LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Lauren Kennedy

Position: Assistant Principal
School: Eastside Elementary School
School District: Livingston Parish Public Schools
City, State: Denham Springs, LA

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Lauren Kennedy was nominated by her friend, Sean Davis. They have known each other for nearly 30 years, growing up together and attending school together when they were younger.

"I remember meeting her for the first time a long time ago. I instantly knew she was one of those people you meet who will be a special and talented person," Davis said.

Ms. Kennedy's life of service began like most teachers, with graduation and getting her first teaching job. She began teaching at Denham Springs Elementary School, a Title I school in August 2000. She taught fifth grade there for eight years, while also coaching young ladies’ volleyball, softball and track teams. In addition, she sponsored the Jr. Beta Club, with a primary purpose of teaching students to be servant leaders. Ms. Kennedy spearheaded development programs for a variety of clubs directly benefitting the community. In August 2008, she was offered the opportunity to move to Live Oak Elementary School, where she became responsible for classroom instruction and management strategies for teachers. In this role, she expanded her involvement to include Jr. Beta Club and whole student development.

In 2010, Ms. Kennedy took on the Instructional Coach position at Eastside Elementary School, another Title I school. In that role, she served the teachers and students of the entire school. She instituted a check-in, check-out program for students who struggled with behavior. The program pairs students and adults together for morning and afternoon talks. The adults help students set goals for behavior, as well as accountability and rewards for reporting good days. She began a Math Fact Rockstar program to help struggling students gain motivation to learn their facts. She also began a Student Council to further her goal of developing servant leaders in a positive environment.

In 2013, Ms. Kennedy was promoted to assistant principal and is in this position today. She is responsible for discipline, testing staff and student morale, student data and school improvement, among other duties. Throughout her career, she has made many efforts and sacrifices

In August 2016, just as another school year was about to convene, Mother Nature had plans. The Greater Baton Rouge area, particularly Livingston Parish and its school system, were struck by exceptional and torrential rains. The Livingston Parish area received 31 inches of rain in 15 hours. Nearly 7 trillion gallons of water were dumped over a period of two days. It was a calamity and catastrophe that affected 100,000 homes and most all of the schools in the Livingston Parish System. Comparatively, Greater Houston lost 100,000 homes in an area of nearly 7 million residents. The Greater Baton Rouge area lost the same number of homes in a city of around 700,000 residents.

Ms. Kennedy did what most Louisianans did: she went to work. Many people heard through national news about the Cajun Navy bringing people to safety on boats. What people didn’t hear were the stories of the schools, homes, shelters, and government offices that were decimated during this as well. What follows is a description of what Ms. Kennedy, her school, and many of her colleagues contributed.

On Friday, August 12th, 2016, Ms. Kennedy received a message from the school superintendent stating school would be closed due to water on the roads. It had rained a lot the night before, and the district was concerned about buses being out before daylight in a high-water environment. It was still raining, but most felt it would just be a day off from school and a long weekend. On Friday afternoon, most roads were flooded, and water was entering homes. Most were raising furniture and packing valuables in attics in preparation to evacuate. Ms. Kennedy and her husband home got close to having water, but fortunately, they were spared. They took in families who were not so fortunate in the middle of Friday night. Ms. Kennedy had been through a flood during her childhood, and she had seen people show up to help her family. With great purpose and appreciation, she felt a duty to return the gift of aid to others.

The water began to recede the following Monday morning, and Ms. Kennedy gathered and coordinated a team to begin helping people deal with the shock, disbelief and work ahead. On Monday morning, she and her team cleaned up 2 of the affected homes in her neighborhood. One home belonged to a principal in the school district, and the other belonged to a teacher from East Side Elementary. The cleanup process involves removing baseboards, sheetrock and virtually everything in the home below the water line. Then, the drying process begins. More than physical labor, the greater aspect of sorting through your family’s lost belongings is a labor of emotion not easily explained until experienced. While this was going on, Ms. Kennedy and her husband, AJ, cooked everything in their freezer to feed the affected neighbors lunch and dinner for a week.

On the second day of recovery, Ms. Kennedy gathered her makeshift work crew and went to the home of an East Side Elementary student who needed help. They worked on the demolition all day, but the real damage was emotional, and Ms. Kennedy remembers giving lots of hugs.

On the third day, Ms. Kennedy set up a Facebook page for East Side students and parents to volunteer and make requests for food, aid, or anything else they needed. The response for both service and need was overwhelming, as those that could help felt great empathy to assist those that were in need. She helped to organize cooking crews, deconstruction crews and delivering crews for supplies and food. On this third day, she and her team helped over 20 families. Each morning, she organized her crew of volunteers to meet at East Side Elementary and get their day’s instruction for who needed help. They did this every day for 2 weeks following the flood. Ms. Kennedy says she was humbled by the volunteers who kept coming day after day. She lost track of the number of families they assisted because the scale of it all, both emotionally and physically, was larger than anyone had anticipated.

On the fourth day, Ms. Kennedy went to help her sister’s home who flooded.

The fifth day, another ESE teacher needed assistance, and she and her team went there in the morning. In the afternoon, it was another home.

On the sixth day, she went to two more homes.

On days 7 and 8, Ms. Kennedy was finally able to get to her mother’s home in St. Amant, LA, which had just seen its waters recede enough to get around. The increasingly normal process of deconstruction of homes and construction of resolve was needed here as well.

On Day 9, Ms. Kennedy met with the School Board Superintendent at ESE and learned they may be taking in another school that had flooded. She began planning for that integration and continued to monitor the Facebook page for supplies needed for students and teachers.

On Day 10, she went to the Food Bank at Live Oak United Methodist Church and volunteered to distribute food and supplies there. This was an absolutely incredible operation in its own right. A local grocery store and the Church teamed up to give away thousands of dollars of food and supplies to those who had lost everything. There were multiple 18-wheeler trailer loads of food, clothing and supplies being distributed on a daily basis.

On Day 11, she went to the home of her friend's mother and ripped out cabinets and sheetrock. She also recalls helping to pack up family heirlooms that could not be thrown away, regardless of the water logged condition.

