LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Jeanne Paff

Position: First Grade Teacher
School: Horace Mann Elementary School
School District: Huntington County Community School Corporation
City, State: Huntington, IN

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Jeanne Paff was nominated by her colleague, Tabatha Lisnicchia.

Mrs. Paff has demonstrated her dedication to making a beneficial difference, not only in the lives of her students, but in the lives of others. During the 2017-18 school year, she taught at Lancaster Elementary School, which closed that year due to redistricting. Lancaster's principal challenged the staff to do something with their classes to leave a legacy behind. Mrs. Paff, along with her students, definitely left a legacy. 

After Mrs. Paff read The Water Princess by Susan Verde and the Georgia Badiel Foundation to her class, an amazing legacy blossomed for her class and the Lancaster community.  After reading this book, Mrs. Paff’s Busy Bees realized that there are children in Africa who do not have clean water.  In fact, they walk miles to get dirty water. The students decided to take the initiative to help, and in just two months, they raised over $11,000 to build a well in Burkina Faso. 

Lancaster Elementary School’s Legacy of Love will live on in Burkina Faso, and 3,000 people will now have access to clean water.  Mrs. Paff supported and inspired her students in such a way that they took this quote to heart:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Mrs. Paff teaches, models and reinforces the use of LIFESKILLS and Lifelong Guidelines with her students and other students and staff in her building. She is very respectful of students and their needs at all times.

Additionally, Mrs. Paff is actively involved in attending trainings and sharing what she has learned with staff.  This is especially evident in the area of technology. Over the last several years, her district has rolled out many expectations in the area of technology as they transitioned to one-to-one.  Mrs. Paff was more than willing to support her colleagues without any additional compensation. This was a very time-consuming level of support for staff.

"Our staff really appreciates how Mrs. Paff goes out of her way to make sure we have ongoing collaborations regarding the progress and needs of students, not just in her classroom, but throughout the school," said Lisnicchia. "She truly is a team player."

Mrs. Paff has also taken the initiative to write many grants to support student learning and to improve her school. She is a mentor to other teachers in her building, and she also invites cadet teachers, student teachers, parents and community members into her classroom.                                                                                      

"A distinctive quality that stands out is Mrs. Paff’s commitment to providing engaging real-life opportunities for students to learn," said Lisnicchia. "This is what helps develop the love of learning that I have witnessed in her classroom year after year.



Comments (9)


Melinda Otwinowski Posted 10 months ago

I had the privilege of working with Jeanne last year at Lancaster Elementary where I was her principal. Jeanne went above and beyond to help both students and staff grow and achieve in so many different ways. She was always so selfless and willing to help anyone in need. Her Africa Well Legacy Project was a true inspiration. I will never forget how it lifted our spirits even in the midst of the sadness of closing our great school after 50 years. Jeanne is so deserving of this award. Not only did she change the lives of our students and staff, but she also has made a difference in the lives of the thousands of people in Africa who now have access to clean water. I’m very proud of her.

Karen Rice Posted 10 months ago

Jeanne is like a sister to me. We have share a lot throw out the last 10 year's. We have raised kids together and had lots of party's.

Shanna L. Vatter Posted 10 months ago

Mrs. Paff was my son's first grade teacher several years ago. He is high ability and she took the extra time to teach him new things. I adore how much she cares for each child. I am extremely grateful that she is a part of his life <3

Tim Allen Posted 10 months ago

Congratulations Jeanne! You are so deserving of the recognition and honor of this nomination. Well Done!

Linda G Willard Posted 10 months ago

Jeanne is a life - long friend. We have cried together, had boys together, and walked many miles together. She has been a support to me when I needed it most. Thank you for being the friend that sticks by me no matter what!

Jennifer Posted 10 months ago

Mrs. Paff is such an amazing teacher and person. Her desire to gain more knowledge about all areas of education and to spread that knowledge is astounding. She not only cares about helping her students gain an education but she strives to help them become good people who care about those around them and even those they have never met. I'm so grateful for all the time and energy she put into the Water for Africa project last year. She was able to get a group of 1st graders to care so deeply for something that they would tell everyone about it and ask them to make a donation. Our family will forever be changed because of this project.

Shelly Melchi Posted 10 months ago

I am proud to call Jeanne my friend. She taught my nephew a few years ago and he still considers her one of his very favorite teachers!! Even in her personal life, Jeanne reaches out to everyone. We met through our boys and bowling. Our youngest son and her youngest son have a wonderful relationship. Her son is just as loving and caring as she is. Not only is Jeanne a wonderful teacher, but a fantastic friend and influence on every person she meets!!

Terra Rowley Posted 10 months ago

Jeanne is an inspiration! She brought 2 of her students to speak in our church about the well project. Not only did she put incredible time and energy into this project, but she made sure the students were at the forefront of the campaign by helping them make keychains to sell, teaching them polite ways to request donations and empowering them to stand in front of large crowds to talk about their personal passion for digging that well so children an another part of the world could have clean water. $11,000 is an impressive amount for one first grade class to raise. It is because of the inspiration Jeanna gives to her students. Jeanne is also a personal inspiration to me. I have known her for 20 years and have watched her raise four generous, talented boys. One of her sons has Downs Syndrome. Jeanne has never let him or anyone around him think that he will be anything less than a talented, capable person who is and will continue to be a functional, inspiring member of our community. This is the attitude we should have toward all children, regardless of their ability level. The model she sets has provided great encouragement to me as I also raise a child with special needs. Our community is blessed to have Jeanne Paff.

Ryan Posted 10 months ago

Jeanne Paff is a highly dedicated, extremely professional teacher who goes way above and beyond for her students and the community. She starts preparing for the new school year just a week or two after school closes which shows her dedication to her students. She tries to make every day interesting and a joyful experience for her students. Jeanne also tries to instill good values in her students and a sense of community service. This was evidenced this past year when Jeanne spearheaded a truly INCREDIBLE service-learning project as an honor to her school which was consolidating with her new school. Jeanne read The Water Princess book which is about the water crisis in Africa and how people must walk hours each day to fetch water. She contacted the GEORGIE BADIEL FOUNDATION to see how much it would cost to build a new well in Burkina Faso which is what the foundation does. She was undeterred when she learned it cost ten thousand dollars and like a force of nature led a community-wide effort and raised OVER ELEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! A new well is being built to honor the school! Jeanne has been named to the Georgie Badiel Foundation's Council of Educational Advisers on a pro bono basis in recognition for her efforts at being a LIFECHANGER!