LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Sandie Spotts

Position: Retiring Educational Assistant
School: W. Verne McKinney Elementary School
School District: Hillsboro School District
City, State: Hillsboro, OR

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Comments (41)


Dan Shelley Posted 8 months ago

In the 12 years I've worked with Sandie I've always known her to be all-inclusive,a good friend,and the epitome of a great teammate! I believe it's safe for me to say that all of us in the McKinney community will miss her greatly... Enjoy your retirement,Sandie.You more than deserve it!

Laurie Posted 8 months ago

Sandie exudes warmth, kindness and positive energy. She always has a smile on her face and a gives you genuine greeting when she sees you. She really connects with students and adults alike and makes people feel welcome and important. I know my kids will always remember Mrs. Spotts and their talks about the Blazers. I can only imagine how many other students will remember Mrs. Spotts and the impact she has had on them. Many times I’ve seen Sandie drop everything and go help when someone needed it. She will certainly be missed a great deal at McKinney! And she is so deserving of recognition as a Life Changer!

Krisi Johnson Posted 8 months ago

My Aunt Sandie has always been a bright spot in my life. I lived with her and my uncle for a summer and couldn't believe how much joy one person could have, she greeted everyone from her grocery store clerk to the farmer's market peach-stand worker with love and kindness. When my father was on hospice, she took time away from her work and family to fly to Texas and keep our spirits up. I remember the best moment was in the produce section of a local grocery store, away from the sad energy of the house, we zipped around mounds of carrots and ripe peaches, selecting each vegetable with love and promise that something good would be whipped up. I love my aunts selflessness and know she has touched countless lives.

Laurie Posted 8 months ago

Sandie exudes warmth, kindness and positive energy. She always has a smile on her face and a gives you genuine greeting when she sees you. She really connects with students and adults alike and makes people feel welcome and important. I know my kids will always remember Mrs. Spotts and their talks about the Blazers. I can only imagine how many other students will remember Mrs. Spotts and the impact she has had on them. Many times I’ve seen Sandie drop everything and go help when someone needed it. She will certainly be missed a great deal at McKinney! And she is so deserving of recognition as a Life Changer!

Dana Barnhorst Posted 8 months ago

I worked with Sandie for three years teaching Title I reading at McKinley Elementary. I learned so much from working with Sandie. She was always so patient and kind to all of the students that she taught. The children she worked with received extra reading practice, reading skill work and positive praise. Mrs. Spotts’ helped students progress with their reading skills. It was wonderful to work with her. Our Title team threw each other birthday parties. I believe it was her idea. It always made going to work that day so much fun. I wish Sandie the best in retirement.

Braden Spotts Posted 8 months ago

It takes a lot to change a life. Life can be tough, and for most of us it’s much easier to do just enough to get by. Lives tend to resist change because of this. But if there’s one thing I know about my mom, it’s that she’s always looking for ways to do much more than just enough. Listening to her tell stories from years of working with kids, it’s immediately apparent that she has loved working with them, and they have all loved learning with her. I’ve seen and heard enough of these stories over the years to know that she’s a deserving candidate for the LifeChanger Award, but I also suspect that what I’ve heard is only scratching the surface. Retirement may be waiting for my mom, but I know she’ll keep finding ways to do more for the people in her life than any of us expect.

Gabrielle Posted 8 months ago

I have had the extreme pleasure of teaching with Sandie for over 20 years. It is very rare to encounter a teacher with so much dedication. I believe Sandie's passion and dedication stem from the fact that Sandie cares so deeply about all students. Sandie has worked tirelessly with the students in our building who need the most support. Her nurturing approach propels their growth and academic achievement. Sandie's herculean efforts are not so she can pat herself on the back and look at the raised test scores but because she sees each child as her own and pours her heart and soul into making sure her students can reach their highest potential. As a colleague, you could find no better! Sandie offers her friendship unconditionally. She is sought out when staff members are stressed or down and her encouragement has lifted many spirits. Sandie brings out the best in everyone by her example and I am honored to call her my colleague and friend.

