LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Diane Hernandez

Position: Junior High Language and Literacy Teacher
School: Global Academy of Phoenix
School District: Alhambra Elementary School District
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

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Diane Hernandez was nominated by her colleague, Theresa Killingsworth.

As a wife and mother of four boys, Ms. Hernandez understands the importance of family. That means being there for each of her students, both inside and outside the walls of her classroom. Ms. Hernandez has served as a teacher and instructional coach in the Alhambra School District for 17 years. She is dedicated to her profession, her colleagues, her families, and most importantly, to her students.

One example of this is the conversation she had with her students during the pandemic at the end of the school year. Ms. Hernandez could not resist her persuasive students when they begged her for more time and learning, so she created the Lobo Literacy Club. 

Each week during the summer, the club holds virtual meetings to discuss what they've read and share thoughts. They also enjoy activities relating to whales and the hearing impaired, since these are focal topics of their first book. Connected activities include creating blackout art, exploring the world of whales, researching whale conservation centers, and learning sign language. But that's not all! Mrs. Hernandez is scheduling virtual meetings with whale conservationists and American Sign Language experts.

Ms. Hernandez has served as an integral part of her district's 5-year strategic planning committee. She has served on her district's summer assessment and wellness committees, as well. She has been a recipient of the Superintendent's High Five Award, the Catalina Spirit Award, and her district's Excellence in Education award. Ms. Hernandez is most proud of her four boys, who have received an Alhambra education and have grown to be caring, respectful young men.

It's not uncommon for Ms. Hernandez to use her precious time to serve others. Since 2016, she has given up her spring breaks multiple times to serve teachers, families, and students in the Dominican Republic. She travels with a mission team of teachers who provide professional development to teachers in four elementary schools. In addition, she teaches English classes at a university in San Juan de la Maguana, and she works with teens at Crece Instituto de Inglés during the weeks that she is in the country.

"Ms. Hernandez truly deserves to receive just a little bit of what she has given to children and families during the past 17 years she has spent as an educator," said Killingsworth.



Comments (22)


Katy Long Posted 1 months ago

Dianne Hernandez is a top-notch teacher and an even better human. She does everything with 100% heart and effort. Her passion, positivity, and integrity set her apart from the rest. She is the best!

Kassandra Lizarraga Posted 1 months ago

My son was not motivated for school at all...... last year in Ms.Hernandez class i saw a spark in my son that in the 8 years of education i never thought he could have!. Life changer could not be truer words! She will forever be in our life story , thank tou for your amazing everything!

Kristi Jones Posted 2 months ago

Diane is dedicate to Her family, friends and students. She is a servant leader, loved by students and staff. Diane goes above and beyond to make you feel special no matter who you are. The joy she shares is contagious.

Marcela Romero Posted 2 months ago

It is certainly a pleasure to know Mrs. Diane Hernandez. Her commitment to education is exemplary of what every educator worldwide should aspire to accomplish. Her selflessness and passion has impacted so many that I am not sure we can even begin to comprehend what a difference a person like her makes in the lives of students and their families; educators like Diane are the kind that make dreams come true for those who otherwise have no hope. Her students have wowed me! They do things that I wasn't aware were possible for kids in Jr. High! As a parent, I love every time I am invited into her classroom to see what project they are working on; it makes me excited for my children to be her students one day. I don't see this type of inspiration among students in other places, and I can tell you that it is because she pours all of her heart and soul into her community. She sets the standard high for those of us entering education and I am blessed to have her as a colleague willing to help guide me. Thank you Diane!

Maria Martinez Posted 2 months ago

I met Mrs. Hernandez years before she actually became my teacher and since then she has been a wonderful person who you learn to consider not only a friend but family. She shows you the love and passion she has for teaching in many fun ways! There wasn’t a day that I would ever lie to my momma about my stomach hurting and not wanting to go to school because thanks to Mrs. Hernandez she made me feel so welcomed and gave me that reason to go to school and learn. She makes you feel as if your at home and each and everyone of us are her family not just students. I have been knowing her for over 15 years and know for a fact I can still count on her for anything! I am thankful and lucky to have had such an inspirational person in my life!

Erik Roa Posted 2 months ago

Mrs. Hernandez is the Best Teacher I have ever had. In Class she taught us in a way we all could learn and understand what we were being taught. She is a very caring Person. And see’s and treats all her Students like her own Kids. I took a wrong turn in life and Mrs. Hernandez did not judge me and helped me get on the Right Track. I am a better Person now because of her!

Marissa Posted 2 months ago

Diane Hernandez was my mentor during my last semester of college. Her classroom is a very special place. She continuously fostered an environment where not only students could learn, but where students believed in themselves and treated one another with kindness. As my mentor, she took the time to understand my teaching style and needs in order to give me feedback that I could apply right away in my teaching. She is also a wonderful mother and is really in tune with listening to the hearts of children.

Kimberly Aguilar Posted 2 months ago

I had the privilege of being Ms.Hernandez’s student for 2 years and since then, I have grown to love her more than a role model but also as a person and dear friend. She was the light to many of my junior high days. She allowed me to express myself and feel protected on our girls group. I thank her always for being part of the reason why I am currently an educator as well. ??

