LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Shelly Hester

Position: Principal
School: Dorsett Shoals Elementary School
School District: Douglas County School System
City, State: Douglasville , GA

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Shelly Hester was nominated by her spouse, Andy Hester.

Mrs. Hester has been in the education profession for 27 years. She was a teacher, instructional coach, and assistant principal before beginning her current role as a principal. She has attended her students' sporting and extracurricular events and worked hard to build positive relationships with her students and families. Mrs. Hester is always seeking ways to make her faculty and staff feel appreciated. During these unprecedented times, she has extended love, grace, understanding, and unending support to her faculty, staff, students, and parents. When she is at home, she gets excited about returning to work every Monday because she always has something planned to help increase the morale at her school.

Mrs. Hester holds high expectations for herself, her staff, and her students. She has been a part of moving schools in a positive direction, not only with climate and culture, but with student achievement and test scores. She has positively impacted schools by ensuring her teachers have what they need and students get what they need. Mrs. Hester has reached out to the community to get business partners to help celebrate students and staff. She's also actively involved at a local college where she speaks to college students who are seeking positions in education. She helps coach and mentor them as they approach graduation and start their search for a teaching position.

Many of Mrs. Hester's previous students have graduated, attended college, and are now married with their own children. She has attended their high school and college graduations, weddings, and baby showers. She stays connected with her previous students. Some of them are even teachers themselves, and they have reached out to tell Mrs. Hester that she made a positive impact on their lives, and that they want to pass that along to others, which is why they became teachers.

"Watching Shelly lead a school and the love she has for her school, teachers, students, parents, and community has also made a difference in our home," said Mr. Hester. "Our daughter is now a teacher, and she will tell you it is because she wants to love a job just as much as her mom. Shelly will tell you that education is not a job to her. It is her life and what she loves. Shelly is a LifeChanger, and she is creating more LifeChangers who are following in her footsteps."



Comments (35)


Barbara Camacho Posted 15 days ago

It is such a pleasure to have Mrs.Hester as our school principal. She goes above and beyond to help her students succeed and to help the staff in any way she can through these difficult times.She always has a smile and a positive attitude and will try to find a solution to whatever problem she is faced with.

Donna Patterson Posted 16 days ago

I have known Shelly Hester for many, many years. She is not only a great principal, but was an excellent teacher and educational trainer. Mrs. Hester is well known throughout the school district and is loved by everyone. She truly cares about her students, parents, teachers and staff. Mrs. Hester is so deserving of the Life Changer award.

Lori Blevins Posted 16 days ago

Blessed to see from a distance the love and thought Shelly has put into her job. To her education has been a calling and from the efforts I have seen it's all about making a difference. To teachers she has led them as one who's wisdom is appreciated and listened to. She has gained their trust. To students her go for it attitude has helped make them confidant of their successes. To parents, she is thoughtful and supports them as they in turn learn to support her and all the difficult decision an administrator must make during these difficult times. Life changer of the year...yes!

Shannon Stacy Posted 25 days ago

It is such an honor to be able to write about my amazing principal, who has been a 'life-changer' to all the lives she has reached. Shelly Hester hired me last year as a 5th grade teacher at her campus. I immediately discovered her deep passion for education. She genuinely cares about all of her students and her staff. She goes the extra mile and gives 110% each day. She is never one to complain and has created such a positive environment at our school. Her bubbly personality as she passes students and staff in the hallways is contagious. Although it's been a stressful year in education for all, you would never know it from Shelly. She has stayed upbeat and has focused on ensuring that her students and staff have a successful year. She is also a great listener, always willing to help solve problems that arise, and takes time to let her staff know how appreciated they are. I have had times when she's come into my room and left me such a positive, kind-hearted note. She also takes time to recognize the accomplishments of our students; she takes time to announce goals students have achieved on our morning announcements and often even hand-writes cards and letters to students who have met goals or exhibited good behavior. I was especially surprised last year when I noticed that she had hand-written a unique note to all of my 5th graders on their report card. She has amazing leadership skills, and I have learned so much from her. "Life-changer" is definitely a word to describe her. I am extremely fortunate to have her as my boss. Shelly has made such an impact on me and for that--I'm forever grateful.

Shawnee Brown Posted 26 days ago

Shelly hired me as her office manager. She is always thinking about the staff and students. She is positive and believes in recognizing the success of staff and students.

