LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Karin York

Position: Academic Interventionist
School: Valley Vista High School
School District: Dysart Unified School District
City, State: Surprise, AZ

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Karin York was nominated by her husband, Chris York.

Mrs. York is a award winning teacher who has profoundly changed the special education department in her school by implementing life skills and job training classes for her students. She promoted the Unified Sports program, which unifies general education athletes with Special Olympic athletes. This relationship has created a special bond between all students in the school.

Currently, Mrs. York leads Arizona in the “Minute That Matters” campaign. She organizes, promotes, and conducts this event for Valley Vista High School by raising over $3,500.00 in 60 seconds. The money is donated by the student body, and it goes towards the Special Olympics team. Minute That Matters has elevated the morale of the school to a new level.  

As part of her academic interventionist role, Mrs. York works with the English second language population. She does not speak Spanish or other languages, but her natural skill and teaching abilities have enabled several students to pass the state test. These students have even gone on to graduate from high school. Previously, many students had limited their dreams to what their parents currently do, instead of looking at their own future. After being in Mrs. York's class, these students have dreams of going to college and pursuing their passions. She also works with students individually to help them succeed and ultimately graduate. Her passion is advocating for students, and she expects the best out of them at all times. Along with teaching, Mrs. York is a state-winning coach in cross country, track, unified basketball and flag football. 

She was named Dysart Hero/Teacher of the Year in 2011 and the Dysart Heartbeat award winner in 2016. With everything that she does, Mrs. York still makes time to work with Younglife. Younglife is an organization that connects adolescents with adults, and helps to build strong relationships in the Surprise community. These relationships don't happen overnight — they take time, patience, trust and consistency. Mrs. York has spent 9 years with this organization, picking female students up every Monday and Thursday night to build a relationship with them. She creates a bond with these students by listening to their stories and learning what is important to them. She truly cares about their joys, trials, triumphs and heartaches. 

"Many would attest to the absolutely amazing woman my wife is," Chris York said. "As a mother of 5, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt, and a truly wonderful wife, she does it all and is a wonder woman!" 



Comments (21)


Monica Johnson Posted over a year ago

Wonderful!!!She is a winner and a hard worker.

Monica Johnson Posted over a year ago

Wonderful!!!

Keith Carlson Posted over a year ago

To the most amazing young woman we have been blessed to know her entire life. She is a survivor, warrior for children, and the Lord. Where there is a will, Karin will make a way. She is an accomplished mother, teacher, coach, daughter, and friend to all. Ministering to a young adults of Special needs, coach in young teens, and creating a business to allow people with Special needs to fulfill their dreams, is a gift God has annointed her with upon her ew endeavor in opening Spencer's Place, a coffee shop for all to enjoy, services by many of her young people and son, Spencer. So blessed to have the privilege of watching her grow in all areas of her life. We Love you,Karin Alexander York...Keith and Butch??Praying??for your newfound success.

Ida Alexander Posted over a year ago

Karin is my daughter and in spite of her busy schedule she takes time to see how I am doing. I have worked with Karin. for approximately 10 years and not because she's my daughter I can honestly say LOVE has guided her and her ability to be a creative and a teacher that goes above and beyond her calling she is EXCELLENT at whatever she does. I am so Proud of her.

Gennie Smith Posted over a year ago

Karin York is absolutely amazing person. She cares for each of these kids from School, Special Olympics to Younglife. Both my boys got a chance to work with her with Unified Special Olympics and just with the special needs students at their high school Valley Vista. It is amazing what she does and cares for all the kids and how she brings student athletes together with the special needs. She shows them how to be a great human being and caring for others through out the school and community. I am so thankful my family got to be a part of an amazing program with an amazing woman Karin York. Thank you for ALL you do for all of the students and families you come across.

Amy lehoux Posted over a year ago

She has made a big impact in my son Nick Mayberrys life if it wasnt for her or the special Olympics program he would probably be getting in more trouble at school like before we came to Arizona so thank you so much

Jeff Oster Posted over a year ago

I have seen the devotion and commitment and it is profound. This woman does not stop and leads with her heart. 10/10!

Lisa Pettit Posted over a year ago

I've had the honor of knowing Karin for several years now. Karin is selfless with her time, energy and unconditional love to so many. She's made incredible strides not only with the accomplishments thru the district, but with Young Life outside of school. Her energy is contagious as is her smile and genuine will to help so many.

Bryce Posted over a year ago

York is a very caring person. She is always willing to help everyone that is in need.

Cindy Coles Posted over a year ago

You can tell how much she really loves and cares about our students. Truly one of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to work with.

