LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Diane Phelps

Position: Social Worker
School: Fairmount Primary Center
School District: Highlands School District
City, State: Brackenridge, PA

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Diane Phelps was nominated by her principal, Heather Bigney.

Mrs. Phelps is the embodiment of making a beneficial difference in the lives of students. Upon meeting students for the first time, Mrs. Phelps introduces herself as “Mrs. Phelps helps.” She organizes gift drives at Christmas, food distribution for the Love in a Backpack program, counsels students and staff in need, takes sick students home, and works well beyond the scope of a school day to ensure student needs are being met.

Mrs. Phelps is a resource for teachers with difficult students in their class and will check in with any staff member experiencing stress. She also follows up with every conversation with a parent or child, and typically stays at work until 7:00 PM to make sure others' needs are met. This behavior fosters and models her school's focus of caring for everyone who enters. Mrs. Phelps leads the way for her school.

Mrs. Phelps also services Fawn Primary Center, assisting teachers and principals from both buildings. She coordinates Red Ribbon Week and is actively involved in creating activities for The Great Kindness Challenge. She creates and shares data, projects and activities for all classrooms to complete.

"Her work is prompt and outstanding," Bigney said. "Mrs. Phelps is a member of our building’s student assistance team; she helps remove barriers to learning in any way possible. Through this team, she has assisted students and families with avoiding homeless situations. She's also diligent about monitoring and maintaining student attendance, making contracts and plans to improve and increase attendance for students displaying difficulty in that area. She is involved in almost every facet of student life."

"Her evaluations reflect her work ethic for the 22 years she has serviced our district," Bigney continued. "Mrs. Phelps is knowledgeable and incredibly skilled. She shares her knowledge to enhance the performance of new social workers in the district, as well as any and all current staff. She has mentored countless interns and new hires, thus creating a quality legacy of service for Highlands School District."

Mrs. Phelps expects nothing but the best from herself and her team. With her assistance, the school has raised money for multiple families’ needs and helped families acquire assistance from outside agencies. Her team has made difficult calls to families when a student’s well-being was in danger, conducted home-visits to obtain parent permission for multi-disciplinary testing, assisted high school students with service projects, and is a source of support to both buildings.

"Through all of this, confidentiality remains intact, deadlines are met, and Mrs. Phelps never asks for compensation for the time she spends above and beyond," Bigney said. "She is simply remarkable!"

Mrs. Phelps has also established relationships outside of the school. She works with multiple outside agencies that offer assistance to students and families. These resources include area food banks, churches, homeless and domestic abuse shelters and agencies who offer mental health assistance and counseling. Her relationships with these organizations allow her to deliver quick, accurate programs to help the entire family unit.

"Mrs. Phelps often speaks of home-visits where parents remember her kindness, support and the difference she made in their lives," Bigney said. "She has built relationships that have lasted generations! We at Fairmount Primary Center, and Highlands School District, are blessed to have Mrs. Phelps; she truly is a LifeChanger every day."



Comments (67)


Sarah Ludwig Posted over a year ago

Mrs Phelps, is the most beautiful person inside and out. I was lucky enough to have her by my side when I was going threw the toughest patches in life. She goes above and beyond and always have, and knowing her she will continue to do so until she’s ready to retire. Any family, child, or staff, that works with her is beyond blessed. She does an amazing job at what she does on a day to day basis. I was with her when her office was the size of an walk in closet, and I will always cheer her on. I don’t know anyone who would be a better candidate to receive this award. Mrs Phelps always made sure every child feel loved, safe, and made sure they have food in there stomach and proper clothing to stay warm. Thanks Mrs Phelps for everything you’ve done for me, and for every child youve had since Heights!! You deserve this award!!

William Celko Posted over a year ago

Phelps Helps! This is the slogan used as a child knows where to go when they need something. I truly can't think of anyone more deserving. Mrs. Phelps goes above and beyond her duties to make sure our children's needs are met as well as making sure the staff and everyone she works with is at their best. Truly, she is the most caring person and the biggest asset to our district! Please vote for Diane Phelps as she is most definitely a LifeChanger!