On Day 12, she became a delivery person and picked up items and supplies that people wanted to donate to teachers and students whose homes were flooded.

On Day 13, she went back to the Live Oak Methodist Food Bank to volunteer.

On August 29th, 2016, every available staff member was asked to report back to campus to begin preparation for students. They were also asked to report to two other schools in the district who were flooded and attempt to salvage whatever supplies and materials they could.

On September 1st, 2016, the School Superintendent told ESE they would be taking on Denham Springs Elementary's students in preK-2 for an unknown period of time. Denham Springs Elementary took on 7 feet of water. Preparation for this began by partnering the Kindergarten teachers to make room for the new students. They put 4 classrooms in the gym, using wire and tarps to separate the classes. They collected $10,000 in donations for books, gift cards, bulletin board materials, rugs, lamps, school supplies, shelves, cubbies and toys for the oncoming Denham Springs Elementary studetns and staff.

On September 6th, the first faculty meeting occurred with the new joint ESE and Denham Springs Elementary Staff. Ms. Kennedy recalls it being a special moment for her because she had spent significant time at both schools, and they were now both under one roof. She says they laughed, cried and prayed together with lots of hugs because all of the Denham Springs Elementary teachers had lost everything in the flood and were now being asked to go back to teaching and try, in some small way, to help the elementary students process what had just occurred in their lives.

Ms. Kennedy says the outpouring of aid was something she remembers most. The hallways of ESE were filled with school supplies so teachers could “shop for free” and use these items in their classrooms for the upcoming year. There were thousands of books and supplies that students needed for their return to school. This all had to be coordinated, received and distributed, and Ms. Kennedy was an important part of a very large undertaking. She remembers this day in particular and says “it was a pretty awesome day!”

On September 10th, she remembered a second grader from St. Tammany Parish asked if he could bring some donations to the school. His mother said he asked only for pajamas, stuffed animals, a blanket and books for his birthday so that he could donate them all to the kids in Livingston Parish who had lost everything. To him, bedtime would be the hardest part of losing his home, so he wanted to make bedtime a little brighter for the Livingston Parish kids.

"He was a LifeChanger to me that day! We can learn a lot from kids," Ms. Kennedy said.

On September 12th, 2016, ESE was chaotic, crowded, emotional, and a safe haven for 750 students and 125 faculty all seeking a glimpse of normalcy. The coordination of two schools and buses worked from day one. They had to get creative with the scheduling to feed breakfast and lunch to all 750 students, but they did it. They even had recess! This was the number one request from the students. All the students made it home safely that afternoon, and step one in the return to normalcy was complete. It could be done.

Denham Springs Elementary and East Side Elementary were one school for 5 emotional and complicated months. When it was time for them to return to their normal campus, East Side went with them. The East Side staff helped them hang bulletin boards, sweep floors, and make buss signs. Ms. Kennedy remembers on the first day without the students, a lot of the staff drove over to the new Denham Springs Elementary to see the classrooms and because they just weren’t ready to say goodbye.

A little more than a year later, Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area. Déjà vu, all over again. As Louisiana was remembering the catastrophic anniversary of flooding a year earlier, Houston was seemingly upping the ante, with 55 inches of rain from Harvey. Ms. Kennedy jumped back into “show up” mode. Her school, including students and staff, collected school supplies, along with pajamas, stuffed animals and books to help the students at Bear Creek Elementary in Katy, TX. Ms. Kennedy was chosen to deliver these items to the school and saw the all-too familiar situation of teachers, parents and students needing help. She said the sweet 2nd grader from St. Tammany Parish during the 2016 flood was their inspiration to pay it forward.

"Lauren would tell you she was blessed with the opportunity to 'show up' during the Flood of 2016 and return the favor people did for her family so long ago," Davis said. "She would say she was one tiny part in a huge group of people who just wanted to help and take care of people. She would defer and say the School Board and Staff did an amazing job of getting students back to school as quickly as possible. I would say she’s right. But I’ve also met Lauren and can tell you, she was a ring leader and is hard to say no to. It was her effort, spirituality and grace that made something so difficult for so many, be just a little bit easier to manage. She and her husband AJ, I am proud to say, are great friends of mine and are certainly, LifeChangers."

Lauren Kennedy in the News:
Eastside Elementary assistant principal credits school, community for LifeChanger of the Year nomination
Eastside Elementary assistant principal nominated for Life Changer of the Year Award 
Surprise!’ | Eastside Elementary honors LifeChanger of the Year grand prize finalist Lauren Kennedy 
School holds surprise event for asst. principal to announce she is a finalist for a national award

Comments (67)

Bridget Castille Posted over a year ago

I met Lauren 8 years ago when she came to Eastside Elementary as an Instructional Coach. She has taken on many roles in my life: leader, friend, co-worker, spiritual adviser, etc. My admiration for her only increases as time goes by. If you are in the presence of her for even 5 minutes, you realize that this is person who filled with compassion for others. Her goal is to serve others in life, and her actions definitively demonstrate this on a daily basis. I can remember Lauren always offering to stay late and do our duty when buses were late or coming in to my classroom to teach a lesson so I could catch up on grading. She did this for the entire staff. Her ability to push through difficult times and lead you through troubled waters is one like no other. I can think of no one more deserving of this award than Lauren Kennedy! She is certainly one of a kind.

Cyndy Bauers Posted over a year ago

As the parent of a special needs child at Eastside Elementary I can't say enough about the love and encouragement Mrs. Kennedy provides the students at Eastside. Your concern is her concern and you always feel like she has your child's best interest at heart. She has changed the lives of so many students at Eastside. We're so proud to be Patriots!

She Creel Posted over a year ago

Not only do my kids attend Eastside Elementary, but I have the privilege of being an educator along side Mrs. Kennedy from the neighboring middle school. Mrs. Kennedy has been an incredible example of leadership among our administrative community. She leads by example. From a mothers stand point, my kids simply adore her! From math fact rock star high fives to trick-r-treating pics in tbe neighborhood with Mrs. Kennedy are their top favorites. No one in our community of education is more deserving of this Life Changer award than Lauren Kennedy. It's not about just changing the lives of our kids but about changing the lives of everyone involved with our kids. Lauren Kennedy is doing just that!

