LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Donna Coan

Position: First Grade Teacher
School: Dawes Ave. Elementary School
School District: Somers Point School District
City, State: Somers Point, NJ

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Donna Coan was nominated by her principal, Doreen Lee.

Mrs. Coan saw a need in her students this year, when her district redistricted, and Dawes Avenue Elementary became a K-3 school. Students needed a better start to their day in regard to nutrition, hygiene, and mindfulness.  Mrs. Coan volunteered to start and run a morning program for students to give them a better start to their day. Students eat, do their hair, brush their teeth, and get positive attention before the school bell rings. This program has made a difference in many students.

"Mrs. Coan is to be commended for giving up her free time to help young learners in our school," said Lee. "She has made a connection with these students as she assists and mentors them. Students have less discipline problems throughout the day, and they have a mindset to work hard and do their best all day long."



Comments (10)


Kelly Willett Posted 1 months ago

Donna is my friend and colleague. She loves her students! She is an inspiration to new and experienced teachers alike! Donna is a very special to our school and deserves this award!

Lori Durney Posted 2 months ago

Congratulations Donna well done !!

Nicole atohi Posted 2 months ago

Yay Mrs. Coan!

Kelli Walker Posted 2 months ago

I've Known Donna Coan for more than twenty years. First as a bratty third grade student in only her second year of teaching until today where she still keeps up with her "kids". She's hands down one of the best teachers I've had, giving encouragement to keep trying or coming up with inventive ways to behave and work towards a goal( I still think the Marble jar was inspired by me.) Several years and a grade change later, my niece came to her first day at a new school, but by the end of the day, she was better. When I asked her how it went, she said that Mrs. Coan picked her to help read the class the first story of the year. After that, my family knew that she was in good hands once again. Mrs. Coan also encourages each and every child to read books, no matter whether its a new author of an old classic, like Miss Nelson is missing. Each year as school budgets dwindle, she is always buying supplies and things for her classroom so that her students and their education do not suffer. By the time my niece had her, many of the young students in the 1st grade wouldn't be able to experience a real Thanksgiving dinner. Mrs. Coan took it upon herself to start cooking a Thanksgiving feast with help from the other first grade teachers including turkeys and all the other trimmings their students, like Mrs. Coan. These are just a few examples of why she deserves the recognition that go along with it, so her students can enjoy it and have a memory that will last them until they're an adult. There aren't many teachers that have that still go above and beyond for their students after so many years. Any child that has her in their corner is very lucky, even if they don't realize it until much later. Donna Coan is a teacher whom without a doubt deserves this honor.

Kathleen Zinski Posted 3 months ago

While everyone else discusses the underprivileged children in our schools Donna Coan does something about it. Taking those students under her wing Donna has helped them gain confidence as she supplies them with personal hygiene products and conversations about pride in appearance and attitude. Her colleagues have chipped in and the school nurse helps too. But Donna gave of her own time to welcome students into her room before the start of school and she has made a difference. Kudos to you, Donna for making a difference in these young lives.

Tammi Posted 4 months ago

No task or job is too much when it comes to Donna. She is not only an AMAZING teacher, but an AMAZING mentor and friend as well! She goes above and beyond for her students and has so much compassion for all of them!

Chris Wildman Posted 4 months ago

I have known Donna for 20 plus years. She’s a great person who cares for her family and friends. I know that she gives all she can to her teaching and her students.

Jennifer Wildman Posted 4 months ago

I have been friends with Donna for 25 years. Throughout her time spent teaching K-3 in Somers Point, she has always been a caring and engaged advocate for her students and their families. I’ve witnessed her spending plenty of her own money and time to make the days and lives better for her school family. Whether it be classroom supplies, organizing winter coat drives, collecting clothes for a family in need, etc., Donna does T need to be asked for help. She recognizes a need and jumps to action. She remains passionate about education and dedicated to improving and enriching the lives of her students.

Michelle Baltz Posted 4 months ago

I had the pleasure of being Donna Coan’s teaching partner this year. She did a wonderful thing for the children who needed some extra love and support in the mornings. Not only did she help meet some of their basic needs, but she helped them gain self confidence and motivation. Thank you, Donna!

Michele Barbieri Posted 4 months ago

I’ve known Donna since she was in grade school and always knew she’d make a huge impact! When my daughter was in grade school I expressed to her how she struggles with comprehension but couldn’t seem to find the right fit to help her! Donna said “bring her to me”. Donna tutored her with patience, love and understanding and for that and other reasons we adore her! It doesn’t surprise me that she volunteered her time to come in early and help her students! She is a Life Changer!