LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Lanor Payne

Position: Director
School: Michelle Obama Early Childhood Academic Center
School District: Riverview Gardens School District
City, State: St. Louis, MO

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Dr. Lanor Payne was nominated by Theda Wilson, the parent of a student.

This is Dr. Payne's first year with the Riverview Gardens School District as the Director of Early Childhood, and he has already made a huge impact within his school community. Every day, Dr. Payne is outside greeting each family as they arrive and answering any questions they may have.

"This current school year, we had our first junior homecoming dance, and it was a big hit. There were a total of 125 families in attendance," said Wilson. "We recently went on a school-wide field trip to the zoo. We have not been on a field trip in 6 years! There were a total of 95 parent chaperones that attended the field trip."

Every morning, Dr. Payne goes to each classroom to greet students and teachers. You will always see him in the hallways, transitions, and at each lunch period.

"One time, I was volunteering in my son's classroom, and Dr. Payne came in to ask the teachers if they needed a bathroom break. I thought that was so amazing," said Wilson.

You can feel the positive energy as soon as you walk in the building. All of the students love Dr. Payne, and he knows all 242 of their names. Under Dr. Payne's tenure, student attendance is above 90%.

Dr. Payne has formed a partnership with a local barber school, and they provide free haircuts once a month after-school. . His school recently received a grant for free, daily after-school dinners. Dr. Payne has also applied for a grant for a playground renovation.

"Dr. Payne is always humple, patient, kind, and truly has a heart for the kids," said Wilson. "My son loves going to school every day! Dr. Payne has been a phenomenal male role model for both of my boys, and they respect him so much."



Comments (38)


C. Jones:-) Posted 9 months ago

What can I say about Dr. Payne? He is truly a wonderful leader who exhibits the passion and drive needed to help our students succeed! He helps wherever and whenever is possible. He extends himself on a day basis, helping students reach their full potential and ensuring their educational needs are priority. I am so proud to call him a colleague and friend. He is deserving of this recognition and hopefully, many, many more in the future!!

Debra Reddin Posted 9 months ago

Dr. Lanor Payne is a positive leader in our community, and does it in style. I met Dr. Payne when I was a student of his at Harris Stowe State University, and he made everyday exciting. He has a real passion to help his students, as well as the parent’s of the students. Dr. Payne at the time not only taught my college class in the evening, he also was a Principal at an elementary school during the day. His tireless energy that he poured into my classroom gave us hope. Dr. Payne’s endless resources to help parents at his school, such as mentors helped my son. Dr. Payne has a positive outlook on things, and knows that if the families are being helped that the students of those families would also benefit. Having a positive, trusted, and caring leader like Dr. Payne is endless of what possibilities he would bring.

Courtnie Posted 9 months ago

This is my children first year at Michelle Obama and Dr. Payne made them feel welcome that they want to come everyday. It made feel like he showed interest in my child when they would say hello to him and he knew thier names and spoke back.

Mark Cruse Posted 9 months ago

There is no greater nominee than Bro. Dr. Lanor Payne....he sets the standard for community service and empowering our future leaders.

Mary Select Reich Posted 9 months ago

Thank you for all that you do for the students and staff. It's been a great year working for you.

Bobby burton Posted 9 months ago

Dr. Payne is dedicated to his career and also to the youth of America. His tactfulness, motivation, and positive attitude should be something we all strive to emulate.

Corsandra Fostet Posted 9 months ago

Dr Payne is a person who has changed the lives of students and staff. He goes beyond the call of duty to assist staff and students in any situation. He is a positive role model who not only impacts schools but also impacts the communities around them. His leadership skills and his presence encourages and motivates you to be a better person. Dr. Payne is a great example of true leadership!

Etoya R. White Posted 9 months ago

The importance of effective early childhood education program can simply not be understated. In just a brief period of time, Dr. Payne has transformed the culture and expectations of early childhood education in the Riverview Gardens School District. In my personal conversations with him, he speaks directly about his passion for early childhood education, which comes out in his work, and even when I walk through the doors of the Michelle Obama ECAC. This effect has already trickled down to the families in our community. Dr. Payne clearly understands and embraces an understanding of the difference between fault and responsibility, and is creating a beacon for RGSD. As the District Intervention Coordinator, his work directly affects mine, and I consider it a privilege to call him "Frat" and to work alongside him.

Anthony Mccollum Posted 9 months ago

I have known Dr. Payne for quite some time now. I have known him since his early college days, and I’ve always known him to be a man of honor and principal. I consider myself lucky to have such a good friend in my life, and I know that if nominated for this award he will do the absolute best they can.I say congratulations to you sir, I know you are the best choice for this award. Much love to you in the future, and I value our continued friendship and loyalty.