Pam Davis Posted over a year ago

I am so excited for the recognition of Lauren as a Life Changer. Being a Life Changer is who she is daily. I am honored to know her in several different rolls and am amazed at the true love that she has for others. First, she holds the roll as one of my administrators. I have seen her pour herself into the lives of the students of our school. She mentors those that need leadership skills, helps build confidence in those that are struggling, high-fives and hugs our children who are in need of some encouragement or celebration, corrects those that need guidance and always has an ear for the staff we call "family". She goes above and beyond to "check in and check out" with students who need a little "extra" accountability during the day and they respond knowing that she cares and supports them. I also know her as a friend. As a friend, she encourages me to serve others before myself. She has a heart for those in need. She willing gives time to my own children each week, as well as many others, to develop an understanding of what it is to show love and focus on the needs of others. With this group, they have learned to encourage and be supportive of friends in need. I am truly proud of her for this honor and am excited that others are learning who this amazing woman is. She is a woman of noble character, brings good to others, works vigorously, opens her arms to those in need, exhibits strength and dignity, speaks wisdom and is deserving to be honored for all she has done.

Dwayne Dykes Posted over a year ago

I was so excited to learn that Lauren would be recognized for all that she has done... though she did it with no desire to be noticed. I am the principal of a neighboring school, but look to her school as a model that we work towards each day. While she is busy with all of her own responsibilities, plus the additional activities that got her noticed for this award, she always makes time to share advice that will improve our school. She works to change lives of not only her own students, but for anyone that needs her help. While I know that this organization focuses on her accomplishments that improve the lives of children... it should be noted that she is a role model for adults as well, myself included. She is a recognized leader at school, a mother of two wonderful children, and loyal to those lucky enough to be her friends. She sets the bar high! There can not possibly be someone more deserving of this award than Lauren Kennedy.

Diane Grantham Posted over a year ago

I am so thankful to call Lauren Kennedy a friend. She came to Denham Springs Elementary as a young college graduate and immediately stood out as an outstanding fifth grade teacher. I had the privilege of teaching with her in that grade. The children and faculty loved and admired her and she soon won her place there at our school and in our hearts. It was evident that Lauren was a team player and was willing to go the extra mile for her students and for our school from the very beginning. Lauren volunteered to sponsor the Jr. Beta Club, assisted our coach in athletic events, planned all our field trips, made end-of the year videos for our class, helped with the DARE program, and participated in and eventually led a teacher's prayer group. Lauren was so active and helpful to the other teachers that I could never list all she did for our school because most of it was known to only the ones she helped. Lauren wanted to give the fifth graders at DSE a balanced that would offer opportunities for them to participate in serving others, to develop leadership, to learn social skills, and just to educate and enrich their lives. Lauren knew her students because she cared about their lives. She taught all the fifth graders as I did, and many times Lauren gave me extra information about our students that helped me understand them. Together we prayed for them and loved them. Lauren helped provide a warm and caring atmosphere at school where her students could thrive and feel secure and safe. She was energetic, enthusiastic, and always smiling. Even though Lauren was young, she had a sense about educating students that went far beyond her years of experience. She was practical, yet visionary. I knew Lauren could achieve much in her field and would do so ....even if much of it would be behind the scene. DSE was blessed to have her for a time and I was doubly blessed to have her as a co-worker and a friend.

Jackie Abington Posted over a year ago

I have known Lauren for most of my years in Livingston Parish Public Schools. She has always been a light of enthusiasm and hope to all of us who know her! Her leadership involves more than what is involved in school administration--it is the leadership of changing lives every day, in the personal areas of need of those in her school and community. I have witnessed so often her meeting needs of those who are hurting or in desperate situations--with time, childcare, food, clothing, a listening ear, tears of heartfelt sadness, school supplies. I have seen her share others' grief at multiple levels, from being physically present for them to seeing that she and others meet the obvious and subtle needs of those with loss. And, just as I have seen her love and serve in these situations, I have been with her when she celebrated with others their small and large victories. Perhaps her greatest gift to others is her being present in their lives--whatever their situations--and demonstrating a genuine example of Christ in the way that she sees and meets their needs. I am grateful to know her!

Angela Johns Posted over a year ago

As you read each comment left about Lauren Kennedy, certain common traits are seen in each comment which people use to describe her: humble, passionate, loving, kind, professional, servant. It is not by chance that these traits are seen over and over again because anyone who meets Lauren even just for a few minutes quickly sees these traits about her. I have only had the pleasure of knowing Lauren for about 2 1/2 years however her impact on my life as a teacher, mom, friend, and person will last a lifetime. At first I only knew her in the role as my administrator, however I quickly realized that the deep love and commitment that she shows daily to the students and staff at Eastside Elementary on a daily basis truly overflows into every aspect of her life. In August of 2016, like so many in our community my family's life was completely devastated by the historical flooding. Everyone in my immediate family and circle of friends suffered the same catastrophic damage to their homes and were unable to help my family. I remember crying the morning we returned to our home and telling my husband how in the world are we going to do this alone since all of our family and friends were in the same situation? The next moment my phone rang and it was Lauren telling me that she had a crew coming the next morning to help clean and gut our home. Bright and early the next day a crew comprised of co-workers, spouses, students and parents from Eastside Elementary, and complete strangers was there ready to work and by the end of the day our house was gutted and ready for the next step of recovery. There were so many times that day in which I would stop, take a look around, and begin to cry tears of gratitude because there would of been no way we could of done it without them. Lauren's impact on my life continued a few days later when she learned that our son would not be having his 1st birthday party as planned due to the devastation of the events of the days leading up to his birthday. Lauren insisted that our son must celebrate his first birthday so along with organizing the continuation of helping people clean their homes, delivering and supplies to those in need, gathering and organizing donations she planned a 1st birthday for our son. The celebration was held in the school library complete with coordinated decorations and cakes. The birthday party was so incredibly special not only for our son and our family but for all who attended because we all took a break from the stress and heaviness of the events we were walking through. During these events I realized that Lauren's love language is truly helping others. Her ever present smile and positive outlook during the darkest of times truly was a ray of hope and sunshine for all that came in contact with her and never once did she appear to be stressed or overwhelmed. We jokely called her Superwoman. I believe she is able to have the constant smile and positive outlook because she is a person who is truly focused on others. I could list a million examples that I have seen and experienced where she has shown this to be true but I think the most significant example can be seen of how she has chosen to deal with the attention of being nominated for this incredible honor of being a Life Changer of the Year Finalist. During her acceptance speech for the award and announcement of finalist Lauren thanked her family, and all the students and staff she said, "I didn't do this....WE did this. This is not about me. This is about us." That day during lunch, she stood in the cafeteria and hugged each student and thanked them each individually for doing such a great job in the assembly and for helping her receive the award. Not only does she put students first but also people first and for that she truly is a life changer.

