LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Michael Welsh

Position: Principal
School: Union Elementary School
School District: Union Elementary School District #62
City, State: Tolleson, AZ

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Michael Welsh was nominated by his colleague, Stephanie Sisson.

Mr. Welsh makes a difference in the lives of students and families every day at Union Elementary School. He spends time in classrooms with students who are struggling and connects with families on a regular basis to help with concerns and build a sense of community. He holds a parent tea every month so parents can share how things are going and feel part of the school. At the end of the year, he invites volunteers to a morning breakfast celebration where they receive awards and special gifts to thank them for their service. He connects with teachers regularly to discuss what resources they need, how to improve classroom behavior, and to give praise for the things that are working.

Mr. Welsh is always available to staff on a daily basis.

"Our school and staff are a team-based environment," Sisson said. "Michael encourages collaboration among the staff with weekly team meetings, which he attends on a regular basis. Vertical team meetings are also encouraged several times a year. He always provides the tools we need to participate in new district initiatives and provides ideas to meet site-based expectations. He also meets with teachers and staff to help us understand how our new evaluation tool works and how we can meet expectations to build student engagement and increase success."

Mr. Welsh's interactions with all stakeholders are always at the highest level of professional behavior. He never shows any special favor for anyone and treats everyone fairly in all situations. He never takes any situation at face value, but always looks at the facts before finalizing any decisions. Mr. Welsh has always shown the highest moral and ethical standards in the five years Sisson has known him. He has been trustworthy and dependable throughout his leadership tenure in the district. He shows his dedication to his students by holding positions on several district committees. Mr. Welsh has worked to improve school environments and created special education initiatives to improve student growth throughout the school.

"Overall, Mr. Welsh provides a caring, nurturing environment for our students, staff, and families, where we feel supported and valued as educators," Sisson said. "This care encourages everyone to participate in our school activities, volunteer daily, and provide feedback on how things are going. These ideas are considered and built into our yearly plan whenever possible. He has shown a special kind of leadership that truly understands how children learn and what needs to happen in order to provide that safe, nurturing environment for all involved."

Comments (49)

Tarah Jimenez Posted over a year ago

Mr.Welsh and amazing principal! My son has special needs and anytime I have a concern I can easily reach out to Mr. Welsh. He is very knowledgeable of his students and genuinely cares for each and everyone of them. Union elementary is blessed to have Mr. Welsh as there principal and is parents and more blessed to have a great person overseeing our children’s education!

Shari Gutierrez Posted over a year ago

My family was Blessed the day we met Mr. Welsh. He is an amazing person and principal. What makes him so different is he actually really cares about the children and their education. As principal he has created a SAFE, respectful, and caring environment for our children to learn in. Mr. Welsh is always encouraging everyone to do their best including the parents. My daughter has graduated from Union Elementary. She has made Honor Roll every quarter so far and that is because of the foundations she received while going there. My son is current student and likes going to school. Wow! That right there says it all. I don't know how you all do such an amazing job with our children when given so little to work with. I think it has a lot to do with the great staff, teachers and the support and encouragement of a great leader. I want to publicly Thank you Mr. Welsh for all you do on a daily basis for everyone that goes unseen. You give so much to everyone and never expect anything in return. I hope you knowing that you TRUELY are making a difference and positively impacting our children lives and future will help you to continue doing all you do. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Mary Allison Posted over a year ago

I gladly take this opportunity to share with one and all about Mr. Welch, principle of Union Elementary school. I met Mr. Welch in 2015 when we registered our grand-daughter for kindergarten. I saw a friendly, helpful gentleman that I knew I could trust with my little girl. A couple of years later I took him my little grandson. All these years, I knew I didn't have anything to worry about. Everyday I would drop off and pick up my precious babies and I would smile to myself as I sat in my car waiting for them to come out. I smiled because Mr. Welch was always there with the children, like a big guardian angel keeping them safe. I believe he knew them all by name. He calls me Mima just like my kids and I love that. One more year and my grandson will move on to another school. I will miss Mr. Welch and all at Union School. I'm 79 years young and I can honestly say this school has been one of the best.