Richard Stone Posted 27 days ago

What a awesome privilege it is to share a few words about this life-changer, Shelly Hester. It would actually take much more space to adequately describe all of the outstanding attributes that she possesses. I had the privilege of working closely with Mrs. Hester in my role as a school system administrator. I was a Special Education Coordinator and she was an assistant principal at Winston Elementary School. Her positive attitude was refreshing and welcomed. Mrs. Hester cared for every child and had a special love for students with learning difficulties. She knew her students well both professionally and personally. She was data driven, a competent record keeper, knowledgeable about learning styles and educational accommodations, and supportive of actions to help each child learn. Even more so, Mrs. Hester cared for each individual child and knew them well. She desired successful outcomes for all her students. Living in the Winston community, I was also aware of the very positive relationships she held with the teachers and staff at her school. This was the same sentiment at every school she worked at. She exemplified this in her family as well. I have always been impressed with her positive attitude. She demonstrates that positivity in all facets of life. After my wife, who was a 25 year elementary teacher, passed away with cancer, our youngest son remained at the school where she taught and I was able to stay involved there. It was home for us. The principal at that time was also a positive and caring person. When she took a position at the county level, I was anxious about who could come in, preserve the family atmosphere, and lead progressively forward with heart. When I heard that Shelly Hester had accepted the position as principal at that school my fears dissolved. I could think of no one better to take that role. And she has made it her own. Even though I am not involved with that school now, I try to keep up with them. Everything I hear and see is very positive. Mrs.Hester makes a favorable difference everywhere she goes. Thank you Shelly Hester for all that you are and all that you do. Award or not, you are a Lifechanger!!

Sherry Blair Posted 30 days ago

Shelley Hester has always gone the extra mile to help and support anyone that crosses her path. I met Ms. Hester when our school was on the verge of becoming a Title 1 school. She was the ILT assigned to us. Ms. Hester gave us countless extra hours of her time, and she created many materials and gave freely to us. She encouraged us every time that she met with us. She is such a positive and encouraging person that everyone that meets her leaves feeling that he or she can do anything. She is a blessing to all and no one deserves to be honored more than Shelley Hester.

Lisa Adams Posted 1 months ago

She is a good Christian woman and she is a good friend to talk to I'm glad I got to know her

Ivey Posted 1 months ago

Inspirer, change maker, kind hearted, understanding, determined, fighter, and the list could go on. These are only a few words that I remember describing her when I was in her 1st grade class and if I had more time and space there would be plenty more. She has not only changed my life by her kind spirit, but had also inspired me to chase my dreams of becoming a teacher. She is the one, even in first grade, that made my destiny of being teacher true. I am now in my second year of teaching and it’s because of teachers like her that I believed in myself and followed my dreams.

Sheila Miller Posted 1 months ago

Shelly and I have shared many types of experiences. We shared classes at Mercer University earning our B.S. in education. Later, we shared teaching opportunities. We worked on several committees together. I truly enjoyed collaborating with Shelly to develop multi-leveled lesson plans for our classrooms. Eventually, we became administrative colleagues. Shelly is a very dedicated educator and strives to bring out the best in everyone, students, teachers, colleagues, parents, and the community. She has blessed many in her career.

Rene Spiess Posted 1 months ago

Mrs. Hester goes to extraordinary lengths in the lives of her students. She was my daughter's 2nd grade teacher, but years later she and her husband sent a hand written note to my son when he was going to thru a very trying medical condition. And then later when my son was in high school he received another encouraging note to overcome his medical condition to go on to succeed in his athletic career. It meant more than anything to us all. She is an exceptional woman of God and it shows in everything she does.

Don Remillard Posted 1 months ago

Shelly Hester is an outstanding educator. As a teacher she created an environment where all students learned at a high level. As an Assistant Principal and now as Principal she is a role model to students and staff alike. She is highly respected by all who know her. As a former Superintendent of Schools and a 38 year veteran in the Douglas County School System I am proud to say that Shelly Hester is one of the finest people I have ever worked with.

Eston Jennings Posted 1 months ago

I had the honor of knowing Shelly when we worked for the same school system in Georgia. We were in the same cohort when working on our education specialist (Ed.S) degrees. This time together allowed me to not only grow and learn with Shelly but to learn from her. She is a dedicated and passionate educator and principal. As a principal, educator, and friend, I would not hesitate to work with or for her because her enthusiasm and attention to detail is unparalleled. She is compassionate, kind, and dedicated to her students and staff. Her scope of work impacts the lives of those around her. She IS making a difference and should be considered a life changer because she truly is one of the best.