Lynn Tate Posted over a year ago

It is difficult to begin to tell how much I love and appreciate Lauren Kennedy. I have been a paraprofessional for 16+ years. I have worked for different principals and assistant principals in that time, but never an administrator like Lauren. She truly has an "open door" policy at Eastside Elementary. She doesn't mind being stopped in the hallway to listen to the latest "disaster" in my life. The worst one came as the Great Flood of 2016. Within a week, Lauren was at my home, which received over 5' of flood water. She came with her boots, maul, wheel barrel and a work crew from Eastside. She organized lunch to be delivered at my home for the 14 person crew we had that day, while I sat there still in shock, reeling from my loss. She has prayed for us and always has an encouraging word. In the months that follow she has helped in many ways, including putting us in touch with her neighbor for some much needed living room furniture. I can't imagine a more deserving individual for this award. She has changed my life for the better- not the bitter.

Pauline Stafford Posted over a year ago

Lauren is a special person. I know because she helped me in many ways. One of those ways was during the Great Flood of 2016, when she surprised me by showing up voluntarily at my house to pull out ruined furniture, etc. After 18 months when I needed help to move a second time, guess who showed up again...Lauren Brown Kennedy! Besides being a full time assistant principal in one of our finest elementary schools, she is a mom, wife, daughter, aunt, sister, friend and volunteer for some major events. Thank you Lauren for going above and beyond for me. I know others who feel the same way, but to me you are very special. Thank you.

Carol Stafford Posted over a year ago

Lauren is an inspiration! She works tirelessly with joy and enthusiasm! She always seems to be where she's needed and jumps in to do whatever she can to school and in the community. She treats others with respect and kindness. As a parent, I feel so blessed to have Lauren's kind of leadership at school. I am confident each day that Eastside is the very best environment for my daughter because they have her interest at heart. Lauren is so deserving of this award!!

Paula Todd Posted over a year ago

I am so thankful to be able to work with and be inspired by Lauren Kennedy. She is always willing to help, give words of encouragement, and inspire and motivate others. Not only did she work relentlessly during the flood for relief efforts and to collect supplies for Texas but she serves her school and community on a daily bases. One of my favorite things she does is the Check In Check Out Program. Every single morning and afternoon of the school year she personally talks to a list of students to check grades, behavior, and general over all well being. The love and concern that she gives to these children are so special!

Michele Mann Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kennedy is one of kind. Her dedication to our Patriot students and staff is over the top. During the flood Ms. Kennedy was a beacon of light as she coordinated each day teams to go and help our fellow teachers and their families. More so, she to put her boots and gloves and went to work gutting homes while providing spiritual support. Her light shines through as she strives to make each day better than the last. I'll never forget when Ms. Kennedy sent my son a letter when he was in basic training. She did not know him personally, but took the time to send her support and encouragement. Furthermore, Ms. Kennedy's door is always open for anyone to come in and vent, share, cry or pray. Ms. Kennedy is a leader, a servant and a friend. It is a pleasure to come to work every day where you know you will be supported, and inspired in order to help our students achieve. I can not think of a more deserving person for this award.

Marcia Wollfarth Posted over a year ago

Spend 5 minutes with Lauren Kennedy, and I guarantee your life will be changed. Lauren changed my life 2 years ago when she invited me to be part of the Eastside family as the new instructional coach. She is an amazing mentor that puts her students and coworkers first. I have never met a more genuine person that truly lives to serve others. Being in her presence and having her as my mentor is a blessing. When I am feeling discouraged and lose my direction, she builds me up and makes me feel like I am right where I belong. I couldn't ask for a better boss, mentor, and friend. She is so deserving of this award!

Dena Davis Posted over a year ago

Lauren Kennedy is extremely deserving of this award!! She is an amazing leader, servant, and inspiration. She leads students and faculty to strive to do their best, meet goals, and grow academically, socially, emotionally, and professionally. Lauren serves others in a way that exhibits the hands and feet of Jesus. She is selfless, humble, compassionate, empathetic, understanding, encouraging, and always willing to jump in and do hard work to help meet the needs of anyone that she knows is in need. Lauren inspires me to be a better teacher, coworker, friend, and servant! She is truly a Life Changer! She changes the lives of everyone around her and people far away in a positive way daily!

Chrystal Posted over a year ago

This remarkable lady shares the love of Christ with students and co-workers on a daily basis thru her actions and words. A true life changer is one who is bold enough to share this love with others. Thank you for inspiring me and my children.

Amy Russell Posted over a year ago

Lauren Kennedy is an amazing servant leader. She has the ability to balance kindness with high expectations. When dealing with students, parents, and teachers, she doesn't just look at what needs to be accomplished but genuinely cares for the person through the process. This is rare in the high pressure environment of preparing students for statewide assessment tests and more importantly life. Her patience, kindness, and outlook on life have changed my life for the better. I will be forever grateful to Lauren Kennedy for the impact she has made on my life and the lives of my students.