Faith Jones Posted over a year ago

Wasn't even my coach whem I was in track and still encouraged me to do my best. Not just in track and after-school activities but also acedemics and life in general. Truly hope the best for you Mrs. York !! Thank you so much !!

Josh Posted over a year ago

I’ve had opportunity to work w Mrs York and her passion, energy and love for her job is infectious. She had made a difference in so many students lives via her own sacrifice of time and energy. What a great choice for this award

Jana McDonald Posted over a year ago

Karin York is a rock star!! She is a dedicated educator, community champion and loves kids! I have served with her in Young Life for the past 6 years. She goes so far beyond what is expected and will do whatever she needs to for her kids. She is dedicated, loyal, committed, loving, and inspiring. I can’t think of anyone who deserves this recognition more than Karin!

Bonnie Hamilton Posted over a year ago

I have had 3 kids go through track and cross country and have seen first hand the impact Mrs. York has on the kids. Not only is she always Kind and encouraging but she goes out of her way to make each kid feel valued and important. She values these kids and shows them that! That is such a powerful tool in a world where it is so hard to fit in. Mrs York impacts everyone she is around in a way that they walk away feeling more encouraged and capable of accomplishing whatever they set out to do. I am grateful for her influence on not my kids but every kid that gets the opportunity to be encouraged by her! ??

Wilson Posted over a year ago

Karin, is awesome Woman! Helped me and my family though some tough tragedy, veiwed as a second mother to me and my siblings! Well deserved award !

Jayde Rhynard Posted over a year ago

I first met Karin through Younglife, when I was 14 or 15. She would drive her vehicle to my house then trade into my family van. I was fortunate to be able to have one-on-one time with her enroute to the first pick-up. Then soon our van would have 14 highschoolers in it and we would pull up to the place of ministry. When my mom died right after I turned 17 Karin spent so much time at my house helping us through it all. The necessary things of going through her past clothes and medications.. Karin (after a full day’s work) would come sit with me and help with decisions. My brother, Wilson (15 at the time), also found her to be an obvious blessing from Jesus during such a traumatic time. He still calls her “Mama K”. My other siblings love and admire her as well for just loving us so abundantly regardless of what we were feeling. She has an incredible gift of empathy. We relate in searching for relief in humor and boy is she good at getting us rolling laughing. Over the years as I became less of a teen and more of an adult she has proven her loyalty. We have one of my most favorite friendships. Checking in and showing support during busy times, and when we do meet up, it’s just the same as before. Karin is a mother to so many because of her ability to see through the Holy Spirit. And I am so thankful for her example, teaching me to do the same.

Bill Posted over a year ago

A very genuine and big hearted woman. She truly loves her job and the students. She creates an environment where kids can feels safe and can be themselves. Mrs. York is a fantastic teacher and we love her!

Valerie Byrd Posted over a year ago

There is no one I can think of who is “Life Changer of the Year” more than Mrs. York! She cultivates meaningful relationships with ALL students and truly cares for each and every one as if they are her very own. I have taught alongside her and have witnessed her unprecedented talents as an educator, as well as her servant leadership on campus. She is a rare gem in our field of education and deserves this recognition and honor. Karin- you are so talented, loving and inspire me to be better! Thank you for loving on kids from all walks of life. You are are a difference maker!

Zalika Posted over a year ago

Karin, You are the most influential human being. You never let individuals give up on themselves and their future. You inspired me to go into a profession of giving back to others. You taught individuals who were told year after year they would never amount to anything how to read, write, and even dress themselves. You open your heart to the individuals who come to America not knowing an ounce of English and you are patient and ever so generious with your time to teach them and watch each individual flourish. Your heart, phone and home is open to anyone in need no matter the need. You care for the sick, the hunger, the homeless. You let people live with you and ignore their circumstances because you see the light in them. You teach individuals about Christ through your daily actions. Through young life, young lives and capernaum you share the gospel but not through your words but rather your actions. You deserve this award because you truly change lives.

Cerise Seery Posted over a year ago

Karin Alexander York is AMAZING. I have only known her for a short time, but in that time she has taken me in and loved me graciously when she didn’t have to! Karin is a part of a non-profit organization, where she volunteers countless hours to kids who need role models in their lives. Karin is definitely a person that I look up to and that I know I can go to when I need help! Not only does she do that, but she also does much more, including teaching. She really is like Wonder Woman to me- I don’t know how she does it all. She deserves this award more than anyone!!! Thank you for all you do Karin!

Michael Posted over a year ago

Truly an amazing human! Goes above and beyond what is asked of any person.