Ana Marquez Posted 8 months ago

I have had the pleasure to know Sandie for many years, since we worked together at West Union Elementary. I was so happy when our paths crossed again at McKinney. She is the most wonderful teacher and the most thoughtful friend, always having kind words to say to everyone she encounters. Many of our students at McKinney will always remember her for the effect she has had in their lives, not only academically but spiritually. I know I will miss her greatly, but I will always be grateful for all the lessons on kindness she taught all of us at school. Now, is her time to enjoy her family and friends and I can't think of anyone more deserving of the Lifechanger of the year recognition award.

Melinda Posted 8 months ago

We absolutely love Mrs. Spotts. My children felt safe and cared for at Mckinney because of her. She set a calming tone of compassion, sincerity, and unity at the school that others followed. I can only hope to follow her example of charity and kindness. We will miss her terribly.

Lindsay Crowell Posted 8 months ago

Sandie Spotts is truly a life changer! Every person who has the privilege of knowing with her would agree. She is one of the most kind, compassionate, dedicated people I have ever met. Sandie has a heart of gold and she cares deeply for others. I have worked with Sandie for over 10 years and have seen first hand the positive impact she has on others. Staff and students alike benefit greatly from working with Sandie. Her positive attitude and caring heart are felt by all. Our school is a better place when Mrs. Spotts is there!

Steven Spotts Posted 8 months ago

For almost 43 years I've been married to this particular Lifechanger nominee and there is no question she has changed my life! One of the great gifts of that special connection is that I was able to observe her entire teaching career, from her first days as a volunteer at the elementary school of our three children, to her part time work in the school’s computer lab, and then on to her real life changing love which was helping kids learn to read as a Title One Teaching Assistant. It is a career spanning over 25 years. Of course a lot has changed about teaching during that time. More and more is asked of all our educators, fewer resources are provided, and student behavioral problems seem to increase yearly in volume and intensity. However, each morning I would watch Sandie prepare her mind, heart and body for the day ahead. She would stretch, listen to calming music, read inspiring words, and earnestly pray her life would be used as an encouragement to her students and her colleagues. Her familiar rallying cry as she headed out the door many mornings was "I'm off to take McKinney (her school) by storm." In the evenings, at dinner, she regularly regales me with stories from her day. Mostly they are humorous interactions with children, funny things they would say, or great gains they were making in learning to read. But she also shared the wonderful relationships she had with colleagues, the problems or crises they faced together, the solutions, victories, and even failures which are part of the life of any school or educator. We called them the "pows and wows" of the day. Over the years I came to know many of her colleagues directly, and some vicariously, as she would share the many meaningful interactions that made up her day. Sandie is a people person and a gatherer. She comes by that naturally since her father was the beloved and longest serving mayor of a small town in Oklahoma. Like her father, she meets people naturally and engages them in conversations reflecting her genuine desire to know them. Of course, this desire applies to the children she teaches as well. Every year she would make a concerted effort to learn the names of every student (~500) in her school. I’m not sure she was ever perfect in that quest but oh, so close. Seldom do we go anywhere in town and not run into one of the McKinney kids who are thrilled to see her. Of course, this often means an extended stop as we meet and greet the family or friends of that child also. Yes, when it comes to life changers, I’m biased. But then I’ve seen Sandie change the life of her nine year old nephew when she introduced him to a book series and motived him to love reading. He is now a college graduate. She changed the life of the little girl across the street when she helped tutor her in reading and that girl is now a very successful student. She changed the life of her hair-stylist’s son when she not only tutored him in reading but also in ping pong, developing and reinforcing his love for both. These kids and countless others have come to love reading and begin their academic careers on solid footing because of her skill and commitment to help them, but even more because of her love for them. As most all educators know, it is ultimately relationship that changes people and she is relational to her very core. Sandie’s already begun to help with the teaching of our five (soon to be six) grandchildren as they learn to read. Our oldest grandson (age 5) loves to FaceTime with his Nana in the evenings while she reads to him. Retirement will give her the opportunity to create even more space for reading fun with our little ones. Though she is retiring from the career, students, and colleagues she loves, she is ready to take all that she has learned from that career, those students and those colleagues and apply it to a whole world of new opportunities. One final comment occurs to me. Sandie loathes to seek attention and operates unnoticed (“under the radar”) more than anyone I know. She was honored with our district’s Crystal Apple award a number of years ago but would give me the “look” if I ever brought it up in public. I’m certain her perspective is that during her career she gained far more than she gave and will definitely grieve the loss of daily contact with her students and colleagues. There’s no telling if she’ll forgive me for offering this up-close perspective on the culmination of her career. But I’ve decided it’s worth the risk!