Martha Chopin Posted over a year ago

I have had the pleasure of working with Ms Kennedy at Eastside Elementary for the past 8 years. She not only has a love and compassion for her students, teachers and her own personal family, she has it for Christ in her life. I feel that is her driving force that makes her who she is! Her belief, faith and relationship with Christ has brought her to her calling in working with children each day and it shines through on everything she does!! My life has been touched through her at work but as well outside of school. Lauren has lead a bible study in her home for at least the last 5 years, once in the fall and once in the Spring. I know her family life is very busy, but she has been faithful to lead those that want to participate in these bible studies over the years and it has changed my life and drawn me closer to the Lord. I thank her so much for stepping out and fulfilling her calling to lead our groups and encouraging us to learn about Christ and walking closer with him! Love her bunches and she is so deserving of this honor!!

Heather White Posted over a year ago

I first met Lauren when she came to work at Eastside eight years ago as our instructional coach. She was full of fantastic ideas and was always willing to help. When she had the opportunity to become our assistant principal, I knew she would be the finishing piece of a dream team. Lauren has so much love and passion for life and the people she comes into contact with. God is working through her in amazing ways. She is kind, thoughtful, innovative, and always has a soothing presence about her. She has a way with everyone, an ability to make you feel good about yourself and see the good in everyone else. Lauren is by far one of the most special and amazing people I have ever had the honor to know.

Kelly LaBauve Posted over a year ago

Not sure where to start with this nominee known to so many as LBK, so I’ll start with a quote from one of our students when talking about her being a finalist for this award. He said, “It wasn’t Mrs. Kennedy’s passion. It was her relationship with God that made this happen.” How very true this statement is in regards to Lauren. She starts her day with God and sends text messages about her readings to many adults and kids who are like her own. She prays with staff members when they need her prayer. She even prays for them silently every day. She holds a bible study every Monday night for adults. She has a prayer group every Friday morning for staff members’ kids. God works through her every day to make a difference in the lives of so many. While Lauren was a beacon of light during the flood, she is so much more than just her dedication to her community during the flood. At school every day, she does check-in and check-out with numerous students on our campus. She makes it a point to show our students that she truly cares for each of them. She has such a passion for life and kids. Every decision she makes starts with “Students First” no matter how hard the decision. Lauren has been by my side for the last five years. This past year when I went through the hardest time of my life, she was my rock. She was there for me both at work and personally. She was even there for my family, who she treats as her own. She has a passion that is hard to say no to. Her excitement is infectious. Lauren seems to always put others first, and she has been this way for the 8 years I’ve known her. She is a daily example of how to be humble and kind. She has definitely changed my life and the life of my personal children in the most positive way. She is a life changer every day!

Cassandra Fulmer Posted over a year ago

Lauren Kennedy is an inspiration to all of us. It has always been a pleasure to work with her. She is a tremendous asset to Livingston Parish. Congratulations, Lauren!

Tiffani Melancon Posted over a year ago

Lauren Kennedy is an amazing person that helps to create a caring and supportive environment for the staff and students of Eastside. We are extremely blessed to have her as a part of our school.

Jessica Golden Posted over a year ago

I have only had the pleasure of working with Lauren for this school year, but she has really shown me how a school administrator can positively affect the children in her charge. She will do whatever it takes to help them succeed, and she does not give up on them. She is thoughtful, kind, and generous of spirit and time. I feel truly lucky to be able to work with such a great individual. She deserves the nomination, and I believe she deserves to win. Congratulations Lauren!

Britney Romito Posted over a year ago

Lauren is an outstanding person and friend. She goes the extra mile. She models an exuberant example of love, compassion and joy.

Tallie Seighman Posted over a year ago

I always joke and say that I want to be Lauren when I grow up. The truth is I have met very few people in my life who love and serve others the way Lauren does. On a personal level, she has truly been a life changer in the lives of all three of my children. They worked beside her during the not so great flood, but before the waters ever rose she poured love and compassion into their hearts. My kids fall into a group known as 'teacher kids.' Unlike the rest of the student body, this special group of kids gets to school early and stays late every day. Despite how busy she may be or how many other things may need to be done, she meets with the teacher kids of Eastside every Friday morning 30 minutes before the other kids arrive on campus. Their talks aren't about reading or math, but about character. She challenges them to be servants, and then she leads by example. I am forever thankful for the difference she has made in their lives. She is most deserving of the title, 'Life Changer of the Year.'

Donna Foster Posted over a year ago

I’ve known Lauren for 8 years. It’s hard for me to put in to words how much she means to me. She’s a wonderful boss and above all else a selfless amazing friend. She truly is a Life Changer in many big and small ways everyday. She generously gives from her heart and expects nothing in return. It’s just who she is.

Jennifer Philpot Posted over a year ago

The few years that I have been working at Eastside, one thing is for certain, our leadership has been the main reason that we have been a number one school for years now. I have had the distinct pleasure to work with Lauren, and she continues to amaze us! She has continually showed her amazing leadership in the classroom and outside. When the flood of 2016 hit, we all were in shock, and knew we had to act, and Lauren again showed her leadership and led a group to help any which way possible, From day one at Eastside she has always inspired me to be a better person. To be more open to different ideas, I am thankful to be a part of an amazing team and I'm also proud to have Lauren as, not only a co-worker, but as a friend.

Staci Buckley Posted over a year ago

Lauren Kennedy is a kind-hearted, selfless, caring, and hard working servant of God and her community. I know because she is my boss and has been for several years now. I am also one of the teachers who benefited from her flood organizing leadership. The team that she sent to my house cleaned my home out in one day. I had no other help, so she and the team were angels to me that day! I'll never be able to express how grateful I am to her and them. She is a very humble lady who does things like this because she cares so deeply. However, it doesn't take a major disaster to see evidence of her heart and her determination to make a difference. It is shown in her daily life in the way she lives, loves, and leads. She also leads a Bible study group in which she strives to be and do even better. I am glad that I've been blessed to work with and know Lauren, and I know that she deserves the title of Life Changer of the year!

Kelly Hayhurst Posted over a year ago

I have known Lauren for the past three years. In that short amount of time I have easily decided that she is one of the absolute best people I have ever met. She is inspiring with the way she supports and encourages staff and students alike. She comes in every Monday morning and gives our students a high five for passing math fact test. She checks in and out with students daily to ensure they have the tools they need to be successful and make good choices during the day. I know she is extremely busy but her door is always open and she never hesitates to stop what she is doing to help you. She always has the right words to tell you, especially when you are sad or filled with self doubt. She is just an amazing person all around and I can't imagine anyone else being more deserving of this award.

