LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Karen Warren

Position: Pre-School/Pre-K Special Education Teacher
School: Carrollton Elementary School
School District: Carrollton City Schools
City, State: Carrollton, GA

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Karen Warren was nominated by her colleague, Taylor Sarratt.

Like many teachers, Ms. Warren's desire to become a teacher was influenced by her own teachers in school. She recalls her elementary school years and the various ways in which teachers would motivate her to read and learn. It was her 8th grade Exploratory Class, however, that confirmed her desire to choose teaching as a career. During that year, Ms. Warren was paired with a third grade teacher whom she shadowed and observed as part of her class assignment. After a week of observing reading groups, she was given the opportunity to teach her most challenged group of readers. It was while working with the group that Ms. Warren realized everyone had the ability to learn, but the process may be different. The learning obstacles each child faced tugged at her heart, and it was her exposure to teaching that year that fostered her desire to enter the field of Special Education. 

Ms. Warren fondly remembers all the teachers that influenced her path were ones that made their students feel accepted. They exposed them to the joys of learning and provided experiences that enriched their lives. These role models also involved themselves with the families of their students- something Ms. Warren does on a daily basis. She considers her student's parents to be the most important people on their child's academic team. She does not take lightly the trust that parents put in her to keep their child safe and to develop an educational plan as unique as their child. Ms. Warren believes her greatest contribution as a teacher is to treat each student as if they are her own and invite their parents to join in their educational journey. 

Her success is evident in the leadership roles and awards she has been bestowed with during her teaching career. She was selected as the CES Teacher of the year for 2012-2013 and 2017-2018 and has also received the CES Oustanding Faculty Member Award. She is the In-School Coordinator for Pre-School/Pre-K and the Special Education Team Leader. Ms. Warren has also served as a mentor for new teachers for 8 years. 

When she first began teaching, she focused her efforts on academic goals for her students. When those goals were not met, she excused the lack of progress to the student's home environment. She realized she must not allow that excuse to determine her student's success, so she began a style of teaching centered around developing relationships. She began investing in her student's families, valuing parents as a partner to develop a relationship of trust. This opened up new avenues to teach and create change for her students. It provided guidance for young families to change some of their own circumstances in order to affect the quality of life they provide for their children.

"Whether she spends an afternoon working with a parent on a child's toilet training or running by a parent's work on their break to hold an impromptu conference, she has witnessed parents becoming empowered to continue their own education which has led to opportunities they never imagined for themselves," Sarratt said. "Karen states that a child's home environment is one variable that has been taught is out of our control. However, she portrays the words of Mahatma Ghandi 'Be the change you wish to see,' on a daily basis. Because of this, she not only changes the lives of her students, but is a positive force in her school and the broader teaching community."



Comments (18)


Amy Lanier Posted over a year ago

Karen is a great teacher and person! She goes above and beyond for her students and their families. As a new employee to the system, she has been so supportive and willing to help in any way. We are very lucky to have her at Carrollton Elementary!

Laurie Lee Posted over a year ago

Karen Warren is definitely deserving of this award. She has an enormous heart for both her students and their families. She focuses not only on academic growth for her students, but also social and emotional growth. She works tirelessly to problem solve and find the best individual accommodations for her students. She is a source of strength and guidance for the families as well. It can be overwhelming when parents are informed their child needs additional educational resources. Karen offers knowledge, support, strength, and hope in this exact circumstance. She is not only a champion for her students, but also their families.

Lisanne Denmon Posted over a year ago

Karen has been my mentor teacher this year as I am new to this system. She is the most compassionate person I have ever met. Karen gives so much of herself to everyone that she works with. She takes her job very seriously and does what ever it takes to help the students she works with reach their highest potential. Karen goes to student home as much as needed to partner with parents/caregivers to provided support and education. She talks to parents via phone as much as needed to support them. Karen works with teachers in the community to provide education and support in the classroom with students that she works with. She is always has time for co-workers with they have questions and need support. Karen has a true gift in touching peoples lives. She doesn't like to be in the spot light but she so deserves to be so that others can learn from her.