Molly Bromley Posted 8 months ago

I have had the privilege of working with Sandie for 12 years now, and I can honestly say she has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever met. She never hesitates to go above and beyond for students and staff. She works with our littlest students down in kinder, all the way up to our oldest in sixth grade, ALWAYS with a smile and a caring heart. This last winter, Sandie heard of a family in need and immediately went to the store to pick up hats and gloves. THAT'S the kind of person Sandie Spotts is. From the moment she walks through the doors of McKinney Elementary, it immediately becomes a better place filled with warmth, friendship, and compassion. She will be GREATLY missed but is so incredibly deserving of retirement. Best wishes, sweet friend!

Roseanna Ling Posted 8 months ago

Sandie is truly one of a kind. She is a person who leaves an impression, because of how great her kindness is. Her caring nature, creates a safe and welcoming one for students, parents, and staff. She cares to check in on your even though you are new and does her best to make sure all are included. Thank you, Sandie, for making our school so special! You are amazing and it was great getting to know you this year!

Ally Ford Posted 8 months ago

Sandie is my mom and life-changer is perfect description of her. I don't know anyone who is more committed or loyal to the causes she believes in, who is more long-suffering with the process of change, or who genuinely cares about people as deeply as she does. Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of my mom starting conversations with total strangers—passengers on airplanes, the bank-teller, a woman she sees regularly in line at the grocery store, the checker at the grocery store, or really anyone who was open enough to receive her kindness and friendship. By the end of the conversation, my mom would know this stranger's entire life story, remember all of their children's names, gotten their phone number, and then of course weeks later would still be praying for those kids by name. One of the things I admire most about her is that it's not just "talk" or "show" for her. Her genuine compassion and empathy is always followed up by action. I can't think of anyone more deserving of recognition.

Lori Killen Posted 8 months ago

Sandie, we’ve known each other for many years now and I can safely say I’ve never met anyone more caring, empathetic, and dedicated to the children at school than you have proved to be. You give it your all every single day. But it doesn’t stop there. Your compassion and caring extends to your family, your coworkers, friends, and people you may never even meet. You’re always thinking of ways you can improve others’ lives and celebrate their accomplishments. In short, you make me want to be my best possible self by the example you set every day.

Dan Shelley Posted 8 months ago

In the 12 years I've worked with Sandie I've always known her to be all-inclusive,a good friend,and the epitome of a great teammate! I believe it's safe for me to say that all of us in the McKinney community will miss her greatly... Enjoy your retirement,Sandie.You more than deserve it!

Julia Nichols Posted 8 months ago

Sandie is truly a life changer. Not only is she a committed educator, she's also a compassionate friend to all. Some of the things that make Sandie so incredibly special: her ability to bring people together, her genuine kindness towards others, her commitment to her school, and the way she leads by example. I've learned so much just by listening to the way she interacts with students, always showing such interest, love and respect. Sandie has been there for me on difficult days, being a steadfast friend and reminding me of my strengths and potential. She sees the best in all of us and is always there to lift us up. For her friendship, I am so grateful. I can think of no one more deserving of this award!

Chris Heath Posted 8 months ago

Sandie has been such an incredible inspiration as a teacher, colleague, and friend. I am so thankful for all she has taught me over my years at McKinney and getting to work with her. From the morning cafeteria duties, to watching how she gets the Kinders ready for Specials after lunch, and every time I see her in between. Her patience and kindness are unprecedented. She is certainly going to be missed but her legacy will be at McKinney always. I hope she enjoys the well deserved time with her family and especially her grandchildren. I am honored to have gotten to work with her and wish her nothing but the best in her retirement. Cheers to Sandie!

