LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Lori Short

Position: CI Classroom Teacher
School: Sonoma Elementary School
School District: Harper Creek Community Schools
City, State: Harper Creek, MI

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Lori Short was nominated by her principal, Shalen King-Short.

"Lori has a proven history of changing people's lives.  I can firmly attest to this as a colleague, a friend, and her principal," said King-Short. "I have been working with Lori for only two short years, but she has impacted my life as a new principal of an elementary school building. From the first time I worked with her, to the first struggles I had as a principal, I knew that I could count on her wisdom, strength, calmness, and insight.  She is willing to take risks in a world that sometimes leaves educators feeling unsure and nervous about being risk takers. She is a mentor to teachers within the building and has created a learning environment that really does fit our school and district mission to educate, empower and equip students. In her case I believe she does this with staff and families, as well."

"Lori is the union representative for our building, and she works to make sure staff feel supported and that I, as the building leader, support the staff," said King-Short. "She is able to have meaningful, reflective conversations with me and other team members to promote a feeling of support and belonging."

"Lori is outgoing and loving, and she cares about each student who walks though our doors," said King-Short. "I joke with her because she is thinking of retirement, but I am hopeful we can keep her as a part of our team a little while longer.  Her passion for teaching is inspiring.  I am truly blessed to have made a lifelong friend, and to have been able to work with a LifeChanger...Her work will go on to touch students' lives for many years to come."

Ms. Short's history as an educator is below, and it shows how she always goes above and beyond to support students and herself as a learner. 

In 1981, she graduated Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in special education, with a focus on cognitive impairment. She held internships teaching kindergarten at Battle Creek Public Schools and MoCI at the Doris Klaussen Developmental Center.

In 1985, she graduated Western Michigan University with a Master's degree in occupational therapy (OT). She held internships in public school OT and at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Afterwards, she secured a job as an occupational therapist at Harbinger of Grand Rapids. This was a non-profit agency using the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) model to work with adults with significant mental illness. The purpose was to provide treatment using a team approach to assist people in managing their mental health symptoms, provide support to live successfully in the community, and reduce the frequency of hospitalizations.

In the later half of the 1980's, Ms. Short got married and had two children.

In 1990, Ms. Short and her family moved to Portage, MI when her husband secured a position with Upjohn Co. For a brief time, she worked as an occupational therapist at the VA Medical Center in Battle Creek, MI,  where she worked with inpatient
Veterans with mental health issues.

In 1991, she was offered a position as supervisor of a new ACT team for the non-profit agency ACT of Kalamazoo (now InterAct of Michigan, Kalamazoo). This was the same kind of work she did in Grand Rapids. She held the supervisor position for five years and had her third child during this time.

In 1996, she made the decision to leave ACT and be a stay-at-home parent for a while. In 1998, she and her family moved to St. Joseph, MI due to her husband's career, where she did some substitute teaching.

Several years later, she and her family moved to Vernon Hills, IL, again due to her husband's career.

In 2005, Ms. Short worked as 1:1 aide for a young man in first grade with ASD at Aspen Elementary School. She began working on fulfilling requirements to get her Illinois teaching certificate.

In 2006, she received the certificate just in time to return to Battle Creek, MI, as her husband took a position with Kellogg Co. In 2007, she applied for a kindergarten position at Sonoma Elementary School, but the principal called and asked if she would be interested in interviewing for the CI position. The rest is history!

"Lori has cultivated a climate at Sonoma and in Harper Creek Schools that includes all students as learners," said King-Short. "She does not give in or give up on any students.  She knows that all students can learn.  Lori is a LifeChanger!"



Comments (19)


Sarah Piotrowski Posted 2 months ago

Lori is a truly incredible teacher, colleague, mentor, partner and friend! She has taught me so much in my years as a special education teacher here at Sonoma. I am honored to work with her. She is passionate about what she does and is always continuing her own personal education and reflecting on her teaching and practices. She really is a life-long learner for herself and others. As a fellow colleague, I have always felt truly supported by Lori.