LISA SEDILLO Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is such a great caring individual, he knows most students by name, always promotes growth within students. Consistantly speaking with parents with great communication. His smile is infectious.

Tesfaye Y Worke Posted over a year ago

Mr Welsh is a wonderful principle. I know him just a few weeks. He gave me the confidence to come up to him and have a conversation. He is so friendly and welcome to express any concerns I may have. Great guy!

Melissa Vargas Posted over a year ago

As a young parent of a current proud early kindergarten student Mr. Welsh greated us with joy and happiness. When I had took my daughter to do her early kindergarten test I had so many questions and also concerns about my child starting school early but all the concerns went out the window when Mr. Welsh sat down with me and explained everything so clearly! I was pleased with Mr. Welsh you can really feel his passion, love and dedication he has for his students and staff. I couldn’t be happier that I made the right choice by putting my child at Union, also love the fact that I attended Union as well back in my days and now only wished I would’ve had an AWESOME principal like Mr. Welsh !

Yesica Serrano Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is an excellent example of what dedication and consideration looks like in a Principal who cares for his students. His students are his motivation to achieve and go beyond to fulfill and resolve any situation. Unfortunately I had an issue with one of my daughters classmate and as soon as I went to let him know the next day within hours the issue was resolved. His mornings always start by a high-five outside the gate to every student who crosses path through there, he also remembers each and every students name for the most part and for the past 5 years or so since my kids have been attending union there has never been a day where he doesn’t miss to greet them with a high five or dismiss them with a goodbye outside the school. I’m thankful for Mr. Welsh and his dedication, may God bless you and thank you for being the kind, warm hearted, caring principal there could ever be! Thank you for you great service to our students!

Melissa Vargas Posted over a year ago

As a young parent of a current proud early kindergarten student Mr. Welsh greated us with joy and happiness. When I had took my daughter to do her early kindergarten test I had so many questions and also concerns about my child starting school early but all the concerns went out the window when Mr. Welsh sat down with me and explained everything so clearly! I was pleased with Mr. Welsh you can really feel his passion, love and dedication he has for his students and staff. I couldn’t be happier that I made the right choice by putting my child at Union, also love the fact that I attended Union as well back in my days and now only wished I would’ve had an AWESOME principal like Mr. Welsh !

Cynthia vazquez Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is a great community asset great role model and leader. I love the school my kids both attended at one point. Hea friendly and willimg to listen and gives us parents assurance support and a piece of mind. Thank you Mr. Welsh for all that you do and also his support staff!

Lisa Feyma Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh, is the type of principle that everyone should have a chance to work for in their teaching job at least once. He is the type of person that really does care and support his teaching staff, parents, and students. He is the nicest, and most wonderful person to work for and know.

Norma Posted over a year ago

Mr Welsh is a wonderful principle. I have never had the exietiance of seing a principles so involved in all the school activities. He knows most if not all the kids names he’s very friendly to everyone specially the parents. He gives you the confidence to come up to hI’m and have a conversation or express any concerns you may have. He’s awesome!

Brenda Tinajero Posted over a year ago

Well.... I don’t even know where to start, as Mr.Welsh has done so much for me and my kids. He help me get a job he help me get become a school bus driver, he was there when me and my kids weren’t doing the best during Christmas and threw out the year. MAN!!! Mr. Welsh is the best person,the greatest PERSON ever!!! He really deserves this and MORE!! He has a big Heart for the students and the parents and all his staff. You couldn’t go wrong with giving Mr. Welsh Has THE LIFE CHANGE OF THE YEAR!!! Trust me you have the right person right here Mr. Welsh

Cherrish Anderson Posted over a year ago

I met Mr. Welsh 3 years ago. My daughter was coming from Hurley Ranch where she attended pre K for early childhood development. We popped up during the summer at Union just to get information and Mr. Welsh was there. So friendly and open. He gave us a tour of the school, during this time I learned this was his first year at Union. Ultimately we decided to go to Union. Every morning he greets everyone with a good morning and a hand shake or a high five. How he remembers everyone's first or last name I don't know. I really appreciate Mr. Welsh. I was really hoping the school would extend to 6th grade so my children didn't have to transfer after the 2nd grade.

