LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Vera Zinnel

Position: Fifth Grade Teacher
School: Bowling Green
School District: East Meadow School District
City, State: Westbury, NY

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Vera Zinnel was nominated by a student, Seamus O'Brien.

"Mrs. Zinnel has one of, if not, the best approach to teaching," said O'Brien. "In our responsive classroom, she made learning fun by doing learning activities with us instead of simply giving handouts. She doesn’t give traditional teacher punishments, such as removing recess. She believes keeping a child seated while their friends are outside playing is wrong."

"Mrs. Zinnel would talk to us and let us sit our "chill zone" when we needed a break," said O'Brien. "To get us up and moving, we would "Pack, Stack, and Move." When COVID-19 hit and forced school to move to online, she was making worksheets to keep us educated. After lessons without hands-on learning, she has something to keep us active like stretching or a banana dance. She is one of the only teachers I know who was doing online meets every day since the week school was cancelled due to COVID-19. She made me comfortable to push myself to the next level."



Comments (18)


Ofelia Posted 3 days ago

There’s so much I can say about her but you still wouldn’t understand how great of a person that she is and great example of how you should be a teacher. She helped me and my kids in so many ways. She tutored my son and allowed my daughter to sit in on the session so my mom wouldn’t have to take 2 separate trips to the school. She also helped my daughter when things where getting hard for her in school. She doesn’t think about it twice to advocate for a student because she truly does see them as her own children. She also helped me when times where getting rough she was someone I could talk to. She is also super funny and if you like DIY’s she is the best partner to have my kids treasure her crochet pencil and dragon. She knew how to get through my kids and make it so they understood the material very few teachers do that. She deserves this and so much more.

Maria Posted 3 days ago

I have had the pleasure of being the principal at the Bowling Green Elementary School where Mrs. Zinnel is on staff. It has been a pleasure working with her for my 17 years as the principal. She goes way above and beyond for her students and their families. Mrs. Zinnel is well versed in the curriculum and a life king reader and life long learner. Aside from what she brings as an academic talent, she is caring, compassionate and hilarious. Her students love her sense of humor, making everyday fun and exciting. She treats every child like an individual, always learning to find ways to meet their individual needs. All of her lessons include meaningful activities. As a colleague, Mrs. Zinnel worked as a team with her peers during COVID-19. Technology is just another one of her expertises. Mrs. Zinnel never hesitates to do what is right for children. She designed and sewed a dress for a student for graduation. Due to a family situation, she took this child and her siblings under her wing. She goes out of her way no matter what time of day, what season it is or what the circumstances are. Children can trust her and rely on her honesty and love for them. It has been a wonderful experience working with Mrs. Zinnel. She knows just the right formula for each student. Love You Vera ZINNEL. It is without hesitation, that I highly recommend her to get this award. Mrs. ZInnel is most deserving of this.

Liz Quijano Peralta Posted 3 days ago

Mrs. Zinnel has been an inspiration to her current students as well as her past students. She's not only a great teacher but a great woman. Thank you for all you do! You put your heart and soul into teaching. But most importantly you love your students and that means the world to us!

Maria Posted 4 days ago

Mrs. Zinnel is full of spirit! Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Mrs. Zinnel’s principal. It has been a wonderful experience having Mrs. Zinnel on staff. When I know a student needs to be inspired or cared for tenderly or firmly, Mrs. Zinnel is my teacher. She has the right touch. She has a wonderful sense of humor and engages her students in meaningful activities. Mrs. Zinnel is a life long learner always reading and learning new methods to meet the individual needs of her students. She is well versed in the curriculum and is well read. Mrs. Zinnel goes way above and beyond for her students and their families. She is the rock star of teachers. Not only, is she kind, caring and compassionate to her students and families, she assists her colleagues with technology during this COVID-19 crisis. She is a team player. Over the years, she has helped so many children. Mrs. Zinnel designed and sewed a beautiful graduation dress for a student who couldn’t afford a dress. She kept the student in the conversation about the dress the entire time, selecting fabric and making decisions together. This is just one example of her devotion and dedication to her students. It is without hesitation, that I strongly recommend Mrs. Zinnel receive this award. She has been a life changer for all students who have been so lucky to have been in her class. Love you Vera!

Gina walker Posted 4 days ago

What can I say about Vera zinnel!! My older son was lucky enough to move from 4th into 5th with her and my middle son had her for 5th. Three years of teaching my kids taught me that there are teachers willing to go above and beyond for their students. Mrs Zinnel made every child feel special. She made learning fun and my kids truly benefitted from having this wonderful woman as their teacher. We can never repay her and will always be thankful.

Kristin DeLuca Posted 4 days ago

There are not enough teachers left like this!!! I wish they all had this dedication!

Colette DeVito Posted 4 days ago

Mrs. Zinnel is a warm and caring educator. My middle guy was very lucky to have had her for a teacher. She has a special way of drawing the best out of person. I was truly hoping for my little guy to have her as a teacher but, she has decided to retire. Well as happy as I am for her to embark on her newest journey, I’m saddened to see her go....we need more loving, caring teachers like her!! She’s definitely one of Bowling Green’s best!!!

Maura Posted 8 days ago

Such an amazing teacher, she deserves an award! We need more teachers like Mrs Zinnel!

Amanda McLarnon (previously Buonomo) Posted 8 days ago

I had the pleasure of having Mrs. Zinnel when she was Mrs.Guadagno! She was always one of my most favorite teachers and inspired me to become one myself. After 13 years of teaching experience, I still think about her and her impact in my chosen career path! She helped to mold me into the life-long learner I am today :) THANK YOU!

Molly Posted 8 days ago

I was hoping to have Ms. Zinnel as a teacher next year for 5th grade but since she retired I will not have the pleasure of having one of the best teachers that Bowling Green had. I did have the opportunity to have her as my crochet club advisor and she has taught me something that I have come to love. During quarantine I had a hobby to help me pass the time and I owe it all to her. She is an amazing person and teacher and she deserves the very best. She will be surely missed at our school next year.

Daryl Ernest Posted 10 days ago

I totally agree with Seamus. He always looked forward to Ms Zinnel’s online classes. What a positive and reassuring online presence she made. I have never had the opportunity to meet this extraordinary person but I can tell she will be missed by many, many more students like Seamus.

Aunt Liz Posted 10 days ago

Nice job Seamus! So happy you had a great experience!

Seamus O'Brien Posted 10 days ago

I think Mrs zinnel should win since she always encorperates hands on learning

Laura O'Brien Posted 10 days ago

We love you Mrs. Zinnel! Thank you for all of the amazing work you do for our kids!!!

Katerina Rivera Posted 28 days ago

I nominated Mrs. Zinnel because she is always supportive of her students.Mrs. Zinnel always goes above and beyond to do anything for her students. Also Mrs. Zinnel’s personality and smile makes you want learn and I know she never has and won’t give up on you. And that is why I personally nominate Mrs.Zinnel.

Linda Szczurowski Posted 30 days ago

Very well written, Seamus. It appears we need more teachers with Mrs. Zinnel’s approach to education outside of the box. Thank you, Mrs. Zinnemann for your motivation and creativity.

Daryl Ernest Posted 1 months ago

I totally agree with Seamus. He always looked forward to Ms Zinnel’s online classes. What a positive and reassuring online presence she made. I have never had the opportunity to meet this extraordinary person but I can tell she will be missed by many, many more students like Seamus.

Linda Szczurowski Posted 1 months ago

Very well written, Seamus. It appears we need more teachers with Mrs. Zinnel’s approach to education outside of the box. Thank you, Mrs. Zinnemann for your motivation and creativity.