LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Wilma Adams

Position: Kindergarten and Swimming Teacher
School: Eagle's View Elementary School
School District: Unalaska City School District
City, State: Unalaska, AK

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Wilma Adams was nominated by her principal, Joanna Hinderberger.

Mrs. Adams is the prime example of a LifeChanger. She literally saves hundreds of lives a year by teaching all students in grades K-4 how to swim. Swimming is a life-saving skill, as Eagle’s View Elementary School is located in the home of Dutch Harbor, the largest fishing port of North America. The school is located on the island of Unalaska, and many students live on the island of Amaknak and travel between the two via bridge. Being surrounded by water, fishing, and extreme weather is reason enough to be a LifeChanger. However, there is so much more that Mrs. Adams does to contribute to her community and change the lives of students and adults. 

Mrs. Adams has had students in kindergarten who have grown up to accomplish amazing things. She has the incredible ability of teaching five-year olds how to read. She holds all students to high behavioral and academic expectations and ensures that they reach their highest potential. Even more importantly, Mrs. Adams listens to children. This may sound simple and expected of a teacher to listen to children, but how Mrs. Adams listens is very unique.

"My first few times observing in her classroom, I was blown away with how she encourages students to share their thinking, their stories, and genuinely listens to what they have to say," said Hinderberger. "This is amazing because this also means that she is able to keep dozens of energy-filled bodies from interrupting the individual and distracting the class without it taking her attention away from the child. She understands the importance of listening to children and allowing them to speak freely about their experiences.  She will ask very caring questions and ensure that the child has the attention of all."

Mrs. Adams loves her job. She radiates passion and joy, so much so that even though her family tries to convince her to retire after teaching for decades, she simply doesn’t want to stop doing what she loves. She is often smiling, laughing, and having fun right alongside the students. Mrs. Adams teaches the children of previous students that she had in kindergarten, including her own grandchildren!

"I have never witnessed her overwhelmed or exhausted. She has an incredibly challenging job, yet makes it look easy. Her classroom is calm, organized, orderly, inviting, welcoming, and highly engaging," said Hinderberger.

Mrs. Adams is a natural leader. She has the amazing ability of looking after all other children and staff. She will listen to others and problem solve if there is a challenge people are trying to overcome. Mrs. Adams works hard and never expects recognition. She advocates for students and staff. She is very knowledgeable, yet demonstrates her growth mindset.  Others look to her as a role model. She leads by example through her positive attitude. 

Mrs. Adams has excellent performance. She is incredibly reliable, hardworking, and dedicated. She has excellent performance and attendance.

Mrs. Adams holds students to very high behavior, social, and academic expectations. She believes in the potential of every individual child and challenges them to do their best while still building and maintaining a positive relationship. 

Finally, Mrs. Adams is honest, kind, and caring. She has high moral and ethical standards for herself and others. She advocates for what is right, encourages others to ask questions, and has a strong sense of right and wrong.

"I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work and get to know Wilma. She is the definition of a LifeChanger," said Hinderberger.