Lindsay O'Donnell Posted over a year ago

I have the honor of not only working with Diane but sharing an office with her. I see the amount of time, energy and passion she puts into every day's adventures and challenges and she inspires me everyday! She always puts our students, families and staff members first...always!! She has an incredible way of making all of our students feel safe and important. There are always students at our door looking to see Diane for a simple smile, hug or to talk to her so they are able to face whatever challenges they may be having that day. She is such a blessing to all who know her and is the most deserving person of this award!

Amy Posted over a year ago

Diane is the most AMAZING, caring, and passionate person you will meet. She does everything possible and more for the students in my school district. She deserves this recognition!

Phil Phelps Posted over a year ago

There is no one more deserving of this recognition!! There is no one with a louder voice for those who can't be heard. Her moral courage is unrivaled. Her selflessness is so characteristic, her giving often goes unnoticed. A generation of students have benefited from her warmth and kindness.

Kristine Hrivnak Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is an exemplary human being who goes above and beyond to help every individual student and family. She is well-deserving of this honor.

Kristen Posted over a year ago

Diane is an inspiration to everyone here at Highlands. Her heart is even bigger than her smile and her capacity for compassion is remarkable. I am truly blessed to work with such a wonderful giving person.

Danielle Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is truly amazing! She will go out of her way to help anyone she meets, no matter how big or small. It has been an honor to work alongside her and see all the lives she has changed in her years at Highlands.

Jennifer Snyder Posted over a year ago

Diane is absolutely amazing! We are so lucky to have her. Her support and caring of the staff and students goes above and beyond.

Jennifer Snyder Posted over a year ago

Diane is absolutely amazing! We are so lucky to have her. Her support and caring of the staff and students goes above and beyond.

Candice Posted over a year ago

She is a wonderful person that does so much for so many!!

Kate Posted over a year ago

Mrs Phelps changes lives one small heartbeat at a time and her effectiveness ripples out in massive waves to the families, teachers, staff and community. Even her smallest victories are instrumental in affecting great change!

Lisa Clowes Posted over a year ago

She is an amazing person always has a smile on her face and she is so kind .

Cara Robertson Posted over a year ago

Wonderful part of our Highlands family! Very deserving of this recognition!!

Meghan Posted over a year ago

I’ve been out of high school for 10 years and still remember how wonderful a person Mrs Phelps is!! She is more than deserving of this recognition.

Joan rivers Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is an amazing woman. She goes above and beyond for so many kids. She has helped my daughter in more ways than one and still continues to ask about her even tho she isn't in the primary center any more. There isn't anyone more deserving than mrs. Phelps.

Jen Kosior Posted over a year ago

Diane is one the most caring people I have ever worked with. She cares for each and every student and family. She truly deserves this award. We are lucky to have her at Highlands!

Nancy davis Posted over a year ago

Diane is a fantastic person that puts her whole heart into her job. Highlands is lucky to have her

Sharon Fennell Posted over a year ago

I have met with Mrs. Phelps for numerous occasions within the district for PTO matters and community outreach. She has been nothing but helpful with any questions or matters we had. I have one word to describe Diane... GENUINE!!!! She contains a genuine heart, a genuine personality and a genuine soul. She has been a guardian angel to 100's of children during her 22 year career. Please consider rewarding her with all her hard work w/ this award.

Colleen Spicer Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is an amazing lady. She is loving and caring with her students and everyone she meets. She deserves to win.

Lucille Abellonio Ed.D. Posted over a year ago

I remember when the district hired Diane and her early years in the position. She was always outstanding and went to great lengths to help the students and families. She is extremely dedicated and passionate about her job!

Kim Locke Posted over a year ago

My mom is the most selfless person I know. She would do almost anything to help one of her students. Please consider honoring her selfless service with this award.