Cory Johns Posted 1 months ago

She has been an excellent teammate, colleague, and friend. Mrs. Hester’s professional approach to instruction earns respect from teachers, administrators, students, and parents. As an administrator, she is able to creatively engage and challenge stakeholders. Mrs. Hester is constantly seeking out new methods and resources to help make school more meaningful, authentic, and relevant for students. In addition to her excellent skills as an administrator, you will find Mrs. Hester to be a very sensitive individual who cares deeply for her students and faculty. Mrs. Hester continually works hard to develop positive and lasting relationships with everyone she comes in contact with. When I her school, I see a very positive atmosphere with many smiling faces moving throughout the building. She works hard to ensure that students enjoy coming to school each day and has many positive reward systems. The culture and climate of a building is very important to her. I’ve heard her say, “happy teachers make happy students, and happy students make happy parents.” She believes of you have strong relationships the achievement success will follow. Congratulations Shelly!

Tina Lynn Hatley Posted 1 months ago

Shelly is an excellent administrator. She is truly an instructional leader in her building. She is very organized and data driven. She believes in celebrating the success of students and staff. I’ve been able to be a part of seeing her improving climate, behavior and discipline at the school. The students, parents and faculty have great respect for her. I have found Shelly to be one of the most caring individuals that I have had the pleasure to work with. She goes above and beyond to make sure that the needs of the students are met. She works diligently with her faculty and staff to ensure a quality education is given to each student. Shelly does an excellent job leading her staff. She handles difficult situations and critical conversations with grace and integrity. Shelly is exceptionally organized and has her school organized as well. She does a great job delivering instructional strategies through professional learning to her staff. She follows through with her expectations using examples of what she expects. Shelly knows how to find strengths in others and she allows them to use their strengths to make the school the best place it can be. She is not afraid to get into the trenches and she is willing to do anything she is asking others to do. I’ve worked for administrators who want to give demands and orders and they force others to see them as the top of the school, but Shelly has a way of gaining the respect of others which makes them want to follow her lead. People follow her by choice and desire, not by fear. It has been wonderful watching Shelly and serving along side her.

Kylie Carroll Posted 1 months ago

I was privileged to serve as Ms. Hester’s assistant principal for two years, and I personally witnessed her unique passion, commitment, and ceaseless work ethic, as an elementary principal, on a daily basis. Ms. Hester is a natural motivator, and she intentionally helps others find the positive in even the most challenging situations. She is gifted in crafting win-win opportunities, and she helps others identify, celebrate, and leverage their strengths in the school environment. Ms. Hester values a positive school climate, and she fosters an atmosphere of engagement, recognition, and motivation. Ms. Hester is also extremely knowledgeable in curriculum and instruction, and she has a heart for student learning. She understands the power of student engagement, and she leads teachers in planning and implementing research based instructional strategies across all content areas. Ms. Hester’s knowledge of effective classroom practices allow her to provide ongoing feedback for growth, and she perfectly combines the role of both evaluator and coach when supporting teachers. Ms. Hester is extremely dedicated to her work and the success of those alongside her. She holds herself and others to a high level of accountability. With her tireless “can do” attitude and endless work ethic, Ms. Hester inspires those around her to work harder. As my principal, Ms. Hester modeled servant leadership, and she cheerfully embraced both the burdens and joys of a school leader. Ms. Hester’s commitment, passion, and experience make her a notable consideration for any leadership position; however, it is her heart for teaching and leading that truly sets her apart. Ms. Hester played a crucial role in my development as a school leader, and she continues to be a trusted and respected mentor and lifelong friend.

Ann Vogt Posted 1 months ago

I met Shelly when she was a freshman in high school. She was a hard worker, and friendly and kind to everyone. She still lives those qualities today. She’s one of those students you never forget.

Nicole Martinez Posted 1 months ago

Shelly is a great principal!! She listens and is supportive of her staff! And she loves having fun with our kindergarteners!

Tanish Springer Posted 1 months ago

Shelly is a great educator and leader. She pours into all people around her. Her passion for education and children is evident from just speaking with her.

Vanessa Gittens Posted 1 months ago

Shelly was the instructional coach for SWES for a short time, but her time there did not go unnoticed! She was always so sweet, knowledgeable, helpful, supportive, and VERY INTELLIGENT!! I am proud to see her name as a LifeChanger, and I believe she deserves this award!! CONGRATULATIONS, SHELLY!!!!

Tracy Scaglione Posted 1 months ago

Mrs. Hester is one of the best principals I have ever worked with in 19 years as an elementary media specialist. During these especially tough times of having virtual and face-to-face learning in a pandemic, Mrs. Hester has kept a positive attitude, communicates regularly with all stakeholders at our school, and focuses on the well being of students and staff during these challenging times. She is well organized, resourceful, and possesses an incredible work ethic. She loves learning and celebrating student achievements with daily shout outs on the morning announcements. She strives and succeeds in making our school a student focused, positive environment for learning. I'm so thankful she is our school principal. She has made one of the toughest school years so much better with her leadership and love for Dorsett Shoals Elementary.