Karen Doucet Posted 8 months ago

You will surely be missed! You are so loved by our kids and staff!!!?? Your are kind and loving, and a wonderful teacher and friend. Always have a smile and kind words for everyone! You served the kids well and now God has something different for you to do ??????sit back and enjoy ??

Tracy McInally Posted 8 months ago

I only recently met Sandie when I was transferred to McKinney this school year. However she make me feel like I had been along time staff member with her friendliness and positive attitude. Every day she would make a point to say “Good morning Tracy” and ask with sincerity and a smile on her face and smiling eyes, how I was doing, EVERY SINGLE DAY. There aren’t many people who go out of their way to make you feel important and appreciated like Sandie does. Our students and staff love her and she will be greatly missed. I’m so grateful our paths crossed and wish her every happiness in retirement.

Crystal Lubcke Posted 8 months ago

Sandie Spotts is an amazing person. She truly cares about the kids by making education fun and stepping up to help them in all sorts of ways. Her kindness extended to everyone, parents, teachers, and students alike. I’m glad for the example she set for my children. I hope she enjoys her retirement and am glad she will get to spend more time with her grandkids. We will miss her at Mckinney.

Reyna Lara Posted 8 months ago

Sandie is one of a kind. I will miss her wonderful smile every morning. Sandie has such a kind heart always ready to help and knows exactly what to say. I am very happy I was able to know her and work alongside with her for the past year, Sandie is such a loving person I'm excited she will now be able to spend more time with her wonderful grandchildren that she loves! Sandie will always be a friend that I hold close to my heart.

Tina Feldhaus Posted 8 months ago

Sandie thinks of the other person first. Each "How are you doing today?" to "How can I help you solve that problem?" is filled with genuine care, interest, and love. She encourages each student and peer in ways that help us to understand that our thoughts and contributions have immense worth. Her calm approach has been a beacon to follow during difficult situations and her intentional praise reassures all of us that mistakes help us to grow and become better. Sandie truly exhibits those most important qualities of "I see you. I hear you. You have value." What incredible lessons - value, worth, and growth! The world is truly a better place with Sandie in it.

Karen Lawson Posted 8 months ago

Sandie's kindness and carrying were felt by every child and adult she came in contact with. Her passion for helping the students to learn and grow inspired the kids and the teachers around her. She made everyone feel like a special individual who was worth celebrating. Her daily smile could be counted on and would lift the spirit of all with whom she shared it. She has a gentle spirit and inspires everyone around her. Her positive attitude shines through when she worked with students or giving a helping hand to a peer.

Samantha Minter Posted 8 months ago

Sandie was the third person I met at McKinney Elementary when I started as an AmeriCorp Member in 2016, and she sought me out, made me feel needed and as a teammate. I still have our tortoise from the Tortoise and the Hare themed room. Thankfully we stopped there, but we both have such a desire for creativity that it bonded us. Then the years of Soccer games and see your family grow has only connected us more deeply. Sandie is kind, sincere, and looks out for everyone that crosses her path. I know our students miss her dearly, and will miss her warm smiles in the morning and as they leave. But none of us will forget the warmth she shared, and the mark she has left on our lives. She deserves to be recognized for how above and beyond she goes to make our students feel special, seen, known, and appreciated.

Kendra Posted 8 months ago

I am so thankful that Sandie has a chance at officially being recognized for the giving, positive, encouraging, and supportive person that she is for staff, students, and the community of W. Vern McKinney Elementary. Sandie is ready and willing to go above and beyond no matter if it is to something as simple as decorating for our staff lunch potluck to working with the hardest kiddos due to social/emotional and cognitive limitations. She helps all students that she crosses paths with to feel valued, capable, and successful. It was always tough to have a student move to my group after having Sandie as their teacher because she had built a strong relationship with that student and they all truly felt loved and cared for by her and felt a loss when leaving her group. I can't capture in words, the positive energy that Sandie puts out. She is the kind of person that takes a simple activity or event and makes it extra special. She doesn't just say yes when asked to do things, she asks to do more all of the time. One example of this is that she has always volunteered to have staff events at her house. I don't know what we will do without her, she's just always done so much! We all want the best for her because she has given her best to each of us, but it will be super hard to not see her smiling face at school. We will all miss her calm, positive attitude, her creative and thoughtful work. She has been an asset to the team and so deserving of recognition of not just a year of trying to make a positive, life-changing difference in her community, but she has spent her life spent doing just that. The difference she makes does change lives for the better. Thanks, Sandie for all you do and all your are. You will always be an inspiration to me and have a special place in my heart.

