LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Claudia Kirkley

Position: Student Development Coordinator
School: Eastern Guilford Middle School
School District: Guilford County Schools
City, State: Greensboro, NC

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Claudia Kirkley was nominated by an anonymous student.

"This teacher deserves this title and so much more; she is one of the kindest, most patient people I have ever met, which is so hard to find when it comes to teachers," said her nominator. "I always enjoyed the time I got to spend with her. She inspires me and so many others to do better in school and to stay out of trouble."

"When I first met Ms. Kirkley, I was skipping school and didn't care about anything. She helped me turn that around and showed me I am better than that," said her nominator. "I've never really had a teacher who cared enough to work with me and try to help me do better. She helped me feel better about myself when I was at one of the lowest points of my life, and that meant a lot to me, because teachers never really care about their students the way she does. She always comes into her class with a great attitude and a huge smile on her face."

Ms. Kirkley is always patient with her students, even when they are not being patient with her. She always makes sure to create a fair, peaceful classroom environment that makes it easy for students to do work. She plays classical music and tells amazing stories and life lessons to her students.

Ms. Kirkley always goes out of her way to take care of her students, and she makes them feel happy and safe. She always has extra stuff to make them happy, whether it's a teddy bear, a cookie, or a lollipop.

"Ms. Kirkley is the most incredible and selfless teacher I have ever met, by far. She is crazy, sweet and caring, and I am so grateful that I met her," said her nominator. "Ms. Kirkley has been teaching over 40 years, and is still so full of life and still has so many amizing things to do. She is incredible and truly deserves this award. I am proud to know and be nominating such a selfless, kind, big-hearted, smart and amazing person."

"I am at the high school now, but I keep in touch with her, because hearing her voice and reading her texts still keeps me strong. It's a comfort to know she is there for me, right next door," said her nominator. "She is loved by all the kids and the other teachers, too. I will never to be able to thank her enough for all she is to me."



Comments (22)


Charlie W. Smith Posted 8 months ago

Claudia Kirkley has been a teacher at Eastern Guilford Middle School for the last two years. Ms. Kirkley has been an intricate part of our administrative team ensuring in creation a successful learning environment for all of our students especially, students with behavioral and emotional needs. As such, Ms. Kirkley is responsible for teaching multiple content areas, supporting students academic and emotional development. Claudia Kirkley possesses a positive and enthusiastic personality. She has a great rapport with the students she works with. She is well dressed, articulate, and always ready with a smile and kind words. I have found that students and teachers alike view her as a strong member of our school community. She has extremely positive working relationships with students, as well as staff members. I am confident that Ms. Kirkley is the right choice for the life changer of the year award. I am excited about her nomination and the recognition that she is receiving for the outstanding work she is doing to impact lives in our school community. Sincerely, Charlie W. Smith

Darryl Aaron Posted 8 months ago

Claudia has an uncanny love for people. Her light is bright and therefore she unconsciously gives others the permission to shine their lights. I have witnessed this first hand at the bedside of her elderly mother. I also have experienced her touch on several occasions: during her speeches and while passing through the hall that only lasted two minutes. It has been said that you cannot be taught by those you do not trust. Well, it is easy to trust Claudia because she sincerely loves people. I have learned how to be more free and trusting because of Claudia. Her love is authentic! Claudia has so much more work to do and yet the world is so much better because she has been willing to be borrowed for a little while. It is my wish that many more persons will be touched and changed by this woman's uncanny gifts.

