LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Heather Giel

Position: Physical Education Teacher
School: Berkshire Jr/Sr High School
School District: Berkshire Local Schools
City, State: Burton, OH

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Music that Describes Heather


Heather Giel was nominated by her principal, Michael King.

To truly share everything Mrs. Giel does that has an amazing impact on students, staff, and the school community would take many, many hours to put into words. She is a teacher of life, values, and healthy living. She helps students develop a sense of ownership of their situations, and she is the "go-to person" for every student and most staff members.

Mrs. Giel proposed new classes with the sole aim of improving students lives. To no one's surprise, all of them were added to the course booklet and filled by eager students. For example, she created and teaches her school's leadership class.

Mrs. Giel volunteers a large amount of time to her school and the community. She's the co-founder and co-chair of the building PBIS Committee. She volunteers for every behavior plan meeting to help students' situations, even if they are not in her class.

Mrs. Giel has developed numerous initiatives to benefit her students and colleagues. She started a Ties for Success program to help young men understand how to dress professionally when needed, and she came up with the necessary materials at zero cost to the district. She led the effort to have all students and staff in grades 7-12 to be CPR and bleed bucket trained.

Mrs. Giel is also the creator and keeper of her school's Badger Bucks Program for student incentives. Additionally, she has initiated several fundraisers for families in need due to illness. Finally, she created a "thank you" video in conjunction with her students for the entire Berkshire staff.

Because of her efforts, Mrs. Giel has received an Accomplished rating from the OTES (Ohio Teacher Evaluation System) for four years in a row, the highest rating possible. Below are quotes from students and staff:

"Mrs. Giel is a LifeChanger in our students' lives because of her openness to connect with everyone she meets.  She has a desire to push students towards challenging situations to promote learning, character development, and integrity.  Mrs. Giel has created a course for Leadership and Character Development that so many of our students are eager to take because the environment is uplifting and positive.  Every day, her goal is to help all students become better versions of themselves - less impulsive, more thoughtful, kind, and leaders in their generation. She is teaching self-evaluation and regulation. She brings in influential people to speak to her class so they are hearing similar messages and stories of grit, good character, and Integrity.   Her impact is not only recognized by our students, but by her colleagues and administration. Students have said it, but I can also say she empowers me everyday to be positive and be the best version of myself for me and for my students. Her actions are contagious and I’m grateful for her presence and work in our school."

"She helps me to to become better on a daily basis."

"She doesn't teach us things, she teaches us life."

"The support programming she has put in place has saved lives."

"Mrs. Giel can be counted to support even the craziest of ideas as long as they are designed to help someone."

"Momma Giel is always there for me; even with just a kind word or a smile."

"Her drive and passion are something that all should try to emulate, there is no one else like her."

"Mrs. Giel gives us a real life perspective by bringing in community members who share out their paths to leadership which are not always easy."

"One of a kind."

"Mrs. Giel makes the world a better place by being in it, by being herself."



Comments (39)


Tracy Posted 7 months ago

We are truly blessed to have Heather on our team. She truly listens to students and staff and jumps into help anyway she can. She is a positive role model and a genuine person that really does care for others, Thank you Heather for being you.

Nathon Iadimarco Posted 8 months ago

Mrs. Giel is a very good person, and is very good at what she does. She takes pride in all of her work and is very kind to everyone she meets. She is very respectful and fun to be around, and I am proud to have her as a teacher at my school.

Elizabeth Posted 8 months ago

Heather is a passionate, positive, and hard working role model. She is not only doing her best in the classroom but in the community and at home. She dedicates her time and heart to those around her and finds the best in everyone. She has a gift to touch hearts and anyone who knows her has been blessed by her commitment to support and love the generations to come. She not only believes in her students, but she teaches her students to believe in themselves.

Dominic Posted 8 months ago

Mrs. Giel has always been my favorite teacher throughout high school. She is always so caring and generous. She always challenges me and pushes me to do my best. She is always there for me when I need her.

