LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Dwate Strickland

Position: Special Education Teacher & Coach
School: Carrollton Elementary School
School District: Carrollton City Schools
City, State: Carrollton, GA

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Dwate Strickland was nominated by his assistant principal, Montrell McClendon.

Coach Strickland has shown great dedication to mentoring troubled students. He has great patience, and students put a lot of trust and faith in him. Students often view him as a father figure, for many of them do not have fathers at home.  He has a great reputation in his school system and is seen as a man of integrity and high moral character.



Comments (31)


Debra Hicks Posted 8 months ago

Dwate shown dedication to all his students and great dedication to troubled students. Dwate has patience and trust and the kids love him . He is a fathers figure for many of the boys at school and at home .Dwate is a man of high moral.

Jamie Sexton Posted over a year ago

Coach Strickland is an amazing guy with very high morals and ethics. He exemplifies them daily in the classroom, on the field, and in the community. He is a great role model to students of all ranges from elementary through high school. Coach Strickland is a joy to be around and I am very grateful to have him as a dear friend. Coach Strickland is very deserving of this honor and is a blessing to Carrollton City Schools.

Ryan Zaideman Posted over a year ago

Dwate is one of the most loyal, kind and hardworking persons you will ever meet. He serves as an exemplary mentor, teacher and coach to the young people he encounters. His commitment and selflessness serves as a daily reminder of how a man of high moral character an integrity should behave and carry themselves. I am very blessed to have the opportunity to work with Dwate on a daily basis. The love, time and dedication he pours into his students is incredible! I couldn't think of another person more deserving of this award.

Christian Gravett Posted over a year ago

Dwate is an awesome guy! He has trained me a lot. I knew he was a really good guy when he played Christisn music when he trained me. A couple of years ago my mom heard the music and thought it was something else but realized it was Lecrae and that made her comfortable leaving me there . All the kids love him. He’s the best person for this award.

Keith Trollinger Posted over a year ago

No doubt that Dwate is the most consistent and present mentor I have seen in a long time. I have had the privilege to watch Dwate in the classroom, on the sports field, and in his social life and he embodies these two qualities, among humility and grace as well. Like others have said, he is so patient with students. When he deals with or speaks to a student with a disciplinary issue, he speaks with a healthy balance of grace and truth to the child. He never raises his voice, he listens and is fully engaged in dealing with the heart of a student, and not their behavior. This is where Dwate is consistent and present, never coming unhinged, but always leading and speaking out of his qualities. What an incredible role model he is to this community. If not here, this community would not be the same.

Stephanie Strickland Posted over a year ago

Dwate Strickland is the definition of a life changer. I can speak from a professional and personal standpoint. I met Dwate around 6 years ago. Instantly, I knew that he was a special person. His passion and love for children was the first quality that I noticed about him. He managed an indoor sports facility that I frequented often. He would organize and plan youth lock ins and events , free of charge, and on his own time away from his busy schedule of teaching and coaching. He became a great friend and encourager for me and one that I would look to for inspiration. One time, he organized a fun day out event at the facility with his local elementary school for students with major disabilities. The kids had a blast and he never saw them having a disability. He has mentored and "fathered" many children over the years. So much that I have lost count. I can not even give him all the titles that he deserves but a few that come to mind are teacher, friend, colleague, coach, mentor, and superstar. He has shown great compassion for the toughest of situations and always finds a way to relate to ALL kids. To say I have never heard a harsh word against him is the absolute truth. He is the person I strive to be like. His positive attitude and spirit is contagious. To know him is a major blessing. He is the most patient and self-less person that I have ever met and his humbleness can not be put into words. He personally changed my life. He encouraged me to finish my degree at a later age in life and supported me the whole way through. I graduated in May of 2018 and my biggest fan was in the stands supporting me. I am blessed to have him support and encourage me on a daily basis. He took on 2 children that were not his own, and if you were to tell him they were not his, he would deny it. He is a my mentor, friend, and husband. His faith is unwavering and the reason that I am doing what I truly love, teaching! Dwate goes out of his way to prepare, plan, and help kids, of all ages and all backgrounds. I sometimes wonder when he sleeps because his constant concern is that his kids are ok!!! Although not biologically, I am pretty sure he has thousands of children if you were to ask him. :) He can find something valuable in every child that he comes in contact with. Dwate Strickland is a life changer in every person he comes in contact with, and I am the most blessed to watch his story unfold on a daily basis. I wish everyone could truly see his faith, sacrifice, and humbleness. He is a LIFE CHANGER! Team Strickland!!!