LaTesa Brown Posted 8 months ago

Sooooooo........Claudia M. Kirkley, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!! Those of you reading this may say it doesn’t take all that, when in fact;speaking of “Ma’-Kirkley”, it does take at least that! I have to go over the top, outside all the lines and boxes with the extra! The moment I met Ma’-Kirkley on a teaching assignment, I felt her loving spirit jump out at me and I knew she was special and our introduction wasn’t happenstance! Everyone on the job watched her as she always came through the doors first, exercising a thorough professionalism. Now, most watched and learned with awe, while others watched and hated but, Ma’-Kirkley treated each and every person with respect and shined as a true humanitarian; ultimately causing all-to love her! She gave me a nickname and cracked a funny-Unbeknownst to me; she would change my world! I was brought into her family and became a part of private memories that I will treasure forever; she knew my family was out of state and became a mother and friend all in one lovely package! Just being her kind and loving self, she became a much needed encouragement to the entire staff, me included;without us asking, she stood in the gap and nurtured spirits, her spunk came through like a military maneuver to give life advice and offer support, all with a beautiful smile and flawless swagger out of this world! She is also skilled in the art of listening and has a multifaceted intelligence that allows her to be able to work and assist people from all walks of life! Ma’-Kirkley put her livelihood on the line and stood up for me; like only a mother would do and I hope she knows, I will NEVER forget it! She stepped in with a force and a set of angel wings on a matter that could have took me down to the pit of despair, and crushed the negativity! THANK YOU FOR HAVING MY BACK!!! She shared her vast expertise with everyone that crossed her path; gave us some trade secrets for free,(you know that doesn’t occur in this profit hungry world)! We came looking for her to share and enlighten us; like moths to a giant, fiercely burning flame; she had us all at Hello! If anyone tries to say differently; they are not being honest. Ma’-Kirkley loves students and allows them to be an exemplar model of themselves, through the way she touches their hearts first and breaks down their walls-before they know it, they are achieving! She accepts no excuses and teaches them that no matter the hardships or environment that they come from; they can achieve. She has been working her DASH with a deliberateness that dots every I and crosses every T; y’all, she is “All That”! Ma’-Kirkley walks in the place and shifts the atmosphere, effortlessly and still has the nerve to be Humble; imagine that. She has set the bar for this journey called life that has taken her all the way to Capitol Hill and back to NC to grace us with her presence. She had raised a beautiful family and help raised countless other families through a village approach that is truly her calling! I am so very proud of Ms. Kirkley and ecstatic about this chance to honor her. She is worthy and deserving of this Life Changer Award and is a paradigm of leadership! So blessed to have a chance to know her before she really retired! CONGRATS-They better Keep Up!!!

Chris Martin - SRO Posted 8 months ago

While SRO at Eastern Guilford Middle School, I had the pleasure of working with Ms. Kirkley. The children at this school tended to gravitate towards her and truly respected her. Though she typically was involved with “troubled” children, she was known throughout the school by all grade levels for her kind and truly caring disposition. Children would be sent to her for behavioral issues and she would introduce them to the “old school” approach of learning and behavioral adjustment. I feel as though if more schools had staff like Ms. Kirkley, it would better the learning environments for the children. She is truly a blessing to those who have met her.

Danielle Kirkley-Hunter Posted 8 months ago

It is my absolute honor to write this missive in support of my champion, my mother, Claudia Kirkley. My mother has always cared immensely about the education and welfare of children. As a product of modest beginnings, my mother began teaching while pregnant with me which shows her determination and desire to make a change in the world through education. My sister and I were always a part of her work as a teacher by attending games when my mother served as cheerleader advisor as well as many other clubs and programs that taught young men and women self-pride and self-discipline. My most proud moment was when my mother was chosen to speak at the 2000 Republican Convention! https://www.wral.com/news/local/story/152686/. We all sat around the television with bated breath to hear Mommy speak comfortably and passionately about her desire for every child to be able to read and take advantage of the American Dream via education. At 74, my mother has attempted to retire many times, however, cannot leave her calling of teaching. It is our sincere hope that you will consider my mother, Claudia Kirkley as the recipient of the LifeChanger of the Year Award in recognition of the all the lives she has touched over 40 years in 3 US states.

India McCoy Posted 8 months ago

Ms.Kirkley has been very influential to my life. I had her as a teacher for English and social studies my 6th grade and 7th grade year at Allen Middle School. She was very supportive and caring. If I ever felt frustrated or upset about an issue I could come to Ms.Kirkley and she would listen to me and give me guidance. I could still call Ms.Kirkley now and feel a sense of comfort and joy. She is an amazing teacher and an even wonderful person.

Timothy Ross Posted 8 months ago

I have worked with Ms. Kirkley for several years, and I must say that she is one of the most classy, professional, and carrying educators that I have ever worked with. She shows a great passion for educating young minds, both academically and socially. She makes sure that those around her do things with both class and If anyone is a life-changer, Claudia Kirkley definitely fits the profile.

