LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Gail Williamsen

Position: Founder & Executive Director
School: Elizabeth Academy
School District: Elizabeth Academy
City, State: Salt Lake City, UT

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Gail Williamsen was nominated by her friend, Renee Crane.

Mrs. Williamsen and her husband, Thom, founded Elizabeth Academy in 2008. The academy was inspired by their daughter, Lauren Elizabeth, who has Down syndrome. While trying to find quality early intervention for Lauren, Mrs. Williamsen realized that it was often lacking or unavailable. She also knew that all children deserved to receive early intervention, as well as an education that could meet their individual needs.

Through diligent research, it was determined that Elizabeth Academy would be an inclusive Montessori school that would serve typical children and children with special needs. As a businesswoman, Mrs. Williamsen knew she would need to hire the best of the best and train the faculty/staff in all areas so that Elizabeth Academy could succeed.

"As a friend and former colleague of Gail's, I have seen this program develop over the years," said Crane. "Elizabeth Academy has record enrollment, and in August 2017, a second campus was added, Garfield Academy. This added more classrooms, as well as middle and high school levels."

Mrs. Williamsen respects, loves and values every child and strives to meet each of their needs. You can find her at one of her schools on a daily basis, working and setting new goals to continue to make these schools the best learning environment. Her dedication and passion for the students, families and faculty/staff is demonstrated daily through her generous heart.



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