Stephanie Strickland Posted over a year ago

I can speak from both a personal and professional experience. Dwate Strickland is a life changer. I know, because he changed my life. We met around 6 years ago by working at the same indoor sports facility. I watched him with children both in the classroom, coaching, and on his own time. He organized youth lock-ins for the community, and would bring in children with major disabilities into the facility for free, on his own time, for them to have an opportunity for a fun day. When I say he has worked with a "ton of kids," I think that is a close number! At the time, I never realized just how much he was changing my own life. His faith is unwavering and his hope and positive attitude is endless. He makes me better daily, and is a wonderful father to my children, who you could never tell him they were not his own. His countless hours of time and preparation for students, athletes, and people amazes me. He is the most selfless person that I have ever met. His integrity is higher than anyone that I know and his ability to love and show compassion is that of a servant's heart. He encouraged me to finish my own degree, and I did so in May of 2018. I am now an educator, myself, teaching Special Education and I can honestly say, I have learned the most from him. He is my mentor, my friend, and my husband. His character in the community is the constant that makes our household so amazing. I could go on and on about his passion and heart for people in general, but especially his love for ALL children. He is the definition of a Life Changer and I am so blessed to get to watch his story unfold on a daily basis! TEAM STRICKLAND!!!

Jada Thomas Posted over a year ago

Dwate is character of high morale, an awesome educator with a passion for young people.

Kristi Simpson Posted over a year ago

Coach Dwate Strickand is very deserving of this award. He is an awesome teacher to some of the most fragile elementary learners within our school system. I have witnessed his dedication, drive, and love for children on a daily basis. He has also coached my own son for the past couple of years in baseball, and he is an awesome coach and mentor. He has a calm demeanor with a huge heart! He is a man of integrity, and goes above and beyond for all children. Honestly, he inspires everyone that he comes in contact with from the school to our community. He is absolutely changing lives.

Seth Caldwell Posted over a year ago

Coach Strickland goes above and beyond every day to meet the individual needs of his diverse students both educationally and emotionally. He is a great mentor to the students of our school and he pours his heart and soul into his work daily. Simply put he is an amazing man!

Sean Calhoun Posted over a year ago

Coach Strickland is a great teacher of education but most importantly he is a great mentor for life. He lives his life to help others succeed and make sure that they get the best out of themselves. Dwate can relate to all children of all walks of life and reach them in a way that most people do not have. He brings his passion and love for teaching and mentoring everyday and it is very contagious being around him. Coach Strickland makes the people around him better and that is the sign of someone very special.

Tim Criswell Posted over a year ago

Dwate Strickland is a educator who has a great influence and impact on his students and on our community. He also has a tremendous influence on the athletes he coaches on a daily basis. He changes lives everyday and all year long. He has high integrity that I have always wanted for my kids in their teachers.

Debra McPherson Posted over a year ago

Dwate has been Blessed with the ability to reach students that other may see as challenged. His gift allows him to stay focused on what God is capable of doing through him. He know All things are Possible through Christ and he uses whatever necessary to reach the students. He is genuine in his love for those students.

madison ballauf Posted over a year ago

My mom started taking me to lessons with Coach Strickland about 4 years ago. Coach helped me tremendously with softball both physically/mentally and has been a huge mentor to me spiritually off the field. If i have any issue regarding my softball skills the first person i always contact is dwate.

Shanon Melson Posted over a year ago

Dwate is one of those educators that truly enjoys children and helping them above and beyond the classroom. He is very connected to his students, and is willing to help with whatever is needed. He is always very professional and has a calming demeanor with not only his students but his coworkers, as well. I really feel honored to work along side him.

Brian Simmons Posted over a year ago

Coach Strickland is a great man or character. Everyday he tries to help students in need. Whether that is in his classroom on in the community. Coach Strickland gets guest to enter the classroom to tell of life struggles that his students can relate to. He will also organize out of school events and trips that he can deepen his bond with his students and enrich their lives. It is an honor to teach and coach with Coach Strickland.

Lyn Steed Posted over a year ago

He has been an outstanding mentor to our teacher candidates placed with him at CES. His support and guidance has affirmed to these young teacher candidates they are in the right career path to touch the lives of the children they teach. He has a loving and gentle spirit that inspires everyone that knows him.