Anitra Wells Posted 8 months ago

Ms. Kirkley worked at Northeast Guilford High School in Guilford County as our ISS facilitator while I was principal there. She wasn't just the facilitator for students. She was a confidante, advocate, and a real life changer for our students who faced serious challenges in school and at home. She also served as a club sponsor for her Sister-to-Sister group. The young ladies involved in this group received mentoring, social etiquette tips, and were challenged to be "ladies" in and outside of school. Thank you, Ms. Kirkley for all you did for our students. You are truly a shining star.

K. Spence Posted 8 months ago

Charismatic, creative and energetic are just a few of the words that come to my mind when I think of Ms. Kirkley. It has been a pleasure working with her because she thinks outside of the box. She has excellent classroom management skills and developed a rapport with students, colleagues and parents that is characterized by mutual respect. Ms. Kirkley impressed me with her commitment to lifelong learning and her ability to work in high needs, high impact schools. We need more Educators like Ms. Kirkley to make a difference in the lives of our young people and future leaders. Ms. Kirkley has proven herself to be a Life Changer!

Briana Howard Posted 8 months ago

Ms. Kirkley is an amazing person and educator. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure fairness for all students and colleagues. What amazed me the most when working with Ms. Kirkley is how she would stop in the hallway and calmly reel students in who were causing a disruption. She always handled students with grace and poise and they respected her for that. She truly loved each and every student she came into contact with. Ms. Kirkley was truly and inspiration to me! She may not know this but she changed my life for the better just as she changed students' lives for the better!

Lori lawrence Posted 8 months ago

Ms. Claudia Kirkley is a great asset to our school community. She develops and fosters positive relationships with students that have been in her classroom as well as those she meets in the hallways that never set foot in her door. Not only does she care for student's academic well-being she is concerned with the whole child being a productive citizen in the community. As an advocate for all students, Ms. Kirkley is very attentive to students needs and is sometimes the only adult in the building that can get through with a student. She is very nurturing as if the student was her own child. Ms. Kirkley exemplifies daily her professionalism, charm, motherly-nature, and expectations of all with a smile on her face. Both the staff and students love, respect, and appreciate her in the building. Life-changer that is Claudia Kirkley for sure!

Jimmy Buchanan Posted 8 months ago

Ms. Kirkley is a pillar of our school. She loves the children she works with, and they know they can trust and rely on her. There is not a day that goes by that she does not walk through and encourage students and staff alike with her smile and warm words. She has an amazing way of taking a negative and turning it into a positive. There are so many students that are touched by her willingness to go the extra mile, and to have her wisdom and insights imparted on them. I cannot imagine our school without Ms. Kirkley, and I know that our students would no have as great of a role model to follow.

Deborah M. Hunter Posted 8 months ago

Claudia Kirkley is a life changer in so many ways. When you first see her, you notice right away an impeccable sense of style and grace- and you might be tempted to think she’s above it all or aloof. But stop and talk to her, and you’re immediately rewarded with a warm smile and friendly chat, no matter who you are. You see, her high standards require, rather than get in the way of, real human connections and genuine kindness. And what stories she has to share (all true), from humorous to heart-warming to life changing. All have a lesson that we would be wise to apply to our everyday lives. Whether it’s about little things like fashion and etiquette, or important things like living life and sharing knowledge, Ms. Kirkley shows every day that she cares deeply. Our students are truly fortunate to have her as an example, a mentor, and a friend.

Will Betton Posted 9 months ago

Even the word "amazing" falls short of giving Ms. Kirkley the proper credit she deserves. She is a true transformer of students! I've witnessed youngsters undergoing extreme emotional strife, volatile, sometimes hostile individuals, warm up and listen to Ms Kirkley. Students who can never sit still in class are calm and attentive with Ms. Kirkley. She has a command and charm that can only be described as magical. She is a true stoic and professional. She never hesitates to reach out to students and staff alike. I consider it an honor to be her colleague. I am forever grateful to have the pleasure of working alongside her.

Kathy Kirkpatrick Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Kirkley is an amazing advocate and support for students as they learn to become solid citizens. Daily, she mentors students in self-control, self-advocacy, organizational skills, study skills, and building relationships. She is tutor, mentor, counselor, advocate, and role model. The impact she makes on the lives of students is palpable. Her integrity, reliability, passion, and compassion are unmatched. She is truly one of the greats.