Yajaira Loera Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is committed to his kids, his school and staff. My son started K this year. The first person he met when we arrived Union Elementary for my son to take his early admission assessment was Mr. Welsh. He immediately made a connection with my son making him feel right at home. Mr. Welsh is the first person you see when you arrive school and the last. He is always interacting with parents and children despite his busy day. Mr. Welsh’s engagement to his role as a principal, devotion to education and humbleness to his community makes him stand out.

Cynthia Vazquez Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is an incredible person caring and is on top of his school. He makes a big difference for our kids and makes it a pleasure to be part of this school. He always makes us feel that we matter takes time for us. I really appreciate him.

William Lee Posted over a year ago

Me and my family have known mr. Welsh for over 8 years he has always been consistent in nature about our children's education in the community we live in not everybody cares it's good to have a principal that doesn't care about economic standards or color but reaches out to the children and the parents to come together and care about education as a whole truly good people are hard to find and even harder and Leadership roles I hope that we keep this friends in our community he has been a blessing to me and my famiky

William Lee Posted over a year ago

The best principle of ever known he truly cares about every child and puts them first... Very personable guy professional in every manner takes the time to speak to each individual child and parent. I'm glad we have such a excellent person as principal and a friend

Secora Coleman Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is an amazing individual. I have 4 kids all the same age with different support needs. From the first time I meet Mr. Welsh he expressed genuine kindness and concern for my child's needs. He is always so welcoming and kind. He knows every parent and student that comes into the school. He takes time with the kids and even worked with me checking in and giving resources to help my children be successful. I love that my kids see their principal and get excited and want to greet him when they see him (sometimes there is a line because so many kids run to him and greet him). His passion for his work and the value he sees in the kids is priceless. Thank you, Mr. Welsh for your compassion and caring with the kids.

Vilma Pelen Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is just over all and amazing person. I’ve never met anyone who is so involved in the lives of students. Every day he greets all the kids from the school, as well as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings. Kids are always ready to get their high fives from him at the beginning of they day and at the end of the day. The dedication he has, to making the school a great environment, is incredible and I believe that has caused every staff member to follow his leadership and together have created such a great experience for kids and parents. Mr. Welsh has an open-door policy and he means it. No matter how busy he is, he always makes the time to talk to parents and students. My son is always happy to see him every day. The few times he has not seen Mr. Welsh at school he worries if Mr. Welsh is OK or sick. That’s how I know he has made a positive impact on my son. I will always be grateful that my son started his education and experience with school in a positive form with such an amazing principal who demonstrates that he loves his job and students.

Sally Posted over a year ago

I met Mr. Welsh at my dental office I used to work at. He was so down to earth and funny. W hit it at at his very first dental appointment.I know he loves being around the kids and loves his job.

Ron Christiana Posted over a year ago

Michael Welsh is a great human being, teacher, mentor, classmate and friend. I had the privilege to go to school with Mr. Welsh at Buchanan High School. He was an amazing student that was there for everyone. He didn’t see color, gender or sex...he saw you! We all knew he would go on to better and greater things. His calming demeanor would help those in need at anytime. He is very deserving of this award. I am very proud of him and all his accomplishments in life and career. He has no limits as to how high he can fly. We are all back here watching abs waiting for that next great step in his life. He has done Buchanan proud!

Rebecca Malanado Posted over a year ago

There is no words for this mans passion for these children, he was born to do this ! His loving nature and fouls he sets forth to give and love and teach humanity is quite profound , With every child Michael gives them love and understanding he treats them like his own and family’s as well. This award dose not go far enough this man is priceless. A gift I thank is mother for bringing this soul into our life’s ,he is truly the biggest star in the sky’

Jessica Diamond Posted over a year ago

Michael Welsh is just a step above the rest! I first worked with him when I was a new teacher. He was assigned as my mentor and I cannot explain the knowledge that he passed on to me! So grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him!