Julianne Hoy Posted over a year ago

Both of my children have attended Eastside Elementary where Mrs. Kennedy is the vice principal. My friends used to say that when my children started school they’d be calling me to come get them out from under a table crying everyday. Thanks to this kind lady, her can do attitude and her sweet infectious spirit that has permeated her entire staff, my children are cared for as I would care for them. I never have to worry about their physical/emotional well being or their education. Our family is forever grateful to Eastside and Mrs. Kennedy!

Kelly Duke Posted over a year ago

We recently joined the ESE family. My son was in 5th grade a hard transition time. ESE was awesome and it was because of Ms Kennedy. She was always understanding and compassionate to her students, always looking at there future. I went to his 5th grade graduation and cried... and we had only been there for 1 year!!!! To see the devotion and love she had amazed me. Her vision is also present in her teachers as well. I’m so glad I still have another one there!!!!

Lori Landry Posted over a year ago

I am so lucky to be able to call Lauren Kennedy my fearless leader and my friend. As my vice -principal she is always reliable and kind. She is enthusiastic, understanding, generous, smart, and encouraging. Working at Eastside is a pleasure because she makes sure everyone- faculty, staff, and students- knows that they are valued and appreciated. As a friend, she is supportive and fun to be around. She personally came to my flooded house to move furniture, clean floors, rip out sheet rock, and do all of the dirty work. In addition, she provided a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. I cannot express enough how deserving Lauren is of this award. She is a life changer for us all.

Julie Chutz Posted over a year ago

I have worked with Ms. Kennedy for about 6 years and can truly say that each day is a blessing. She always has a smile on her face and opens her door to everyone. She is always encouraging, no matter what the situation. At least twice a year, every year, she invites anyone interested to her house for Bible Study. She is a beautiful person both inside and out. We love her so much and all that she does to change lives at our school and in our community.

Sherilyn Forbes Posted over a year ago

Lauren Kennedy has many great qualities, but the one that has impressed me most is her ability to make each person she is speaking to feel important. She really listens, which is a rare quality in today's world. Whether you are the custodian, the principal, a parent or a student, she gives you her full attention while you are speaking. Your concerns are her concerns. You know she really does care about you. Whether you share exciting news or agonizing heartache, she cares and she's listening to know how to offer help if needed or to celebrate good times with you. She changes lives every single day.

Robbin S Lewis Posted over a year ago

Lauren Kennedy is truly a positive force in our community and the daily goings on at Eastside Elementary. She works with such passion and enthusiasm with our students, faculty, parents, and staff. She is willing to take on any project, large or small with a "can do" attitude. Lauren is devoted to he job as an educator, but her heart guides her far beyond what is in her job description. Lauren makes everyone around her fell as if they have great value. She makes a difference EVERY day in the lives she touches.

Judy Carr Posted over a year ago

Lauren Kennedy doesn't have to work hard to be a life changer. It's just natural for her. She is always putting others' needs ahead of her own. This is evident inside the school walls as well as outside in the community. Have you ever used the term "WWJD"?. I often think, "WWLD"? She kept the faculty "uplifted" as we recovered from the 2016 flood. It wasn't easy on our campus, but Lauren kept the morale up with encouraging words, classroom visits, simple gifts for the faculty as well as knocking down walls in surrounding homes. She has tutored students from different classrooms during the day to give them extra help. This is extremely helpful for the classroom teacher and makes each child feel special that the assistant principal visits them. Lauren is constantly boosting faculty morale with silly games and dress up days. She is truly an amazing woman and well deserving of this honor.

Kim Partin Posted over a year ago

Lauren has been a personal friend of mine for almost 15 years. She was my coworker for two years and has been my boss for five. She has been a mentor, friend, and an example of how to serve in all areas of our lives. Lauren personally helped me gut and clean out my house after it flooded in 2016. I am so thankful the Lord has seen fit to put her in my life for these many years!

Mari Holland Posted over a year ago

My family and I were directly blessed by Lauren's efforts after the Great Flood of 2016. She provided us with lots of help to empty and clean our home after the waters receded. Food was also sent to us as a result of her great coordination of resources. I think of how blessed we all were at that difficult time.

Carole Moffatt Posted over a year ago

Lauren Kennedy is such a wonderful and caring person. I am always seeing her in the halls encouraging students in her sweet and friendly manner. She truly is a life changer. She has positively affected my life in so many ways, too many to list!! I am very thankful to know Lauren and call her "friend"!!

Ruth Ann Abrams Posted over a year ago

When I came to Eastside Elementary I didn't know anyone! I was transferred in a faculty reduction at my previous school; so it wasn't by choice but I am so glad now! Lauren was the Instructional Coach at that time and she guided me and gave me wonderful advice at every turn. I started going to her for everything! Even when it clearly wasn't part of her "job", she never once told me she didn't know or "so and so" handles that. She always would help me. Lauren and Kelly, our principal, work as a seamless unit that keeps our school motivated and striving to be the best we can be! They motivate both the staff and students! I could not ask for a better work environment! They love our kids and work with struggling kids on a very personal level. During the flood of 2016, our area was devastated. Lauren likes to say that what she did was a group effort; and while that is true, she was the driving force behind it all. She sought out who needed help the most at the time and organized a group to gut and clean out houses each day. She was the one person in our school parking lot every morning ready to get to work and others did join her but it was different people each day. She was there everyday! Lauren is an awesome, caring person that I am so blessed to know, work with, and call a friend.