Donnie Posted 8 months ago

Mrs. Giel is one of the most caring people i know. she is always there to make sure your day is going ok and to make sure that you don't need anything and if you do she will help you no matter what. She always make an effort to put a smile on your face and does not stop until she sees you smile. she has been a major inspiration on my life through high school.

olivia Posted 9 months ago

Mrs Giel is the reason i make it through the school day. whenever i see her in the morning she brightens my outlook on the whole day and if i ever have a problem she makes me feel better. shes one of the few teachers i know that makes a kid actually want to learn. she said to me "my job isn't to make you hate my class" and i just wish teachers had that same mentality that she does. she is the definitely most deserving of this award.

Taylor Posted 9 months ago

I feel like she should get this award because she's like a mother figure to me.

Gennah Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel is an absolute ray of sunshine in my day. Always in efforts to bring excitement into life by setting an example of how to act and treat others. I don’t even have her in class anymore and she still makes sincere conversation. She’s a hoot and a half and an amazing human for all her eagerness to help anyone/anything. She has such a way of smiling that’s more contagious than a yawn; I’m so proud to have someone this genuinely excited for the betterment of the students on my school’s staff.

Shannon Moore Posted 9 months ago

Heather Giel is the absolute best! It is hard to even explain in words how amazing she is as a teacher and as a human being. She brings nothing but love and positivity to her position as a role model and motivator for our students. You can not help but be in a good mood when you speak to her. She is always encouraging the students in all their efforts and making sure they feel welcomed in our building. Students connect greatly to her lessons, and in a way, I am jealous that I do not get to experience being a student in her class. As a fellow professional and co-worker I have nothing but the utmost respect for her and strive to be half the teacher and person she is to our community.

nick Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel is the most understanding teacher. I know I can trust her with anything.

jordan Posted 9 months ago

i do not have words to explain how much having a class with mrs giel helps me get through my day. i never thought i’d be waking up and going to school in the morning because of how much fun i believe a class is. it’s my first year having her as a teacher because i recently moved here but she’s a great teacher and an even more amazing person.

Monica Mraz Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. G by far deserves this the most! One of the kindest and most caring people I know.

Ben Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel is one of the most amazing teachers you will find nowadays. It’s hard to find a teacher that is so excited to teach a subject but she comes in everyday and makes the kids excited to learn. Having her in class makes me more excited to wake up and go to school. She has affected so many people’s lives. There isn’t another other person I would love to call my teacher she definitely deserves this award

Ethan Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel is the best teacher i have ever had, and the most humble and down to earth teach i know. She sees the good in everyone no matter who it is. She encourages each and every single of her students to try their best at everything they do. I feel comfortable talking to her about any of my problems and i feel like i can come to her whenever i need something. She is my favorite teacher and always will be one of my favorites.

Maria Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel is GREAT! Everytime I see her in the halls she makes an effort so say hello and never ceases to brighten my mood. She has one of the biggest hearts I know and I can always come to her about anything. She goes beyond teaching basic school materials and gives us lessons about life and leadership while making it enjoyable. She is truly a great role model.

Jay Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel is one of the most fun and entertaining teachers I have ever had. Everyday I look forward to her class because I know whatever we are doing will be fun. She is also very kind and is willing to help anyone no matter the situation. Mrs. Giel teaches students about important life lessons that will make us excellent citizens. I am blessed to call her my teacher and she is truly deserving of this award.

Ethan Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel is the best teacher i have ever had, and the most humble and down to earth teach i know. She sees the good in everyone no matter who it is. She encourages each and every single of her students to try their best at everything they do. I feel comfortable talking to her about any of my problems and i feel like i can come to her whenever i need something. She is my favorite teacher and always will be one of my favorites.