Debbie Moncayo Posted over a year ago

I had the privilege of hiring Mr. Welch for his first teaching position here in Arizona. He told me then that he planned on becoming an administrator. As a teacher, Mr. Welch demonstrated such care and concern for his students, the parents of his students and his colleagues. Michael was an excellent teacher and I knew then he would one day make a great school principal. His school community is very fortunate to have Mr. Welch as their leader.

Juanita Castaneda Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is someone who is always out saying goodbye to his students and welcoming them every morning. Not a day goes by that he is not out on grounds saying hi to everyone who approaches him.

Timber Anderson Posted over a year ago

Michael Welsh is an excellent administrator and an amazing person. He supports all of his staff members and truly cares about us personal and professionally. He is the heart and soul of our school and the reason that we have excellent highly qualified teachers who want to return year after year.

Guadalupe Harper Posted over a year ago

I recently started working with Mr.Welsh and in this time I have seen a man who extremely dedicated to Union Elementary. He is truly the heart and soul of our school. He treats his staff, parents and students like family. He is the sweetest and the most caring Principal I've every met. He always makes time for everyone at our school and is genuine with his actions.

Kristine Morris Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh understands that leaders matter. He takes time to know his students and staff, understand their strengths and challenges, and then works to ensure they are provided with support and opportunity to grow and thrive. He challenges his students and staff to reach rigorous goals, and he does so with a caring heart and helping hand. Through his words and deeds he has impacted our community and changed lives, and is truly worthy of receiving this recognition. Congratulations Mr. Welsh!

Cara Hill Posted over a year ago

I have only known Mr. Welsh for a short period of time, but immediately you can feel his passion for education and for his students. He is visible around campus, engaging teachers, students and staff with a positive attitude and smile. This is exactly the type of person you want leading a school, one with charisma, passion, enthusiasm, tenacity, and an eagerness to help make everyone around him successful. He leads by example. Congratulations on your nomination Mr. Welsh.

Flor Santoyo Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Mr. Welsh, thank you for all your hard work and dedication with all students but specially with my two boys! Even though my boys and I have had struggles lately in our family you and your team work have been there for us I'm truly blessed and thankful for all your help, could not have had it any other way great school!!

Cristina aguirre Posted over a year ago

Could not agreee more with Ms Sisson.

Lola Borja Posted over a year ago

I was a substitute Teacher at Union Elementary. Mr Welsh always made me fill welcome and helped with any thing I might need. I also volunteered since my granddaughter attend this school. I have many times seen him cover teachers duties. He is always visible on the drop off zone, cafeteria, playgrounds and welcoming the students and parents.

Jessica Penunuri Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh, you are truly an amazing person!! Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and passion. Congratulations to you on your nomination!! =0)

Debbie Hutson Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is truly deserving of this award! I met Michael when I worked with him at his previous school. He had just been hired as an assistant principal. I served as a New Teacher Mentor, so therefore I worked closely with Michael, in many situations. I was able to watch him develop his leadership skills over those two years. I could tell from the beginning thatMichael would grow into a very effective administrator! I ha e also worked for him at Union Elementary, and his school runs very smoothly, and his staff is a great, supportive team. Everything that Mrs. Sisson wrote in her nomination letter describes Michael perfectly. He is a great administrator!

Betty Leon Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh introduced himself to me as the Principal of Union Elementary School but I quickly learned he was much more than that; he is a mentor, counselor, administrator, and a well respected Principle by his staff and community. As a parent of a kindergartner I was welcomed to volunteer at the school and witnessed first hand how his generosity and thoughtfulness played a big role in the school’s day-to-day agenda. Mr. Welsh made it his mission to involve parents, he understood the importance and true meaning of transparency and not only believed but lead his staff with the model of “together we will succeed” which is also quoted in his bio. If the LifeChanger Award is for a person who thrives off of pure generosity, a dedicated leader, mentor, and administrator who not only loves what he does but is well respected and known for putting others first, then Mr. Welsh I can say wholeheartedly would be a perfect recipient. Respectfully, Betty Leon -Kinder??Mom

Cassidy Rasmussen Posted over a year ago

I worked with Mr. Welsh for a short time last year and learned so much from him. He cares about every single person he meets. He helped me gain resources that I used in my class to benefit the students. He wants every staff member to succeed. If more people were like Mr. Welsh, this world would be a better place!