Sharon Vargas Posted 1 months ago

I have had the joy of serving along side Principal Hester through PTA. She is a great listener, inspiring leader, and works endlessly for Dorsett Shoals. Her generous heart for her students, staff, and family is evident. No matter the obstacles, Principal Hester generously pours into her team, uplifts those around her, and isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves to get the work done. She absolutely deserves this reward.

Karen Cole Henley Posted 1 months ago

I have known Shelly Hester for all of her teaching career. She made an impression on me from the very start. As a remarkable student teacher, she taught my daughter and made her mark way back then! I have taught and been involved in education for over 30 years. I have watched Shelly grow and gain experience in her field of expertise! She has been an excellent teacher, an outstanding administrator, and amazing mentor pouring her heart into many students, parents and fellow teachers throughout her years. I have watched her in action as a hands- on mother and parent. I taught her daughter and got to know her in a more personal way as well. Shelly is a force to be reckoned with. She is full of energy and leads with confidence snd compassion. She sets high goals and goes after them professionally and personally. Her love of family and her strong faith is woven into her character that just shines through in all she does. She has and is continuing to truly change lives and make a difference. She would represent this Life Changer title in a powerful way. I am honored to recommend her.

Emily Whorton Posted 1 months ago

Mrs. Hester hired me for my first teaching job. She showed me so much kindness and trust with my PreK students. Because of her, I got to enter into the career of my dreams. I’ll be forever thankful for her!

Kayla Curl Posted 1 months ago

Shelly was the first principal I had the pleasure of working for, who believed in me and hired me as a first year teacher. Under her leadership, I was able to grow as an educator. She pushed me to take on leadership roles within my school. I would not be the teacher I am today without Shelly’s encouragement and trust in me. She is so deserving of this award!

Polly Hurd Posted 1 months ago

Mrs. Hester was one of my favorite and most memorable teachers! The culture that she established in her classroom was not only one of learning, but one of a family. She treated us all as though we were her own. She was one of my first inspirations to become a teacher myself, and she is one of the examples that I choose to model my classroom after today. She is an excellent choice!

Wynne Henderson Posted 1 months ago

Shelly was my teacher partner and friend at Beulah Elementary School in Douglasville, Georgia. She was also my daughter's second grade teacher. Now my daughter is teaching! I've loved following Shelly's career over the years and seeing her grow into such an influential leader. The world is a better place because of Shelly Hester.

Hannah Garrett Posted 1 months ago

Shelly was my principal for two years at Sharp Creek Elementary school. I too, have witnessed her zeal for education, tireless work ethic, and passion for people. She gave me my start as teacher when she hired me in the spring of 2016. She hired me on the spot and I was blown away. She was ever encouraging to me in my beginning years of teaching and continued to make me feel like I could do this job. Even when I was not under her leadership anymore, I felt like I could call her for support and encouragement; I didn’t for one moment feel like I was inconveniencing her. This is because helping teachers and students is what SHE LOVES. When I find myself doubting my abilities, I think back to encouragement that I have received from the different mentors in my life. She is one of those mentors. I would love to someday work with her again. Shelly Hester is definitely a life changer and deserves this honor.

Ireland Loudermilk Posted 1 months ago

My most favorite teacher EVER. She was like my other momma and she is the absolute sweetest woman i know!!! I love her and will always have a special place in my heart for her!

Lea Ann moore Posted 1 months ago

Shellie Hester was an amazing inspiration to my daughter ivey Moore. The summer after Ivey’s first grade she missed Mrs. Hester every night. Ivey is now a 4th grade teacher in Douglas county. I feel like Ivey wanted to become teacher because of what a wonderful teacher Mrs. Hester was.

Gabe patterson Posted 1 months ago

Shelly was my teacher in 3rd grade then she bumped up to assistant principal.She was one of my favorite and amazing teacher I had.

Mike green Posted 1 months ago

Shelly was my first born we had lot of fun growing up with her sister Shelly was the oldest she always wanted to teach others n she did she even showed me you can achieve any thing with the right attitude n to go for it she did n we are so proud of her love you my oldest baby girl.

Mckenzie Posted 1 months ago

This is my mom. She has always loved her job. I see her passion for what she does and I hope that one day I find a career that I love as much as she loves education.

Claudia Posted 1 months ago

Shelly is my mom and I am so proud of her. I am in education today because of what I witnessed in her as I was growing up. I can tell that she loves what she does and she truly loves her community, teachers, students, and parents.

Lisa Rainwater Posted 3 months ago

This is so well deserved for Shelly! She absolutely loves what she does. I was so excited when she came to Dorsett Shoals and she has not disappointed us. She is well loved and we know she loves us, every student and staff member. I am proud to call her My Principal!!!