Ann-Catherine Parker Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Kirkley or as I affectionately call her "Cuz", has been a wonderful addition and asset to the Eastern Guilford Family. Her vibrant and loving spirit has enhanced the lives of both the staff and students. She shares her love and wisdom to all and doesn't discount those that may seem unreachable. She does it all in grace, style, and in heels. I want to be like her when i grow up. She provides selfless love, confidence, hope, joy, and most importantly care to all that have the privilege of walking in her path.

Timothy Ross Posted 9 months ago

I have worked with Ms. Kirkley for several years, and I must say that she is one of the most classy, professional, and carrying educators that I have ever worked with. She shows a great passion for educating young minds, both academically and socially. She makes sure that those around her do things with both class and If anyone is a life-changer, Claudia Kirkley definitely fits the profile.

Sandy Primm Posted 10 months ago

Ms. Kirkley, better known as Nana to many truly does have a positive impact on our students daily. She invests her time and love into each student she encounters. For the last 2 years she has reached out to the community and professional barbers have come to EGMS to give any student a free haircut. This special gift has given many of our students the ability to receive something they need, but may not have the finances for. Ms. Kirkley has a special way of engaging with students and staff, she takes time to listen, support and share that wonderful wisdom that she has been blessed with. This nomination and award is well deserved and I feel fortunate to have received her love, encouragement and support while at EGMS.

Johnathan Wiggins Posted 10 months ago

Ever since 3rd grade at Allen Middle school Ms.Kirkley had an impact on my life. She has always been there when i needed help, needed someone to talk to or if i needed a shoulder to cry on. She isn't just a teacher shes a blessing! She has helped me grow as a person and help me find who i am. Ms.Kirkley followed all her students up until she couldn't follow us anymore. 6th, 7th, 8th, then in high school i wasn't able to be in her class but she did follow us to Dudley 9th 10th 11th then she came to see all her babies walk the stage. Me and Ms.Kirkley still keep in contact till this day. With everything she has done for me i wish i could pay her back. All i can say is Thank you so much i will Never Forget You. I Love You Ms.Kirkley.

Stephanie Spiller Posted 10 months ago

I have had the honor of working with Ms. Claudia Kirkley in more than one setting and more than one school. Over time, I am humbled to call her my friend. Her enigmatic personality draws one to her light and enables her to enrich lives. Claudia is the epitome of excellence; with grace, modesty, love, kindness and genuineness for every soul she encounters. Claudia's presence demands the same of her students; they love her because she loves them. Through that mutual respect and caring, Claudia is making a direct positive impact on our society, on our children. I am truly grateful to carry a piece of her legacy in my heart.

anonymous Posted 10 months ago

I was a teenager when I crossed Ms. Kirkley and now I am thirty years old. I never forgot Ms. Kirkley, along decades and such a long passage of time it was something about this teacher I could never get mad at her even when I was not ready to listen to her. The level of non-judgement, grace, and appetite for excitement and sweet-hearted nature she presented was overwhelming. Indeed, I could not forget her and throughout the years I would say to myself in a funny way ‘What would Ms. Kirkley do in this situation.’ I have kept her close to heart and at times at similar degree of compassion as received from my own grandmother. When we think of people we realize cultures, backgrounds, attitudes, and preferences yet as a person who migrated here with all these differences, with Ms. Kirkely the differences felt normal again without persuasion as true as so real. I still do not completely understand why I attached to her so naturally, it’s crazy. It would be graceful and most reasonable to select this teacher for the appropriate award. Her attitude, disciplines, warm-heartiness, and lasting draws of learning defy the years. As I am thirty years old, I remember my teacher as a teen and cannot forget her. Award my teen’s years teacher please and she is in a heart of many people since it is herself that makes us all in memory of her. Thank You!

Johnathan Wiggins Posted 10 months ago

Ever since 3rd grade at Allen Middle school Ms.Kirkley had an impact on my life. She has always been there when i needed help, needed someone to talk to or if i needed a shoulder to cry on. She isn't just a teacher shes a blessing! She has helped me grow as a person and help me find who i am. Ms.Kirkley followed all her students up until she couldn't follow us anymore. 6th, 7th, 8th, then in high school i wasn't able to be in her class but she did follow us to Dudley 9th 10th 11th then she came to see all her babies walk the stage. Me and Ms.Kirkley still keep in contact till this day. With everything she has done for me i wish i could pay her back. All i can say is Thank you so much i will Never Forget You. I Love You Ms.Kirkley.