Cyndi Mead Posted 2 months ago

Lori is such an incredibly caring teacher and human being. As her previous principal I was inspired by the patience and humor she showed to not only her students, but also to their parents and her colleagues. She works to make her classroom a true community where her students know they are safe and respected. Her special education students need many repetitive learning opportunities and I consistently marveled at all of the creative ways she came up with to teach the same concept. She is a life-long learner herself and truly a life-changer to others. I’m proud and honored to have had the opportunity to see her in action - Congratulations Lori!!

Lindsey Cook Posted 2 months ago

I feel incredibly honored to work alongside Lori. She is a wonderful teacher and a great friend. Congrats, Lori!

Lisa Savage Posted 2 months ago

Lori is a true life changer. She gives her students experiences they may not have without her. She inspires and guides. She encourages them to work hard. She meets their individual needs in every aspect of life and learning. She is a treasure!

Christine Posted 2 months ago

Lori is a huge blessing to her students and the school staff. She always goes above and beyond.

Lisa Savage Posted 2 months ago

Mrs. Short is amazing for so many reasons. She cares for her students and works so hard to meet their individual needs. She gives them experiences they likely wouldn’t have without her. She guides, encourages, and inspires. She is a treasure! She is a true life changer!

Kelly Chapin Posted 2 months ago

Mrs. Short really deserves this honor. I've worked with her for many years and have been impressed by her compassion. Teaching isn't just what she does, it's who she is.

Rob Ridgeway Posted 2 months ago

As the District superintendent, I am continually impressed with Mrs. Short's continual care and support for her students. She is a special education teacher that is also a very special person. I am honored to call her a colleague. Lori Short is a true Life Changer #lifechanger.

Laura Ann Williams Posted 2 months ago

Lori is a passionate educator! We are so lucky to have her on our Harper Creek Team!

Emily Kane Posted 2 months ago

It is an honor and privilege to work along side Lori. She has a heart of gold and unwavering patience. Her strong desire to see each of her students succeed is admirable. Lori leads by example on a daily basis and always finds a reason to smile! She is a true life changer and very deserving of this award.

Amanda Rothwell Posted 2 months ago

Out of every Teacher I have met in the time my children have been in Harper Creek Schools Only one comes to mind Mrs. Lori Short. She was my son Tryston's teacher kindergarten through 4th grade, He is now a Senior in High School. She is the most amazing Teacher hands down and deserves to win this! Miss you Mrs. Short Hugs~Amanda & Tryston

Pam Verville Posted 3 months ago

Lori has a great understanding for what her students' needs are, and truly knows how reach them at their individual level. She also has the patience of a saint. It will be a big job to find someone to fill her shoes when she decides to retire. You are a gift to all of us!

Erin Willard Posted 3 months ago

Lori is truly a life changer! She cares very deeply for her students and is a fierce advocate for them! Lori is very willing to share her expertise so that we can all grow as a community of learners. Thank you Lori for what you do for our students, Sonoma and Harper Creek!

Melanie Posted 3 months ago

So glad you are being recognized for the great work you do. Kudos!

Laura Williams Posted 3 months ago

Lori so appreciate all you do for students and your colleagues! You truly have a heart for your kiddos! Proud of you!

Jennifer Henrich Posted 3 months ago

Lori is such a wonderful teacher. Over the years I have consistently witnessed the incredible way she interacts with all her students and the patience she always maintains in difficult situations. She is so deserving of this honor.

Kay Campbell Posted 3 months ago

Lori Short is a wonderful person and dedicated to each of her students to assure they are successful. My son came into her class in kindergarten and is now in his last year at Sonoma before starting middle school. She has been nothing but awesome to him and he loves her dearly.

Kris Gilbert Posted 3 months ago

It is an honor to work along side such an amazing educator, such as Lori. Her passion and dedication to her students and the future of education is inspiring. She leads by example, and has a heart and the natural ability for helping to grow those around her.

Jessica Posted 3 months ago

Lori is an amazing asset to our staff, students, and families. She is so deserving of this recognition!