Nicole Jones Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is incredible and goes above and beyond! Just 1 example of so many, she gave my daughter her own lunch one day!!!! She is more than deserving of this award!!!!

Dorothy Croket Posted over a year ago

Diane is a one of the Most Wonderful Kindest Caring people I know!! Not only as a women who cares for everyone but a friend who also helped my sons and I through some pretty difficult situations! I worked with Diane and both my boys went to Fairmount ! She deserves to be recognized and honored !!

Deborah Cordera Posted over a year ago

Diane has always been very dedicated to students and everyone she works with. She truly deserves this award for all her hard work!

Melissa Klug Posted over a year ago

Diane is an amazing person. She is absolutely a Lifechanger. Diane has a heart of gold. I have personally witnessed her handling the most difficult situations with compassion and grace. She greets each child with a heartfelt smile, and drops everything for someone in need.

Kim griffith Posted over a year ago

I am an evening custodian who starts my shift at 4:00. Mrs Phelps puts in countless hours and many evenings looks tired after a long day. She still has time for you when the dinner hour has long passed to say "How are you?" She actually asks you with concern & compassion for everyone she meets & the lives she touches....Highlands is blessed to have such a wonderful person.

Janet McCurdy Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps works tirelessly with students, families and staff. She has developed life long relationships with students, families and staff throughout the district and within the community. She is highly respected by all who know her. Highlands is so blessed to have her in their schools. She deserves this award because she truly is a “Life Changer!”

Traci Polliard Posted over a year ago

Mrs Phelps helps is what I hear from my daughter! This is so true! She has helped in so many ways! We are truly blessed to have her in our school district! She always makes time and has a beautiful warming smile! My vote is for Mrs Phelps HELPS!!!

Samantha Polcsak Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is so deserving of this. I’m 28 and still remember and appreciate the impact she made on my life in elementary school.

Karen King Posted over a year ago

Diane has been a life changer within Highlands School District from the day she said "yes" to employment. I was privileged to work with her for more than 20 years. Though I am retired now, I remember that Diane was always the first to work and the last to leave. Her love for children and her advocacy for them is unmatched. I can recall the time when she sat outside a building, watching over a young boy until one of his parents got home (late in the evening). And I remember helping her take a child home when he was too upset to ride the bus. I know there were many times when she took a child home who was too sick to ride the bus and whose parents did not have a car. HSD could never compensate Diane adequately for her worth in the lives of the children and families she touches., Her job is a "calling" not merely a career. I wholeheartedly endorse her nomination for this honor.

Paula Corbett Posted over a year ago

Diane is an amazing person. She goes above and beyond to help the students. No matter how hard the day is, Diane is always smiling and willing to offer a helping hand. Diane deserves and is a worthy candidate of this award!

Kara Walter Posted over a year ago

Diane is amazing. I wouldn’t be able to teach my kids if it weren’t for her. She tends to their emotional well being so that I can attend to their educational needs. Every student and staff member is a better person because of Mrs Phelps. She works tirelessly day in and day out to help our students, their families, and our community. We love her!!

Becky Posted over a year ago

The students Diane works with are changed for the better. They know when they come to school they are loved and safe. She doesn’t just clock in and out. She works after school hours to help her kids. Just speaking with her, you can see her kindness and caring.

Kerri Febinger Posted over a year ago

She had helped my family And I so much!! Good woman big heart!! ??

Carly Hines Posted over a year ago

Diane is one the most caring and selfless person I know. Our students are her main priority at all times. She truly connects school and home for our students and their families. She works endless hours and wears numerous hats through not only the school day but on evenings and weekends. She takes pride in what she does and we are so lucky to have her in our schools.

Cherie Krivak Posted over a year ago

My kids loved her. She always has a smile for everyone. Two of my daughters got to be Bigs when she ran the BBBS program. She is amazing.