Anna Brent Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel is one of the strongest most humble and loving women I have ever met. She is always willing to listen to a student's problems and give her best advice. She encourages us to be the best version of ourselves and deal with things head on instead of avoiding them. Mrs. Giel is a selfless leader and an amazing teacher who continues to inspire me everyday. She is and will always be my favorite teacher. She is a true life changer.

Ethan Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel is the best teacher i have ever had, and the most humble and down to earth teach i know. She sees the good in everyone no matter who it is. She encourages each and every single of her students to try their best at everything they do. I feel comfortable talking to her about any of my problems and i feel like i can come to her whenever i need something. She is my favorite teacher and always will be one of my favorites.

Dingman Posted 9 months ago

Wonderful person and teacher! Very kind and thoughtful!She has an amazing gift that she shares with these kids! Good luck!

Jacob Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel is amazing. She is always there for me when i need someone to talk to, about my problems during sport or at school. When i was in her class she challenges me to think out side of the box when I view a problem. I had the privilege to take her first leadership and character development here at Berkshire where I learned more about myself and leadership qualities to bring to my sport teams. The lessons that she has taught me in that class are life lessons that i will carry with me throughout my whole life. She challenges all students to self evaluate themselves, take ownership of our actions, and holds us accountable.

Kayla Posted 9 months ago

Mrs Giel is the true definition of an amazing teacher. She genuinely cares about every one of her students and goes out of her way to make sure they are all okay. She truly is an inspiration and role model to the students at berkshire and the community as well. Not only the students she has taught or coached, anyone she encounters can tell you she is a life changing person.

Lexi Posted 9 months ago

I am so thankful to have had Mrs.Giel as a teacher and coach though out my high school career. She is my favorite teacher to talk to when I have a problem, and knows exactly what to say when something is wrong. I love being in the classroom with her as my teacher because she really knows how to grab her students attention to make sure they listen and interact during the class. My favorite class she teachers is her leadership class, to me I believe that everything that she has taught me has effected me positively, whether it be in how I act on the court/field or towards people in my everyday life. She's the type of person that will change your mood by just being around her, and will notice if you are upset and try to help. I am so glad that she has been my teacher for the past 4 years.

Joczlyn “Logan” Woods Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel always say “Be safe, be smart, make good decisions. The choices you make will effect you the rest of your life.” She always has a smile and knows just what to say in any situation. She’s fun to be around and is always done to joke around with the students to make them feel more at home in a classroom. Even when you’re having a not so good day, Mrs. Giel can put a smile on your face. She is most definitely a life changer!

Nathon Iadimarco Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel is a very good person, and is very good at what she does. She takes pride in all of her work and is very kind to everyone she meets. She is very respectful and fun to be around, and I am proud to have her as a teacher at my school.

Matthew Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel has done a lot for me and a lot for other kids. She is a role model, a good teacher, and the coolest teacher. She does a lot of good things for the people that attend our school. She is approachable about and problem you have, situation you are in etc. She may not always be able to help but she will do everything in her power to make sure tries her best to help you out. She is also a good leader in terms when it comes to life. She is a good example of how to get through life when you have multiple things you have to worry about in your life. Mrs. Giel has 5 children which puts a lot of responsibility on her hand and still manages to work around and help us kids out at school as well.In my opinion she also a role model for the teachers around her to influence them to do things that are up to par at what Mrs. Giel does. She is also my favorite teacher in the school because she cares about you, she always likes to talk to you to see how your day is going, and she also overall is a good teacher.

Matthew Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Giel has done a lot for me and a lot for other kids. She is a role model, a good teacher, and the coolest teacher. She does a lot of good things for the people that attend our school. She is approachable about and problem you have, situation you are in etc. She may not always be able to help but she will do everything in her power to make sure tries her best to help you out. She is also a good leader in terms when it comes to life. She is a good example of how to get through life when you have multiple things you have to worry about in your life. Mrs. Giel has 5 children which puts a lot of responsibility on her hand and still manages to work around and help us kids out at school as well.In my opinion she also a role model for the teachers around her to influence them to do things that are up to par at what Mrs. Giel does. She is also my favorite teacher in the school because she cares about you, she always likes to talk to you to see how your day is going, and she also overall is a good teacher.