Karen Wild Posted over a year ago

What an honor and a privilege to share my support of Dwate STRICKLAND JR as a #LCOY! I have known Dwate since he was in high school playing football for my husband. As a coach’s wife my girls and I would visit the practice field to see our “Coach” and the extended family of players most days during football season. Dwate was a student of the game. He worked before, during and after practice to develop skills needed to enhance his performance. He was a leader to other players in the high poverty setting by his work ethic and integrity. He rose above circumstances beyond his control and faced challenge eagerly and with determination. His performance landed many accolades and scholarship opportunities which he received with a humble spirit. Advance forward 5-7 years after his graduation from college. As a principal ncipal I reached out to him to teach at a somewhat affluent school. While he entertained my offer graciously he shared that his passion was to serve children who needed him as a role model, those like he who struggled through circumstances beyond their control. Two years later I became the principal at the elementary school where he taught. As his principal I saw him support general ed teachers who struggled reaching students who exhibited behavioral and academic need. Dwate was exceptional in leading those students. When asked to move to a position in serving our significantly challenged students Dwate responded with certainty in the moment of request. For two years in the building with him and the two years following from the district level as I observed I have stood in awe as he meets the emotional and academic needs of the students he serves by being a steady, reliable, kind, confident and well-equipped role model. Life changer? Proof positive- I recently visited the classrooms of three students he taught previously for two years. Watching these young men independently engage and contribute in new and rigorous academic settings brought tears of joy to my eyes- they and many others are the direct proof that DWATE STRICKLAND changes lives for the better!!

Carlon Hudson Posted over a year ago

Excellent man!

Mekia Gravett Posted over a year ago

Dwate is very patient and is also a hard worker. He has trained my son many times and that alone takes someone with patience and a good heart. I’ve also seen him around training other kids and he always seems to have a great attitude. For him to not have any biological kids of his own, I think it’s amazing how he could coach/train a kid with the kind of love that a parent would. I think he’s definitely deserves the award for Lifechanger of the year

Leigh Smith Posted over a year ago

Coach Strickland is the role model in the lives of many children. He is the support many children need. He is changing lives every day!

Londyn billings Posted over a year ago

I am 7 old .I love him because he is brave and he taught me how to be brave.

Melissa Luke Posted over a year ago

Dwate is a nice young man. I had the opportunity to work under him. While working with the youth ministry. VERY nice young man, all the kids love and respect him.

Tonya Jiles Posted over a year ago

Dwate is the epitome of what a teacher should be to the profession. He serves in all capacities of his craft. It is common for Dwate to be a counselor, social worker, coach, father figure and cheerleader for all of his students. Often he is given the most challenging students to encourage and support. He does it with a spirit that is kind, humble and all forgiving. His students know that in the tough times he is there to support them. His colleagues view him as a role model and enjoy working with him because his positive out look is contagious. It was a honor to work and serve with Dwate and have the privilege to watch him impact lives daily in all who encounter him.

Caroline Garner Posted over a year ago

My son has worked with Coach Strickland for the last 4 years (in baseball). The first year was a difficult year for our family, as my son’s father was recovering from a very serious brain injury, and our family was traveling down the rocky road of divorce. Baseball was an escape and a chance to block out everything else. From day one he told me that Coach Strickland was his favorite. The level of respect my son has for Coach Strickland is a direct reflection of the amount of commitment & respect he has for his kids. At the end of 8th grade, students are asked to write a speech about their junior high experience. My son wrote about Coach Strickland. His words blew me away. He expressed that he knew Coach Strickland expected their best & he would give them his best. He went on to say that Coach Strickland made him a better player & person through his love for Jesus. Dwate will always have a special place in our hearts!!

Debra Wargofcak Posted over a year ago

What's wonderful young man. He taught me a lot about health and fitness. I am just a friend,but have heard so much about how wonderful he is in the school system.

Shon Thomaston Posted over a year ago

Composure, compassion, and completion. This guy is always the coolest guy in any situation. He is loved by all because he gives it. He has such a soft heart for those in need but especially the under privileged, or less fortunate. The cliche, "give the shirt off his back," is not a cliche for him. It's real life. He is complete in the sense that he checks all boxes...man of God, big time family guy, and he grinds as a football, baseball, and fitness trainer. There's literally nothing he doesn't do. If this guy isn't a life changer, then I dont know who is. I witness him do it daily.

Kimberly Perry Posted over a year ago

Great with kids!

Kristie Staples Posted over a year ago

Coach Strickland is not only a teacher and coach to his students and players, he makes sure "his" kids have what they need daily to succeed in life!

Elizabeth Gable Posted over a year ago

Coach Strickland is a wonderful mentor to all of his students. He goes over and beyond his call of duty to ensure the students' needs are met. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Dwate, several of his prior students are on the road to success.

LaSonya Heard Posted over a year ago

Dwate Strickland is definitely deseving of this title. He is an amazing teacher & person!! Every student that walks through his doors will leave knowing each day that Dwate is fully invested in them!! Congrats my friend!!