Herman G Posted 9 months ago

Well deserved...Awesome young man!!!

Serita Cahill Posted 9 months ago

Dr. Payne is a great leader and educator. He goes beyond to serve and help children. He is compassionate and puts his all in everything that he does. He is well deserving of every accolades that comes to him!

Crystal Goff Posted 9 months ago

I have known Dr. Payne for many years and he is a remarkable person. What a positive and much needed role model you have. Congratulations Mr. Payne a well deserved honor.

Erica Mitchell Posted 9 months ago

In Dr. Lanor Payne’s short tenure as the Director of the Michelle Obama Early Childhood Academic Center, he has demonstrated the epitome of a Nobel leader. His excellence is exhibited in the work of itself! Dr. Payne has presented to the Riverview Gardens School community with a vast amount of knowledge and enthusiasm, cultivating a shift of energy. Through transparency, Dr. Payne has built relationships with scholars and families, in addition to his team of staff, increasing the moral of his administrative office staff, educators and families. His presence has reshaped the climate and culture of our buildings patrons and future leaders. He extends himself to others throughout the course of the day, to ensure that his staffs needs are met, as he performs frequent classroom visits/walk throughs to identify if he may be of assistance in anyway, i.e to relieve someone for a restroom and/or telephone break. Dr. Payne’s innovative leadership has been an appreciated game changer for the building and community, hence the positive energy felt upon entering and throughout the building. Dr. Payne has partnered with agencies, bringing resources to our families, to support and reduce barriers that many face daily. Dr. Payne is an inspiring exemplary role model, we appreciate him and his leadership. For those impactful reasons, he is most deserving of life changer of the year recognition!

Marissa Smith Posted 9 months ago

Let me tell take a minute and tell the world about Michelle Obama's Early Childhood director..Dr. Payne. This man is AMAZING! When I tell you that we the staff at Michelle Obama are blessed to be under the direction of this man, we truly are. He has only been with us a little under 6 months and he has done so much in those 6 months for our school. I appreciate all that he does, not just for our families but also for the staff. He makes us feel so appreciated and that means a lot when many teachers and others in school settings now of days feel underappreciated by their administration . I know from personal experience, he has come through with encouraging words that were needed to be heard at the time. And because of those encouraging words, he has inspired me to JUMP in 2019. #LCOY

Emita Williams Posted 10 months ago

Dr.Payne is a wonderful educator and leader. He has been with our center for a few months and he has had a great impact on our scholars, families and staff. He is all about building relationships and ensuring our school that we have what we need to succeed. It’s been a great year thus far and it will continue under his leadership! Thanks for being a life changer!!

Jessica Ishmon Posted 10 months ago

Dr. Payne has been Michelle Obama ECAC less than a year, however he has implemented many great things already and created a positive work environment. Dr. Payne is very involved, he makes himself present daily in each classroom. Dr. Payne is very supportive of teachers, staff and families. He is a fantastic leader deserving of recognition.

Kasey Reader Posted 11 months ago

I have only known Dr. Payne for a few months but I love the atmosphere he is building in our school. As a teacher at Michelle Obama Early Childhood Academic Center, I really appreciate the way he listens to the needs of the staff and families here and uses every resource he can to help better our school. There is not a day that goes by that we do not see his smiling face in our classrooms, hallways, cafeteria etc. He takes the time to get to know our students and comes in each classroom every morning to greet us and it really helps the students start their day. He does not hesitate to lend a helping hand anytime it is needed. He really is a true leader!

ROCHELLE TEAGUE GOLDMAN Posted 11 months ago

Dr. Payne has only been here at the Michelle Obama Early Childhood Academic Center for a few months, but his spirit and passion for education, building a positive climate, partnerships and relationships with parent, students and staff have been phenomenal. He is stern, but not rigid, which is key within our environment. He is always willing to assist and is always listening for information that will improve our facility. Dr. Payne is a fine example of true Leadership!

Sandra Terry Posted 11 months ago

Dr. Payne I have only worked with you for 4 months it has been so great. Dr. Payne is truly a great leader his passion for the students we serves goes over and beyond for not just one student but all and he gives the same to his staff. He believes that everyone has something to offer and to watch him build a moral throughout the school is great. I love how he actually comes in the classrooms and gets to know his students and supports his staff. He is setting the course for bring our families and the community in to the school and building that trust and respect with each family that we serve. I look forward to seeing and helping build that partnership with our families. Dr.Payne has been pulling in every resource to try to get what we need here at the early childhood center. I love that he takes time out to hear what his staff has to say and he works with us to make change. Dr. Payne sets the tone for excellence

Patti