E J Ratliff Posted over a year ago

She goes above and beyond for anyone who needs her assistance.

Terri Posted over a year ago

If anyone deserves this, it is Diane. She is ALWAYS willing to help anyone. Students, staff, anyone. I have personally sought her out many times!

Leslie Smith Posted over a year ago

Mrs Phelps is one of tge most giving person I have ever had the pleasure working with! She not only touches the lives of the children she works with daily but always has time for the adults around her. I could not think of another person more worthy of yhis honor!

Lindsay crissman Posted over a year ago

Mrs phelps is a very good woman she helped me and my brothers and now she helps my kids. My look forward to seeing her. She does the best for the kids and there familys

Lauri Karlo Posted over a year ago

I have known Diane for well over 20 years and had the privilege of working with her for 12 of those years! She is one of the most compassionate, caring and giving person I know and is very deserving of this award!!

Rachel Chester Posted over a year ago

Diane is the most dedicated social worker. She truly cares for her students and always tries to make a difference in their lives. Diane is the most compassionate and caring person professionally and personally. She truly deserves this award!

Carol Petrulak Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps epitomizes the term "dedicated processional." In her role as social worker, she rises to the needs of every child, offering her outstanding expertise any time of the day or night. The students, parents, staff, and the surrounding school community, are cognizant of Diane's profound passion for not only helping children and their families, but her ongoing support to improve their situation.Mrs. Phelps not only provides support, she truly listens to others in need. Her goal is to support, guide, nurture, and nudge each of her charges towards their individual goal posts. Diane is truly deserving of this recognition.

Joelene Hess Posted over a year ago

Diane is a very dedicated and compassionate individual. She is very much deserving of this award. She has been helping students and families for a very long time. Good luck to you Diane.

Megan zendarski Posted over a year ago

I had the honor of working with her in the past and she worked wonders each day. She’s loving, knowledgeable, compassionate and most deserving of this award!

Kristen Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps Helps!!! She is so deserving of this nomination and award!!

Renee Kuhns Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is without a doubt the most giving, hard working and collaborative staff member I've had the pleasure to work with in the Highlands School District. She goes above and beyond her call of duty on a daily basis. The rapport she builds with the students and teachers is remarkable. She helps build character and promotes positive social skills in each child. I had the luck to work with her at Heights Elementary, Fairmont and Fawn Primary Centers for almost 12 years. Now I am honored to work with her again doing community outreach services through Center United Methodist Church. She dilligently works with us on "Blessings in a Backpack" to provide a weekend of food for a dozen students that would probably go without eating if it wasn't for HER. For years she has been pulled in many directions and keeps working with a smile. She always puts the students' needs first. No one deserves this award more than Diane Phelps!

Ashley Gaughan Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is so the most deserving of this award! She truly is one of the most kind, caring, genuine, and helpful educators I have worked with. She impacts not only students and families in the district, but other educators in the district, as well. She is always willing to give a lending hand and puts others needs before her in the course of the day. Even as a substitute and long term substitute in her building she always made sure I needed everything to be successful in the classroom and assisted with multiple students in need. Mrs. Phelps is the most deserving of this award!!

Mary Ann Mangini Posted over a year ago

I have known Mrs. Phelps for most of my 36 years. She is the most thoughtful, selfless woman. She radiates kindness and compassion. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award.

EJ Ratliff Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is an amazing human being. She was my sons' grief counselor years ago. She is very helpful, kind, and caring.

Reneé Malta Posted over a year ago

Well deserved! Mrs. Phelps is a wonderful person that helps so many children.

Beverly Bogan Posted over a year ago

I worked with Diane Phelps and know what a caring and compassionate person she is. She works beyond the school day/year to do as much as is humanly possible to help all the children in the district. As a retired teacher, I still keep in contact with Diane at the holidays. She is the person who identifies children for people in my church to buy gifts for at Christmas, and makes sure each child identified gets their gifts. Diane not only covers children in the primary grades with whom she works, but their brothers and sisters as well. Diane Phelps is very deserving of this award.