Sherrye Ginn Posted over a year ago

I have worked with Lauren for years at Eastside. She has always been such an amazing role model in our school, for kids and staff. She treats each student as if he or she is a family member, whether that means fussing a child or giving out accolades. She wants every child to be his or her very best. She truly loves them all, and she tells our kids she loves them. At Eastside, we have a very positive work environment. Lauren and our principal, Kelly LaBauve make sure of it. It is not uncommon for them to dance down the hall with a treat like coffee or snacks. They surprise us with tokens of appreciation when they are most needed. Their doors are always open for us to come in and celebrate victories or vent when needed. They let us cry, and they cry with us. During the flood, my husband and I were the cooks who fed the masses. Lauren made sure food got to those who needed it as she labored in flood victims' homes. She donated food and supplies for the food drive. She was there anytime anyone needed help. On a personal level, Lauren has been there for me during my moves from house to house and during hard times. She backed up and loaded boxes with us like a good friend would do. She recently helped an elderly friend and neighbor of mine move to her new apartment. This was after she helped gut that same elderly lady's house during the flood. Again, she is always there when needed. Lauren Kennedy is truly a role model for all of us. She is a kind, Godly woman who is not afraid to get dirty in order to help, dance when there is a reason to celebrate, or be supportive when someone needs it. We need more LBKs in this world we live in.

Kathleen Olinde Posted over a year ago

I have worked with Lauren since 2010, and over that time, I have seen what an amazing, compassionate, selfless person she is! She truly cares about all of the staff and students here at our school and tries to find fun ways to reach our students. She is always willing to help in any capacity and always has a positive outlook no matter what the circumstance. I am a better person for knowing her and working with her and I know she has made such a difference in so many of our students' lives. She is truly deserving of this nomination!

Stephen Parrill Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kennedy works very hard to not only meet the needs of the students on her campus, but also the needs of the community as a whole. The key to success in education is building those relationships with everyone in your school community. Mrs. Kennedy has worked, and continues to work very hard to build and grow those relationships on a daily basis. The successful growth of these successful relationships is the key to her finding success as a servant leader in her school, community and also at the school district level. Effective servant leaders consistently put their needs behind the needs of others. Mrs. Kennedy is a model of servant leadership in my view. We thank her for what she has done and will continue to do for all our our students.

Nancy Martin Posted over a year ago

Lauren Kennedy is the epitome of an example to God's charge, "let your light shine". Lauren has so much heart and compassion for others,. Upon first meeting her, one feels blessed to be in the presence of such positivity when we are so often surrounded by negativity. At a time in my life when I was struggling with many personal and financial difficulties, Lauren secretly left the money she had just won that morning in a contest at our school on my desk. She never intended for me to know it came from her, I was afraid one of the winners had set their money down and forgot where they left it, so I went on a mission to get the money back to its rightful owner. It was through this mission that Lauren had to admit AND insist I keep the money. I was not even aware that she knew of my struggles. I am so very happy and proud to know that my friend has been recognized for an award she so aptly deserves to win. Lauren is definitely a Life Changer.

MIchelle Crochet Posted over a year ago

I have known Lauren Kennedy for a few years as a colleague who was also an Assistant Principal. As we began a new program in our district called "Aspiring Leaders", I was able to see the loving, giving person that Lauren is inside and outside of school. Lauren always has a positive outlook on all situations. When I went through an especially difficult year, Lauren was a rock for me. She was there to give suggestions, extend a kind word, or just pray for me. Her kindness during this difficult time will never be forgotten. I've heard the saying that when times are tough, you find out who your real friends are. I feel so fortunate to call Lauren Kennedy my friend, and I'm so glad that someone was able to find an award that truly describes her dedication and love for the teachers and students in our community. I feel blessed to know Lauren, and she has truly been a Life Changer for me!

Karen Holt Posted over a year ago

I first met Lauren Kennedy when she became the instructional coach at Eastside Elementary. Up until that time, I did not know how valuable of a resource an instructional coach could be. Lauren was the coach, cheerleader, and support I needed to do my job. She set the bar very high for future instructional coaches at Eastside. As an assistant principal, she continues to coach, cheer, and support her teachers. She has not forgotten what it is like in the classroom. I am most impressed at how partial she can be when it comes to solving problems with students, parents, and teachers. She has a way of putting the best interests of everyone involved when making some difficult decisions. Her passion and enthusiasm are as contagious as the example she sets for all that come in contact with this LIFE CHANGER! Congratulations, Lauren! You are beyond deserving of this honor!

Amy Desrosiers Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kennedy has brought meaning to my life, inspired me in so many ways, and sparked a fire that I carry with me for the rest of my days. She is a pillar of hope and sometimes sacrifice. Ms. Kennedy, has not only influenced me, but possesses the drift, the force, whose implication leads one forward in the course of life. She helps many people fulfill their purpose, that being to help find their way, so much that one actually finds it, reaches it, and accomplishes it. Compassion is the ultimate expression of Ms. Kennedy. She changes lives daily!

Veronica Rushing Posted over a year ago

I have had the pleasure of working with Lauren Kennedy for years. I have witnessed the many roles that she takes on all in the name of keeping our school morale up and running smoothly. During teacher appreciation week, she and Kelly deliver presents to each faculty and staff member. The gift is ALWAYS accompanied by a song and dance. She and Kelly each go out of their way to make each of us feel special. She loves to play dress up and loves to come up with morale boosting dress up days for her faculty. We have had wig day, mash up day and a 50s day. During the floor recovery, I witnessed her setting up work crews to clean up house and deliver food. Then she picked up her crow bar and worked herself. All of these things were done with a smile on her face. She is very deserving of this honor and it is MY honor to work for her. She brings out the best in the people she leads.

Jennifer Rabalais Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kennedy is always willing to assist the parents we serve at the LPPS Family Resource Center. For the past three years, she has presented an informative workshop for all parents in Livingston parish to help prepare them for standardized testing. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our parents feel at ease about what the testing entails. Not only is she a dynamic speaker, but she is an amazing person that truly cares about ALL children. Livingston parish is truly blessed to have her as one of our own.

Justin Wax Posted over a year ago

Lauren Kennedy is a model citizen of our community. Her kind and driven personality has forever impacted thousands of lives over the years; she is truly a LifeChanger. Mrs. Kennedy is an exemplary participant in a group of district leaders called "Aspiring Leaders." It is clear that she is already a community leader as she demonstrates a passion for excellence by humbly serving those in our area.