Kim Young Posted 2 months ago

I was lucky enough to be Diane’s student teacher. I remember her saying she was nervous about getting another student teacher due to her past experience. I am glad she did, I remember how positive and inspiring she was in her 6th grade classroom. Her students love her and those kids believed they were a family. She taught me how a smile and be the person my students need. Diane understood the importance of building a rapport with her students but also the community her students live in. I am thankful and lucky to have Diane as my mentor teacher.

Janet Ankrum Posted 2 months ago

Diane is one of those teachers that everyone aspires to be like! She noticeably goes above and beyond her calling to be a teacher! She is passionate about working alongside her students as learners and contributors to authentic research and projects. Diane posses real problems facing our youth and our planet and acting as a facilitator, allows students to critically think about viable solutions, design their ideas, and test their products. Diane not only supports the acaedemic and emotional success of her students, but has made many lasting contributions to fellow teachers as well! Diane is an extraordinary person who has positively changed so many lives!!

Grace Hardy Posted 2 months ago

Mrs. Hernandez was my elementary school teacher. She was always there for me and she taught me everything I needed to know. I remember she taught a lesson about the solar system and any other teacher would have made us read a book. However, that was not the case with Mrs. Hernandez. She set up the room like a solar systems and let everyone be the “SUN” that the planets orbited around. I loved how she kept the students engaged while also having fun! She is one of the only elementary school teachers I still talk to and for good reason. She is always encouraging me with everything I have been achieving in life. So with that being said, Mrs. Hernandez should definitely get this award. She is more than qualified and even more of a great teacher!!!

Chawna Anderson Posted 2 months ago

Diane goes out of her way to show kindness and care. She does things with a selfless heart.

Theresa Mease-Londono Posted 2 months ago

Diane Hernandez gives freely of herself with authenticity, dedication and grace to her family, friends, students and community every day. She embraces challenges with humor, positivity and encouragement for those around her. She is most deserving of this recognition. I know because I am one of the fortunate people who get to work with her.

Marva Myers-Ray Posted 2 months ago

Diane is amazing in every aspect of her life and deserves this award. As an educator she is enthusiastic, energetic, understanding, observant, thorough, available to other educators, and makes everyone feel comfortable. As a friend she is dedicated, trustworthy, dependable, and so much more. As a wife and mother she is tireless and fearless, and does everything in her abilities to be sure they have the best of everything. I last worked with her in September 2013 however I love following her posts etc as they are always encouraging.

Melinda Brashear Posted 2 months ago

Diane Hernandez is amazing! She puts 100% into everything she does. She is the ultimate life changer for anyone she meets!

Landey Posted 2 months ago

One of the most caring and smartest people I know. Diane leads with her heart and gives all she has to her family and students. She deserves anything and everything as she will just give it back to the students.

Alexandria Esparza Posted 2 months ago

Diane Hernandez is the most passionate and supportive teacher I have ever had the privilege of meeting. She creates a home in every classroom for her students. As a former student, I still remember all of the activities and talks I’ve had with her. It has been 13 years since I have met Ms.Hernandez, and she is still the best teacher I’ve had. She deserves this award because she pours her heart into her work. She teaches each child as if they are her own.

Alexis Lopez Posted 2 months ago

Of course in life we all need mentors, well one of my favorites. You see teacher don’t always get credit for they do for a living sad thing but they don’t !? Mrs. Hernandez gave up her personal and family time to grade papers, prepare lessons, and attend conferences. Tell me my extra work means a lot. The compliment will certainly mean a lot to me It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts…it is to teach them to think, if that is possible, and always to think for themselves. Thank you so much for teaching me ! Love you !?? Ps. Alexis Lopez??????

Melody Hodges Posted 2 months ago

Diane Hernandez is a beautiful example of personal and professional excellence! Walk into her classroom at any given time and you will hear deep discussions, curious questioning, and laughter. She is truly a hero in action!

Pam Escobedo Posted 2 months ago

The first time I met Ms. Diane Hernandez, I had just become an administrator in her building. She was carrying her fourth child, and I was addressing one of her students. I learned very quickly how passionate she is about her students. She is more than a teacher to them and loves them as if they are her own. Many of them have become lifelong members of her family and continue to visit years later. Her own family is integrated into her school family. Her boys have the good fortune of going to school where mom teaches to keep them close, but also because she enjoys being part of schools with a family dynamic. She is a part of building those family relationships with her colleagues, especially when she invites them to serve in the Dominican with her. I was fortunate to serve with her on one such trip. She was so loving with the children and such an amazing model for the teachers we served. Ms. Diane Hernandez is innovative, smart and has a beautiful heart. She has touched the hearts of many children in her career. She has enriched the lives of all people she meets. So many are fortunate to call her teacher, and a special few are blessed to call her friend.

Tammy Grimes Posted 2 months ago

Diane is a friend I have known for many years. Her commitment to her professional and her students sets her apart from other educators. She is an outstanding human being and a great teacher. Every student that has gone through her classroom is lucky to have called her their teacher.

Theresa Killingsworth Posted 2 months ago

Ms. Hernandez is an amazing mother, educator, humanitarian, servant leader and friend. She truly deserves this recognition.