Shanon Melson Posted over a year ago

I first met Karen years ago when I taught her son David as a 4th grader. He was an amazing kid, and Karen was an equally amazing mom. She was always there for not only David but all of my students and myself. She gave of her time and financially to make sure we always had anything we needed to have a successful, productive year. Her kindness has always stood out. Now we are colleagues and you can tell just by seeing the warmness in her smile and eyes that she is still going and giving above and beyond to help her students and anyone that needs her on a daily basis, without expecting anything in return. Karen is a life changer just by the example of kindness and giving she exhibits always.

Kristie Poor Posted over a year ago

Carrollton Elementary is so blessed to have Karen at our school. Her knowledge of how to teach and support her students is amazing, and it is clear that she loves the work she does. Teaching is truly a calling, and without a doubt Karen has been called to the work she does daily.

April Butler Posted over a year ago

Karen is an amazing teacher who truly loves each and every one of her students. She goes above and beyond to help her students to succeed. She invests in their lives and well as the lives of the families. Whether it is teaching the children or taking a meal to the family- Karen has changed so many young lives for the better.

Randy Weems Posted over a year ago

Karen Warren is a person who shows respect and grace to all people. She is a hardworking educator. She is a contact for the Carrollton City Schools in the community. She is a great person to be the face and spirit of the school system. She is well organized and puts in many hours over the minimum to serve her students and families. I know her from our church, Tabernacle Baptist Church. She has a smile on her face and is so encouraging to all the congregants. She has served in many leadership in the church. Finally, she has raised three fine boys who are shining examples of the new generation. They are solid citizens in their various communities. Her husband,Ttim, is an outstanding leader in civic and charitable organizations.

Susan Weems Posted over a year ago

Karen is definitely a life changer for students, families and staff that she works with at Carrollton Elementary. For Karen, her work with special needs children and their families is not a "job" but a calling. Karen wants every child to be successful and reach her or his full potential. Karen works with students in the school setting, at day cares, at Head Start programs, and even goes to the students' homes to help the families. Karen has many years of experience but continues to increase her knowledge and skills by attending workshops and meetings that directly impact the students she teaches. Many lives, young and old, have been changed for the better thanks to Karen's dedication!

Lisa Fowlkes Posted over a year ago

Karen Warren is a great teacher and mentor. She is incredibly kind and patient. She always has something positive and encouraging to say to her students and the adults that she works with.

Kara Chambliss Posted over a year ago

You have our vote!!! You've helped change all of our lives forever ??

Montrell McClendon Posted over a year ago

She goes beyond the call of duty to take care of our students. She is welcoming and takes care of our parents as well.

Karen Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Warren is a a tremendous support for parents who are facing life changing news. She provides the most respectful and kind hearted guidance when addressing the needs of children as young as 2 and 3 years of age. Many times she is the first to inform parents of the needs their child has. She delivers the news along with ways to help with amazing compassion. Mrs. Warren is a blessing!

Karen Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Warren is a a tremendous support for parents who are facing life changing news. She provides the most respectful and kind hearted guidance when addressing the needs of children as young as 2 and 3 years of age. Many times she is the first to inform parents of the needs their child has. She delivers the news along with ways to help with amazing compassion. Mrs. Warren is a blessing!

Kecia Thomas Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Warren works hard with her students. She is a wonderful teacher.

Kimberly Rivers Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Warren not only changes the lives of the kids she serves, she also changes the lives of the teachers. She makes you want to be a better teacher and goes above and beyond to assist in any way possible. She takes the time to get to know you on a personal level and becomes a friend. When it comes to the kids she serves, Mrs. Warren gives her all to those kids and their families. She will do everything in her power to make sure the child has all that they need to be both academically and personally successful.

Jovita Posted over a year ago

Karen is wonderful when i child was at CES she helped change my son.

Alex Dyer Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Karen deserves the honor of being the life changer of the year. I've worked with Mrs. Karen with a student who has Autism and her heart shows through her work. She genuinely believes in the kids that she works with and wants to see them succeed. Since working with her I have seen the student mentioned above accomplish task that were once impossible or difficult to accomplish. It's because of Mrs. Karen that I've realized that I have a love for kids with learning disabilities.

Jodi Ford Posted over a year ago

Karen Warren is an amazing teacher and mentor. I worked with her as a Paraprofessional for 5 years before becoming a teacher of my own classroom. She is patient with both students and coworkers as she guides them toward independence. I am honored to have worked side by side with her.