LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Karen Carter

Position: CDCA Special Education Teacher
School: Spring Hill Elementary School
School District: Knox County Schools
City, State: Knoxville, TN

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Music that Describes Karen


Karen Carter was nominated by her colleague, Amy Plumlee.

Ms. Carter has all the attributes of a LifeChanger. She has been committed to Spring Hill Elementary for more than 20 years.  She has touched the lives of her students and families in the best possible light. Ms. Carter has been a leader in her school, mentoring many teachers and students both on school life and the special qualities of her very special students. She has educated so many people on diversity and acceptance of children.

Ms. Carter has also been a spiritual leader to so many at Spring Hill by praying with and for staff, families, children, and community. She builds character, not only in her students, but in staff members, as well.  Being a part of her class is something everyone wants because of the confidence and love she builds in each child.

"Karen is an outstanding person and educator, and she is truly a gift to Spring Hill Elementary.  Karen has changed so many lives," said Plumlee.



Comments (15)


Christine Aubert Posted 10 days ago

Karen does an amazing job with her students. She has a big heart and she has great relationships with her students. They really love her and she creates a culture of acceptance and learning in her classroom. She is involved in a lot of leadership activities in the school as well. She advocates for her students best interests and is respected by many.

JaneƩ Gordon Posted 28 days ago

It has been an honor and privilege to share and witness all the great qualities Ms. Carter possesses. I have only worked alongside Ms. Carter for three years, however, I may be one of the few who actually had an opportunity to know of her as a teacher. I attended this very school (1995-2000), that she has pour her heart and soul into, and I can account that she is still the vivacious and caring teacher now as she was then. I have an actual memory of staring into her classroom when I was 7 years old, just captivated by her teaching and the fun that was emerging from her room and I wanted to be apart of it. Today, the same feelings surface when I witness all the great things Ms. Carter is able to do with her students. Not only has she changed the lives of her students in her room for 20+ years, she has changed the lives of those who were blessed to witness her gift just walking through the halls and being in and/or apart of this school. I owe her many thanks for her selflessness, her compassion, her support, encouragement, and the will to go above and beyond to support her students, their families, her colleagues and this community. She embodies all that stands for Lifechanger of the Year. Thank you Ms. Carter for your dedication and your diligence to serve and give of yourself to change lives and impact of others.

Sherri Waller Posted 29 days ago

Karen Carter is a blessing & inspiration to her students, their families and her colleagues. She loves the Spring Hill students and goes above and beyond every year. I have had the privilege of working with her& having her as a friend. I have seen the amazing work she has done with many special needs students. She is amazing!

Laura Parkhill Posted 29 days ago

Ms. Carter taught our ESL team at Spring Hill how to support one of our ELLs on the autism spectrum in several ways that enabled him to be successful both behaviourally and academically last school year. We learned how to write social stories for M that helped him learn to manage his behaviours during ESL instruction. Our other ELLs learned to coach him to change his behaviours because of those social stories and it gave them a means to overcome their fear and avoidance of him stemming from his outbursts. "M, remember your story!" became a constant refrain all year long; without learning this from Ms. Carter, M would not have had the opportunity to learn how to speak and read English through partner work. M went from becoming a student that the others avoided to a true classmate able to participate and enjoy learning on his own and as a full-fledged member of our kinder group that the other ELLs enjoyed learning with.

Ashley Croft Posted 29 days ago

Karen Carter is a model for the whole school in kindness and generosity with her time and gracious spirit! We are so blessed to have her make a difference in the lives of everyone around her -- both students and adults!

Tracie Posted 29 days ago

I just started working at Spring Hill and I am blown away by the support and care from Ms. Carter! I am blessed to have her as my mentor. I know that she has all the characteristics of a life changer based on watching the students (hers and MANY others in the school) admire her. Students go out of their way to see her in throughout the day just to see her smile, say hello or give her a hug. The students in her classroom enjoy working and learning from her! When I ask her students how their day was, their response is always positive and happy. Her energy and attitude is always positive and I am excited to be working with her and that I can continue learning from her!

Margaret Tinker Posted 29 days ago

I have only been working with Ms. Carter since the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year but I can tell you that within that short period of time I have seen all and plus some of the qualities listed above. The care and compassion she has for not just the student in her class but those throughout the building as a whole is quite amazing to see. I can truly say that I have learned a lot from Ms. Carter in my short time here at Spring Hill.

Jessica Bocangel Posted 30 days ago

Karen Carter's passion for inclusion and acceptance has been woven into the DNA of the Spring Hill Elementary Community School culture. When I see students behaving kindly and supporting our differently abled classmates, whether it's our youngest kindergarteners or our oldest 5th graders, I always see Karen's fingerprints. She relentlessly models and also teaches the type of kindness and inclusion that our students are imprinting from. Certainly she is a competent and effective educator when it comes to academics. What makes her shine so very brightly is how she is sincere, warm, empathetic, kind, and funny, and our whole community is a gentler and more loving place because she has been a part of our team of educators at Spring Hill for 20+ years. If you are looking for the Life Changer of the Year, you've found her.

Ashley Zacher Posted 30 days ago

Karen is not only a remarkable teacher, but she builds relationships with her students, and their families. Her compassion for their growth, not only educationally, but socially is like none other. As a sister to a special needs adult, I could only have wished my sister would have had a teacher and a cheer leader at that age to encourage her and grow her like Karen does her students. They are her babies long after they leave her room. Thank you Ms. Carter for all the many lives you have touched along the way!

Jessie Evans Posted 30 days ago

Ms. Carter is a true inspiration! She is very involved with her students and fellow staff members. She has always been supportive to those around her and never shies away from a moment to teach, lead or mentor both inside and outside of the classroom.

Christyn Kirkpatrick Posted 2 months ago

I have had the privilege of working with Karen for many years. I have watched her go above and beyond for not just her students but also our staff. She is an amazing role model to all. She is so patient and supportive to her students. It is a joy to watch them grow. Thank you for all you do Karen.

Rebecca Lambson Posted 2 months ago

Karen is an amazing educator who deeply cares for all her students even after they have left her room. Numerous times I know her former students have called the school and she spends the time to talk with them. She definitely has changed many lives and all those who know her are lucky to do so!

Amy Plumlee Posted 2 months ago

So honored to be your friend! You have done so much for your school, friends, and those precious kiddos you teach! You have also change so many prejudices about children with special needs! Keep up your awesome work! Love you!

Brandy Posted 2 months ago

Ms. Carter is a ray of sunshine in her building. She rises above the rest and truly shines for her students and her fellow teachers. It is a honor to know Ms. Carter.

Tommie Branscum Posted 2 months ago

Ms. Carter is always so patient and kind with both students and staff members. She is always looking for ways to enrich the lives of the students in her class and also students throughout the building as well. She is an integral part of the Spring Hill community and she is certainly a life changer to us every day.