Sabrina Waining Posted 8 months ago

Sandie has been a live changer in the simplest, yet most impactful, ways. It may be that she greets you and asks about your day with sincerity, perhaps just listening and at other times offering just the right amount of encouragement. It could be the patience she offers, allowing students to work through big feelings or tackle tough problems. It is often the praise she gives, unsolicited and intentional, reminding adults and students of their strengths and potential. It is most certainly, the random, anonymous acts of kindness to celebrate a birthday or acknowledge an important day. Sandie has provided for our staff and students that critical, underlining concept that at the end of the day, people never forget how you made them feel. We will never forget Sandie, for she has definitely changed our lives!

Sylvia Bryant Posted 8 months ago

It has been a great honor and joy to know and work with Sandie Spotts at McKinney Elementary School for many years. Sandie is a solid rock of patience, kindness and unfailing positivity at all times, no matter the circumstances. She gives 100% to whatever task she is given and goes above and beyond what is expected of her. She has inspired me to rise to her level of excellence in my professional and personal life as well. She always made me feel special and was genuinely interested in what was going on in my life. This warmth and kindness was shown in how she treated her students as well. You cannot find a more deserving person for this award!

Mandee Wilmot Posted 8 months ago

Sandie is my mom and she truly is a life-changer. She is deeply committed to caring for each individual she comes in contact with and she does it with such joy, grace and intention. From the bank-teller, to the grocery store checker, to family & friends, and staff & students, she finds a point of connection and makes sure others feel seen and known. She started out volunteering at my school in my early elementary years and her passion for the students and her presence and impact were immediately apparent. Her warmth and positivity is unmatched and we see the result of her influence each time we go anywhere in town, as she’s endlessly greeted by students and those whose lives she’s touched. As she retires this year, she has such grief over the days she lost with students/staff to COVID. I would love for this award to be a reminder to her that her impact is immeasurable and her legacy of joy and care for others will be remembered.

Cassandra Scoble Posted 8 months ago

I first met Sandie 15 years ago when I was a first year teacher. We worked together at a low income school where she supported students who needed extra help. Mrs. Spotts was always known for her smile and kindness. She not only impacted students' lives during the day, but she touched the hearts of everyone she worked with. I will never forget our k-2 gatherings where she would sing songs with the group and get staff and children smiling, singing, and laughing. Hillsboro School District is losing a wonderful educator, but I know she will still be in the community supporting all of us and now she has extra time to spend with her grandchildren, children, and husband. Many thanks to Mrs. Spotts for your dedication, kindness, and love.

Jennifer Robbins Posted 8 months ago

Sandie Spotts is one of those people who knows how to make others feel special. She remembers to celebrate life and take care of others. She remembers all the little things about people and truly cares about your response when she asks, "How are you today?" Sandie also quietly inspires other students, teachers and her co-workers to be their best selves. I have watched her teach students not only to read but to learn. She does so with an infinite amount of patience. She never lets a student give up on themselves.

Julie Mullavey Posted 8 months ago

I want to be more like Sandie Spotts!! She is kind and gentle, humble and caring. She generously planned baby showers, retirement parties, and staff gatherings for our staff at McKinney Elementary. I will always remember the recipe for her famous "Sprite Punch!" More importantly, Sandie poured her heart and soul into her students. She planned careful reading lessons, asked her students questions about their lives outside of school, and was an expert at relationship building. The world needs more people like Sandie Spotts!!

Justin Welch Posted 8 months ago

Sandie is one of the most positive, caring, and loving people on the planet. The love she gives to her students and coworkers truly makes their lives better and the impact she has on her community is powerful force for good. I'm lucky to have gotten to work with her!

