LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Lynn Shelton

Position: Unique Pathways 1 Teacher, Grades 3-5
School: York Road Elementary School
School District: Rock Hill School District
City, State: Rock Hill, SC

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Lynn Shelton was nominated by Jenny Mitchell, the parent of a student.

"Shelton's Super Heroes." That's what Ms. Shelton has always called the students in her class. Year after year, for 45 years, her students have lived up to that title because she made sure they achieved goals that made them feel like real-life super heroes. The attention to detail in her classroom might escape you, but the desks are arranged so that every sensory need is addressed, and the noise level is attended to in every activity. Key words are spoken with kindness, and Ms. Shelton is somehow everywhere. Sometimes with a light touch, sometimes a stern look, sometimes deep eye contact, but always with love.

"Lynn knows she has made an impact on her students' successes through the years, not just because she hears it so often while they are in her charge, but because she regularly has contact with students and families from every class in every school where she has taught," said Mitchell. "We will be one of those families. I will be the Mom who keeps her updated on my son's progress over the years, and he will be a student who will report his achievements to Mrs. Shelton because she genuinely wants to know. She was instrumental in ensuring he had a real launching pad and the tools he needed to soar. She'll want to hear that he's carrying out her rallying cry, 'Be the best you can be!'"

Throughout her years at York Road Elementary, Ms. Shelton has been an ambassador for the school and the teaching profession by serving as a mentor for over 40 student interns from 3 separate colleges. In addition, she hosted high school seniors in her classroom for years for the Rock Hill School District Teacher Cadet Program. She has always been proud to be a special needs teacher. She has taken great pride in sharing her expertise and love for her school with students who would soon choose a college major. What better way to recruit talented teachers with a heart for exceptional children than by modeling outstanding teaching skills, a strong moral compass, and sharing amazing results?

"As young educators entered the work force following graduation, Lynn served in mentor and evaluator roles for first and second year teachers once again," said Mitchell. "I can only imagine her pride in knowing that she positively impacted so many young lives and advanced the teaching profession in the process. It's a small wonder that she was selected Teacher of the Year for York Road."

Ms. Shelton has carried her leadership ability and commitment to her students deep into the Rock Hill community, as well. Since 1973, she has participated in the Special Olympics every single year.

"I have been privileged to see first hand the joy this participation has brought to her students. It was heartwarming to witness her with just as much excitement on her face as there was on the faces of her student athletes," said Mitchell. "Even after 47 years, her enthusiasm has never changed."

Ms. Shelton further served the Rock Hill special needs community as an officer of the local branch of the Council for Exceptional Children. Her advocacy and leadership certainly were not limited to her home town. At the state level, she was an active member of the South Carolina Education Association. She also served as a member of the South Carolina Department of Education committees for the development of SC Alternative Assessment and  extended state standards. Further, as a National Board-certified teacher for 20 years, she served as a National board Evaluator. Her commitment to the teaching profession runs deep. The extent of the impact she has made in the areas of recruitment, training, development and advocacy cannot be measured. 

"On a purely personal note, Lynn has been a mentor to me as the mother of a spirited, smart special needs child," said Mitchell. "She has respectfully guided me along my own path as an advocate for my son; sometimes with redirection, sometimes with a pat on the back, but always with a reminder that I was doing well. It has been life-changing to have had a teacher with decades of proven success with exceptional children take me and my son by the hand. I count myself among her students."

Comments (20)

Diane Duncan Posted 2 months ago

I have known Lynn Shelton for over 30 years and we were colleagues for many of those 30 years. Lynn is a one of a kind teacher. She is one of a kind in that you just don’t find many teachers like her anymore. Lynn has a passion for teaching. She gives it her all and puts her heart and soul into it. Her students are like her family. She doesn’t teach just to have a job and a paycheck, she actually enjoys teaching and it shows. She has the type of qualities that you want to see in a teacher such as: compassion, consistency, kindness, enthusiasm, fairness and patience. Lynn also treats her students, their families and her colleagues with respect. No matter their background or status in life. Lynn makes sure her students are treated equally and fairly when it comes to rules and regulations within the school district. Lynn is not one that is afraid to speak out and question things when others are afraid to do so. She does this to make sure her students and others are given the tools they need to be successful. She also does this to make sure her colleagues are treated fairly. We need more teachers like Lynn! Lynn is an exceptional teacher and one that is very deserving of this award!

Angela Constantine Posted 2 months ago

Lynn is a remarkable person and educator. She has worked tirelessly for her students for many years. She has always been an advocate for her students. She strives to make sure each child meets his full potential. I have been so lucky to witness her love and dedication for the last four years.

Ashly Cartner Posted 2 months ago

To be recognized as being a “Life Changer” is the least we can do as a community. I haven’t known Mrs. Shelton for long but for the time I have she made an ever lasting impact. To watch her with her students is something else! She also never hesitates to offer advise or assistance to a colleague. I’ve appreciated being able to work with her and will certainly miss her. She is most deserving of this award!!

Laura Norwood Posted 2 months ago

I have known Lynn for over 30 years as an educator and more recently as a friend and fellow teacher. Her love for and dedication to her students is beyond words and extends beyond the school walls. Watching her with her students was inspiring- she saw the star in them and they gave her their best. As a peer and friend she was always there to help or just listen . She is most definitely a Life Changer!

