child has not reached the 4th grade yet but we have had many opportunities to witness Ms. Kelly's love for her job and her students. I can only hope that my child gets the privilege of having Ms. Kelly for her 4th grade teacher. Ms. Kelly is a great choice for LifeChanger of the Year!!

Ashley Reddish Posted over a year ago

I’m not at all surprised to hear of the nomination. Congrats Ms. Kelly, well deserved!

Sara Kurovski Posted over a year ago

As a mother of a student at Ms. Kelly’s elementary school - and the Mayor of Pleasant Hill; it is an incredible honor to support Ms. Kelly and her efforts. Molding young minds and showing them the paths and opportunities within STEAM are critically important. To have a champion of this caliber in the school and in our community, is invaluable. Please name her the Lifechanger of the Year! She is the right choice! With Respect - Mayor Sara Kurovski

Amanda Genzen Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kelly is a great teacher and all around a great person. She is always involved in student activities outside the classroom even participating in the talent shows. I honestly couldn’t tell you a time that I didn’t see a smile on her sweet face. My daughter wasn’t fortunate enough to be in her class but expressed in so many occasions that she wished she was. So not only does Ms. Kelly influence children inside her classroom but outside the class as well. I think for a parent who didn’t get the privilege of her teaching her child but still noticed how amazing she is, is a winner in my book. Keep it up Ms. Kelly!

Layne Sasser Posted over a year ago

I’m so very proud of Sarah! I am not at all surprised to read of this honor, as she has always been creative, determined, genuine, and devoted to her choices. Congratulations! Your students are so lucky!

Pam Schneller Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kelly has always gone the extra mile for others. She gives of herself and celebrates the achievements of others with a joyful heart.

Delores Adkins (McCreery) Posted over a year ago

I am so proud of Sarah. She has always put her whole heart into things she worked on.

Bridget Posted over a year ago

My child didn't have Ms. Kelly as a teacher. She was my son's tutor. She helped us in getting us pointed in the right direction at getting my child the best help he needed. There were programs that I have never heard of until her. She helped ease my pain of watching my child struggle and not know what to do to help. We had tried what we thought was everything. She brought to light what was wrong with him and helped him tremendously. My child loved going to the tutoring sessions and would ask when he would get to go next. I saw a spark in my child that I never seen before he met her when it came to learning. I thank her from the bottom of my heart because I truly believe if we wouldn't have found her, we could still be struggling to find answers and the help he needs.

Ramona Richards Posted over a year ago

I'm not surprised by this nomination, which is well earned and well deserved. I've known Sarah since she was eleven, and I've watched her grow from a curious and determined young girl into an engaged and devoted young woman. Her deep commitment to her students shines in everything she does, and her problem-solving skills are unparalleled. When it comes to her students, "No," is not a legitimate answer, and I've known her to involve people from around the world (including some of my friends in Australia) to achieve her objectives. She is completely committed to seeing her students grow and thrive, becoming the best they can be, not only for their own goals but also as productive citizens in their communities. Bottom line: she is a remarkable teacher who influences everyone around her.

Susan Gambrell Posted over a year ago

I can tell from her post she is a very dedicated teacher always working hard for her students wanting the.best for her students.

Terrie Price Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kelly works hard for all students and has reached out to bring in STEM opportunities into her classroom. Mrs. Kelly writes grants and actively seeks ways to provide the special learning opportunities for our school and her class! Kudos, Mrs. Kelly!