Ashley Director Posted over a year ago

During the days of the flood in 2016, Lauren and I worked together to help a teacher in her classroom clean up and bring things to her home. We worked tirelessly together and with her from early in the morning till late in the afternoon. Lauren motivated, encouraged, and pushed hard as we helped this devastated teacher with her personal things. She had words of encouragement, a smile, and a "can-do" attitude the entire time. I know through speaking with her that her extra time was spent in those days helping and providing for all she could. Her smile is infectious and her love of others and of God is apparent when talking with her. She has an energy and a passion to love others with an unconditional love.

Sarah Watson Posted over a year ago

I have known Lauren since I was in college and did my methods course in her classroom. She immediately took me under her wing and became a mentor. When it came time to get a job, Lauren recommended me to her principal and I had the honor of teaching in her place for her sabbatical. We went on to work together at Denham Springs Elementary for many years. I watched as she continued to pour her life into those around her. When she took a new role at Eastside Elementary as their Instructional Coach, she quickly found my mother who works there as a paraprofessional and took Mom under her wing. I could never know just how much Lauren would be there for Mom or me. In the Flood of 2016, my mom lost everything. Lauren was there, gloves in hand, to do the disgusting and heart wrenching work of putting Mom's precious belongings in the trash. She did not stop there. Lauren and others from Eastside came to my school, Southside Elementary, to help us pick up the pieces of our lost school and broken hearted teachers. I know Lauren has treated me, my mom, and so many others like family. She doesn't just help people, she loves people. Lauren Kennedy is truly a life changer.

Kathryn Glynn Posted over a year ago

I had the honor of working with Mrs. Kennedy when I joined the Denham Springs Elementary staff back in 2003. She was an amazing teacher. She brought her children to new heights. I was sad when she left DSE because she was such an wonderful person to work with but I was happy for her and I knew she would be amazing in her new position. When we lost our school and everything in it due to the flood, Mrs. Kennedy helped our faculty pick ourselves up and gave us comfort when we needed it most. Mrs. Kennedy is an asset to her school, Livingston Parish and our community.

Jeff Seighman Posted over a year ago

I am so impressed with Lauren. She goes above and beyond and inspires me to do more! She loves my kids nearly as much as I do as their dad! She and is concerned for their well being and the health of their spirit too!

Misti Thomason Posted over a year ago

Lauren is such a great helper to all who need help! She is always willing to share ideas, she's eager to listen and willing to give feedback to other leaders who are in different schools. She is dedicated to her profession and is the perfect example of what a true teacher is. She is truly deserving of this honor!

Candace Shaidaee Posted over a year ago

I had the priveledge of having Mrs. Kennedy as my partner at Live Oak Elementary for a brief time. She is a wonderful, skilled teacher whose dedication is second to none! We became friends and I can attest that she never gave excuses.. only made every effort to rise above and beyond any challenge given to her. Even after she left my school to move on to better things we stayed in touch and she was always willing to take ideas as well as give help when needed. I can see from her current school performance that her creativity and resoursefulness continue to impact all those around her... and inspire students to achieve their dreams no matter how down you are or how impossible the task may seem. Mrs. Kennedy deserves this award for so many reasons, but most of all for her unending positive attitude in the face of adversity and her ever humble nature.

Kristy Delvisco Posted over a year ago

My connection with Mrs. Kennedy began 10 years ago when she was teaching 5th grade at Denham Springs Elementary. She has a heart of gold and always willing then and today to go above and beyond for our students and community. She is very deserving of this award because she always put others before her own needs. It is with great honor that I am privileged to know her.

Tessa Simmons Posted over a year ago

I met Lauren when I was a new teacher in the parish trying hard to learn the ropes and keep my head above the water. I reached out to her because I was told that she was an excellent resource. Lauren was teaching at Live Oak Elementary at the time. She gladly took the time to go through her materials and find resources that would help me get started, then she drove them to Denham Springs Elementary where I was teaching. It may seem like a small gesture to some, but her kindness and willingness to help a new teacher will never be forgotten.

Christy Wright Posted over a year ago

I have had the pleasure of working with Ms. Kennedy for several years. She has displayed an unending commitment and dedication to everyone of her students. She also works conscientiously to ensure their success. We are very blessed to have her as a member of the LPPS family.

Elizabeth Hart Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kennedy is a treasure to LPPS! Glad to see her receive the recognition she truly deserves.

cohen Posted over a year ago

thisIS interesting

hi im steve Posted over a year ago


Karla Miller Posted over a year ago

I have known Mrs. Kennedy for several years, as my stepdaughter attended school at Eastside for 6 years and my stepson still attends school there. For various reasons, I have had to seek out advice from her, and she has always been empathetic, understanding, and helpful. Thank you, Mrs. Kennedy.

Leanne Lea Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Kennedy is such a huge part of what makes Eastside Elementary great! She is so deserving of this award for all she has done and is still doing today! Congrats Mrs. Kennedy for being nominated!!! Leanne Lea

Joe Murphy Posted over a year ago

I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Ms. Kennedy for several years. Ms. Kennedy's devotion to her students, her school and her community is unparalleled. Her willingness to always put others before herself is evident from her nomination. What makes her so special is her humility and her spirituality. Helping others is not a choice Ms. Kennedy makes, it is her passion. Her commitment to her students and colleagues reaches far beyond the classroom and the school. It is said that if you find something you love, you will never work a day in your life. Given my experiences with Ms. Kennedy she has truly never worked one single day as a teacher or administrator for Livingston Parish Public Schools. Our district, Eastside Elementary and Livingston Parish is truly blessed that Ms. Kennedy chose to devote her life of service to those in need.

Teri Bourgeois Posted over a year ago

I had the pleasure of working with Lauren while at Eastside Elementary. She is an asset to the staff and is one of the most selfless people I know. She is there for her co-workers and students both at school and after school. She is a very kind, caring and compassionate individual and goes the extra mile for others in need. She is always positive and is a woman of great integrity. I think no one could be more deserving of such an honor.

Joyce Landry Posted over a year ago

I have never met Lauren but reading her nomination profile on FB very clearly indicates an organized, energetic, talented teacher working tirelessly for an awesome cause. She is a dynamic caring individual who deserves to win! Best wishes Lauren!!!