She'ri Smith Posted over a year ago

Diane is so deserving if this award! One of the kindest and most compassionate women I have ever had the honor of working with.

Misty Chybrzynski Posted over a year ago

Mrs Phelps is dedicated to not only finding solutions for our students but also workable strategies for their families outside of normal school hours. She’s dedicated, professional and an amazing woman!

Bridget Seery Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is an incredibly caring and compassionate member of our Fawn Family. Her dedication deserves this accolade.

Samantha Perlik Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is kind-hearted and truly a gift to the children and adults she comes in contact with each day.

Melissa Klug Posted over a year ago

Diane is an amazing person. She is absolutely a Lifechanger. Diane has a heart of gold. I have personally witnessed her handling the most difficult situations with compassion and grace. She greets each child with a heartfelt smile, and drops everything for someone in need.

Linda Gold Posted over a year ago

Diane is the hardest worker that I have ever met. I often tease her that she needs to get some roller skates, because she is constantly on the move. Diane has helped so many students and their families in our district. She truly cares about each and every one, and stay well beyond the school hours to help them in whatever way that she can. Diane is a true Life Changer. I can't think of anybody who could possibly be more deserving of this award.

Nathan Ehrlich Posted over a year ago

Diane goes above and beyond to do anything possible to help all children! She is the BEST. I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award! Phelps helps!

Amy Grove Posted over a year ago

My first encounter with Mrs. Phelps was years ago when my own children were in elementary school. My family had been in a car accident, and my husband sustained an injury that required brief hospitalization.. Mrs. Phelps called to find out if there was anything she could do for us. I was touched by her kindness, concern, and compassion. She probably doesn't even remember that phone call, but I never forgot it! Many years later, I now have the privilege of working with Mrs. Phelps. I've witnessed her tireless dedication to seeing that needs are met for countless children and families. She makes a difference in ways these children and families will never forget. Students at Fairmount are lucky to have such a wonderful advocate! Phelps helps!

Amy Yeckel Posted over a year ago

Diane has the biggest, kindest heart of anyone I know. She loves these kids greatly and does everything in her power to help children. She's the BEST!!!! Phelps helps

Roger Posted over a year ago

She is very deserving of this award!!!!

Lenny Zucco Posted over a year ago

Diane is unequivocally one of the most impactful colleagues I have ever worked with during my career as an educator. This holds true for not only when she is working with children and families, but also as a professional colleague and her fervent mindset in doing what is best for others at all times. Her passionate drive consumes her daily, and it is quite evident from the successful relationships she has formed, the assistance she provides to others, and the never ending care and comfort that exudes from her, daily. Diane is genuine, extremely knowledgeable, diligent, and highly effective to all challenges set before her. Diane is highly respected by the colleagues she works with daily, outside professional representatives, and also by the community she serves so devotedly. To me, she is the epitome of what it means to be a 'Life Changer', and I can think of no person more deserving, or representative, of this award.

Jennifer Goldberg Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is MOST DESERVING of this recognition! Her nomination says it all -- she truly embodies the definition of "helps". She continually goes above and beyond for our students, staff and district. Please consider Mrs. Phelps for the LifeChanger of the Year Award - no one deserves it more!

Andrew Lynch Posted over a year ago

Diane Phelps is truly one of the most compassionate, understanding, and helpful people that I have ever met in my life time. The caring that she demonstrates to the students in the school district is remarkable to see on a daily basis. She can regularly be seen hugging, talking with, and comforting children. Every time that I walk by her office, she is engaging with a student in some way. The children absolutely adore her and are all smiles when Ms. Phelps is around. I feel that their is no better educator, let alone a better person. to receive this distinguished award than Ms. Diane Phelps.

Heather Bigney Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Phelps is an incredible person and an amazing social worker. She is relentless in her passion of helping children and families