Sabrina Waining Posted 8 months ago

Sandie has been a live changer in the simplest, yet most impactful, ways. It may be that she greets you and asks about your day with sincerity, perhaps just listening and at other times offering just the right amount of encouragement. It could be the patience she offers, allowing students to work through big feelings or tackle tough problems. It is often the praise she gives, unsolicited and intentional, reminding adults and students of their strengths and potential. It is most certainly, the random, anonymous acts of kindness to celebrate a birthday or acknowledge an important day. Sandie has provided for our staff and students that critical, underlining concept that at the end of the day, people never forget how you made them feel. We will never forget Sandie, for she has definitely changed our lives!

Tristin Burnett Posted 8 months ago

Sandie Spotts has the "wow" factor! She is a beautiful, caring person on the inside, and her values and kindness beam outwards to all that meet her. As the Principal of McKinney Elementary, Sandie was one of the first faces I met when joining this team. Over the phone she communicated how important McKinney's students and staff are to her, and when we got to meet in person her eyes and smile told me immediately how special she is to all of us, too! It's hard to imagine our school community without her daily presence; she has positively impacted thousands of students throughout her career and been by the staff through the phases of their own lives. She is the definition of a Life Changer and so worthy of this recognition. Sandie- many congratulations on your retirement, may you enjoy every minute of it!

Stephanie Pyrah Posted 8 months ago

Getting to know Sandie the last couple years has been so fun! I had the opportunity to work long term with her this year and she's an amazing team collaborator. I loved learning from her experience but also trying new things with her. It was also amazing to watch her interactions with the kids. She knows little details about them that showed she cared. She noticed that my daughter would drink her milk at lunch but then not feel well afterwards, as a mom I was shocked that someone would remember that over time and make that connection! Sandie will be so missed at McKinney!!! Congratulations and here's to spending more time with those grandkids!

Kim Jansen Posted 8 months ago

Sandie is the most wonderfully kind and warm person! She makes an effort to learn everyone's name quickly and then greets each person by name with a authentic smile, telling them she's happy to see them that day. Her positive attitude and genuine friendliness spreads easily to those around her. She truly cares about the community around her. Sandie is the type of person that I would want to spend all day with and our kids are so lucky to have had time with her at school. We will all miss her so much!

Stephanie Gerig Posted 8 months ago

I have only had the privilege of working with Sandie during the school year, however I have known of her long before due to the positive impact she has had on my own children. She is a kind and caring individual that gives so much of her time, love, and dedication to each one of her students that Work with her each day. She knows each child by name, by need, and by interest! Sandie is truly an amazing individual and she will be greatly missed at McKinney. She is one of those people that will go above and beyond anything that is asked of her in a genuinely kind manner. She never asks for anything in return and would literally give you the shirt off her back if it was needed. Earlier the school year her daughter suffered a major heart attack, and Sandie was asked to step in and care for her and her three children during the recovery process. Unfortunately, before she was able to return to school, COVID-19 shut everything down. in the weeks leading up to school closure, there wasn’t a day that went by but students didn’t ask about when Mrs. Spotts was coming back. Please consider her for the life changer of the year award!!

Evan Cumpston Posted 8 months ago

Our students were blessed with Sandie's steadfast dedication and kindness, and she's been an important part of the McKinney team for many years, impacting countless students' learning.

Sara Retzlaff Posted 8 months ago

Sandie is one of those "once in a lifetime people" who positively change your life and the lives of all she encounters. Personally, Sandie has encouraged me, helped me, and walked beside me as teachers, as moms, and as community members. Sandie has been a bright light in thousands of students' lives. She teaches, encourages, provides, and truly believes in the good in all. By providing students with the skills to read, compute, and believe in themselves, Sandie has opened doors for students and their futures. Sandie's word is her bond--her actions match her intent. In my opinion, you could not find a better person to be named "Lifechager of the Year".

Miranda Posted 8 months ago

Sandie, Thank you for being a kind, caring, and positive force at our school. You always know how to bring people together and make people feel special. Thank you for inviting us into your home and making coworkers seem like family. I appreciate you from the bottom of my heart and I will always think you are "quite a big dill". Haha, had to throw a pickle joke in there for you! Love, Miranda and Family