Samantha Sulek was nominated by Marnie O'Connor, the parent of a student.
Mrs. Sulek is a LifeChanger for many reasons. She is truly a phenomenal teacher who makes school a place where her students want to be.
"My son was not a child who wanted to go to school until he was in Ms. Sulek's class," said O'Connor. "Something happened in sixth grade that completely changed his attitude towards school. I attribute this attitude change to Mrs. Sulek and her teaching style. She finds a way to make sure all students are engaged. She adapts, modifies, and differentiates for all students. In short, Mrs. Sulek makes learning fun. My son would come home from school excited about what he was learning. This was amazing to me! Once I met with her at a conference, I could see why he was enjoying school so much. Her demeanor with her students is fabulous!"
Mrs. Sulek has a B.A in Child Development and Ed from Washington & Jefferson College, with a minor in Psychology. She was also a four-year letter winner as a member of the soccer team and multi-year member of multiple honor societies. Mrs. Sulek also has a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership from Waynesburg University. She has been teaching for 11 years. Prior to teaching for North Hills School District, she led her previous school's SWPBIS program for six years and the MTSS math initiative for two years.
"When she arrived at Ross Elementary, she tried to stay away from anything other than sixth grade planning. She made it her main focus because it was new to her," said O'Connor. "I never would've guessed she was new to the curriculum when she taught my son! She must have put many extra hours in learning and focusing on what her students needed to grow."
While teaching, she was also able to use her soccer experience from college. She coached five years of varsity soccer as an assistant coach, and is now spending her first year as head coach of the girls' middle school soccer team.
Her work as a teacher doesn't stop within the classroom. She tutors on the side as needed or before school starts if parents request it. She sponsored/pinned former students for NJHS and NHS. At least once each semester, Mrs. Sulek also visits college-aged students at W&J to speak to pre-service teachers and hold workshops and lectures.
"It doesn't surprise me that Mrs. Sulek has had ratings of Proficient and Distinguished over the years," said O'Connor. "I can't thank her enough for changing my son's attitude toward school. It made the middle school transition so much easier for him! She is definitely a LifeChanger!"