Tammy Tyree Posted 2 months ago

I've worked in many special needs classroom through the years. Lynn's impact on me is huge. She never does or did anything halfway. She was literally "all in" every day of the week. It's been my honor to work alongside of her for a couple years now. Her past students will always remember the love that Lynn showed to each and every one.

Karen McDaniel Posted 2 months ago

I've known Lynn for many years. One of her adult children was in my third grade class. She gave the same encouraging touch to her now, successful daughter as she does for each student, parent, and friend that makes us all never forget. Lynn has a special way of drawing you in, telling a funny story with her smiling, cutting eyes and is someone that you want to be around, waiting for that next exciting tale. She sees the real, special life of her students and gently takes care of things that leaves "this teacher" wanting to be more like her. We see this award as being well deserved, but nothing takes the place of the "Miz Sheltons'" awards that have been given to each heart she has molded as a life changer.

LeAnne Gardner Posted 2 months ago

Lynn Shelton is an irreplaceable treasure!! I have had the privilege of being a former special education teacher and know the value of someone as kind and compassionate as Lynn. It’s no secret about burnout in our profession, but Lynn’s light has never dimmed, it’s only gotten brighter! Thank you for sharing your passion, time, talents and love for over 40 years...well done good and faithful servant!

Geanice Paul Posted 2 months ago

Lynn is definitely a life changer. I have enjoyed working with her and also being her friend. She loved her job. She put her heart and soul in it each day she came to work. She loved each of her students as well as others as if they were her own. She is an awesome teacher!!

Tanya Irby Tucker Posted 2 months ago

What a treasure to our children and families! Lynn has brought years of love, wisdom, and nurture to so many of our children through the years. She is the most deserving person I know to be recognized as Life Changer of the Year!!! So Blessed to have worked with her and honored to call her my friend.

Marie Heckard Posted 2 months ago

Lynn and I have shared many students over the years, and she never tires of supporting her students. She will do whatever it takes to help them be successful. It has been my pleasure to work with her! She goes above and beyond her job as a teacher and is an advocate for all students.

Susan Missy Whiting Posted 2 months ago

Lynn is a treasure to work with because she puts her students first and strives to find opportunities for her students to excel. I value her as a friend and colleague.

Megan Posted 2 months ago

I am another one of the generation of Special Ed teachers that Lynn has raised up. From interning in her class to working beside her for 6 years she taught me how to teach, how to stand up for myself as an educator, and how to advocate for our students and their families. She has impacted a multitude of lives in and out of the classroom and deserves all the recognition in the world!

Garnet Posted 2 months ago

Lynn is so deserving!! What a wonderful teacher!!!

Terry Hagen Posted 2 months ago

I’ve worked with Lynn and her students for YEARS! She truly is one of the best I’ve ever met.

Ricki Williams Posted 2 months ago

Lynn’s love for her students is boundless. She is an encourager and an advocate for students and parents. I worked with Lynn for over 10 years. No one deserves this recognition more.

Pam J Zeigler Posted 2 months ago

Mrs. Lynn Shelton is the most loving and caring special needs teacher. She is a true advocate for everyone of her students, and she continues to be involved in their lives long after they leave her classroom. I had the honor to be a colleague of hers for many years, and I saw the passion she had for teaching . Lynn is so deserving of this award. After 45 years of giving of herself to special needs students, she is a true hero herself.

Meghan Caldwell Posted 2 months ago

I cannot think of a better person to be selected for this prestigious award. I am one of those high school students that Mrs. Shelton so willingly opened her classroom door for when I was a Teacher Cadet. I always knew that I wanted to be a Special Education teacher, but her enthusiasm and love for the profession and her students confirmed that each time I walked in her classroom. I was actually her teacher cadet when she found out that she became nationally certified. Her students were aware of the hard work she had put into this certification and would ask her if she had heard anything. I remember the day her letter came, she waited to open it with her class. We all screamed with excitement when she read “congratulations!” I remember her telling those students that she had to open it with them because “without you, it wouldn’t have happened!” She also included them on her limo ride and special dinner celebration, because that is the type of passionate educator that she is. In addition to all of the accolades that Ms. Mitchell has shared, there is one more that I would like to include. For the last three years, one of our local high school special education classrooms has a pre-prom dinner, where students are allowed to invite one educator that has impacted their life. Mrs. Lynn Shelton has been invited EVERY year. Not only has Mrs. Shelton changed and impacted the lives of someone like me, a once Shelton teacher cadet to now SpEd colleague, she’s changed the lives of her students, their families, our community and our state. Well done, Shelton, well done!!

Alex and Meredith Sandstrom Posted 2 months ago

Mrs. Shelton has been a blessing as a teacher and advocate for my son and I appreciate her guidance and support. She is a one of a kind teacher and person who makes the extra effort to connect with her students and parents.

Jade Lavender Posted 2 months ago

Mrs. Shelton is an all around amazing person and such a great teacher & advocate for her students. She was an amazing resource for me during my 1st & 2nd years of teaching! I am so glad that our paths crossed and I was able to experience her passion for those students with exceptional needs and to learn so much from her!

Megan Sexton Posted 2 months ago

I was a Winthrop intern of hers many many years ago. Lynn taught me how to be a special needs teacher, how to work with parents, and how to connect with students. She truly is the whole package person- a wonderful mother, mentor, friend, and teacher.