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!"


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Comments (9)


Amanda Rothwell Posted 3 days 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 6 days 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 14 days 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 15 days ago

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

Laura Williams Posted 16 days 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 19 days 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 20 days 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 20 days 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 20 days ago

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