Kelly Delaney Posted 9 months ago

You will never find an individual more deserving of this award. Heather is a giver, its her sixth sense! As a young girl of only 11 years old she spoke with love and wisdom and her cousins (my son) funeral. She showed strength beyond her years when I didn't have it myself. She has continued to be a treasure to all who cross her path. A daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, wife, mother, aunt, coach, teacher, mentor and friend........ she wears many hats and wears them without fault, all while giving unconditionally. I have loved her since day one, and so very proud of who she is. Keep Inspiring Heather!!!

Madeline Presper Posted 9 months ago

I had the privilege of playing on several basketball teams coached by Heather starting when I was in fifth grade and she was a senior in high school. She taught me a lot about basketball but even more about life. To this day I follow the example she set for me and use the lessons she taught me to push myself to be the best version of me and to always be supportive of those around me. I am still amazed at the example she was able to set while she was still a teenager, she truly changed my life and helped me develop into the woman I am today.

Meggan Conti Posted 9 months ago

I’m so proud of you Heather and all of your hard work. I’m not surprised at all that you would accomplish great things and be nominated for this award. You have always been a great leader who builds people up and brings people together. You are consistent, fair, and caring. You model good sportsmanship and encourage others to try their best. You wear many hats and spin many plates and give 100% in everything you do. You deserve this nomination! - Meggan

Diane Abood Posted 9 months ago

Congratulations to Heather Murray Giel. I am so proud that you decided to touch young people's lives through the field of education. You are an inspiration to so many!

Martha Kermizis Posted 9 months ago

Blessings to one of the most compassionate thoughtful women I know and love.

Carrie Posted 9 months ago

Heather is not only a role model and inspiration to her students, but she also sets an example for all her colleagues to follow. She improves the overall environment of the district, showing the positive effects of being kind and positive in even the most trying situations.

Mary Dean Posted 9 months ago

So proud to say of course that describes Heather! Always looking out for someone else. Congratulations.

Libby McGraw Posted 9 months ago

Heather Giel is the definition of a life changer. Truly one of the greatest...from coach to teacher to mentor, she helped me grow into the person I am today. And I know many people who can say the same thing.

Tessy Flannery Posted 9 months ago

Carrying on the Murray family tradition of taking care of the people in her community. An excellent choice for this award!

Grace Lillibridge Posted 9 months ago

I have never met a woman such as Mrs. Heather Giel. She teaches me how to be a better me. She loves each and one of her students and takes the time to know them personally. She’s a true educator, she cares about her students, in school and out of school. Mrs. Giel volunteers her own time to give back to the community. She really is an incredible person.

Ashley Posted 9 months ago

I’m proud to call Heather my cousin, friend, and role model. From a young age, I have always looked up to Heather. I wrote a paper for my middle school English class in which I named Heather as my role model and who I aspired to be when I grew up. Heather has a heart of gold and brightens every life that she touches.

Morgan Posted 9 months ago

I had the pleasure of having Mrs. Giel as a basketball coach for 6 years and a teacher for 4 at her previous teaching position. It comes to no surprise that she has earned and is so deserving of this recognition. We were always student-athletes, students first. She implemented study tables and student evaluations with our teachers throughout the season so that we all maintained a strong grade point average and could be successful on and off the court. We learned discipline and leadership as her players and by the assigned reading she gave us every season, that has helped develop our work ethic and motivation as adults. The connections and friendships I gained playing under coach Giel are still some of the strongest friendships in my adult life. We still laugh at one daily obligation of an "encouragement partner". Each day we picked a teammate to encourage all day long - tests, school, practice and life. Those girls are still my encouragement partners today and we continue to support and love each other 10+ years later!