Frank Sisson Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh has gone out of his way to greet and welcome myself and other volunteers throughout the year! He always shows caring and support for parents, staff, and students.

Susie Hom Posted over a year ago

I first meet Michael Welsh when he moved to Arizona, and took a 3rd grade position at Kenilworth Elementary School in the Phoenix Elementary School District. I was a special education teachet. Michael had a student with autism who was on my caseload. The care and dedication Michael exhibited towards this student made me admire him. We worked together throughout the year to provide a positive atmosphere for this student. In the years I have known Michael, I have seen him grow. He has been a classroom teacher, a new teacher mentor, an assistant principal, and finally a principal. In each of his positions, he has shown the same care and dedication towards all his colleagues. Michael puts forth more than 100%. He is involved with every aspect of his school. He goes above and beyond to make everyone welcome. Michael is very deserving of this nomination.

Stef Guilliam Posted over a year ago

Mike. I can’t say enough about this man. My children are older and home educated but interact with Mike on a regular basis. This man, no matter how busy he is, takes time to meet up with my kids to mentor them, teach them and build their self esteem. He gives generously of his time and puts every ounce of his being into making children successful. If my kids went to school, I would want them to go where Mike is the leader!

Marcy Poet Posted over a year ago

Micheal is one of a kind! One of the nicest people I know and I’m proud to call him a friend. He is also a wonderful educator and his staff is lucky to have him :)

Michelle Vielbig Posted over a year ago

Michael is such a caring man to children and this compassion carries well outside a school building. I have known Mike through our shared hobby of raising rabbits and guniea pigs. I initially met and became friends with Mike through this hobby but his support has extended to my son with special needs. My son decided to raise guniea pigs at 9 years old and Mike has transported animals for me. He has also generously given my son animals from his own herd on many occasions to help my son improve his animals. I have also seen Mike help many youth at shows with animals and advice as he really goes out of his way with kids in the hobby. It has been a true gift to know Michael and I feel blessed to have him in my life.

Mary Cassiday Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is an amazing person. He makes time for everyone; staff, students, parents and anyone interested in education. He is always available if you need help or just someone to share a fusrating situation with.

Deborah Porchas Posted over a year ago

Mr Welsh is a kind, caring, intelligent man. He is my favorite administrator by far!

Bert Felland Posted over a year ago

I have met Mr. Welsh on two occasions while visiting a former colleague who now teaches there. He greeted me so warmly and made me feel so welcome! You can tell the climate of a school pretty quickly as you visit. It was obvious that the kids and staff love their leader! Keep up the great work!

Mary mitchell Posted over a year ago

Michael started his teaching career in Buchanan Michigan and everybody loved him here it was sad to see him move you guys aren't the lucky ones that received him in Arizona is a very kind and caring man it does not surprise me that he has been nominated

Kristel High Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is a true life changer!! He supports and guides staff, students, and families through his actions and words. He knows every staff, student, and family by name. He is a great role model for staff through his active support, suggestions, and involvement in your classroom daily events. The students thrive in their academic and emotional growth when he talks with them as a group or individually on a daily basis, which May occur in class, in lunchroom, or walking down the hall. He has made a difference in the lives of many and inspired positive growth mindset.

Jennifer Gillham Posted over a year ago

Mike is the very best!! He’s a great educator, a great friend, a great person! He’s always willing to lend a ear, give a hug, and care about what’s going on in your life...and even though his visits to Michigan are short, he always makes time for everyone! No one deserves this nomination more!

Barbara Burns Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is the BEST!!!!! Despite being so busy, he always has time for everyone, staff, students more importantly parents. He has always had an open door policy. He listens to what we have to say and comes up with a resolution in all matters. He has no problem "rolling up his sleeves" and helping out where needed, rather it be answer phones, janitorial, nurse, counselor. He's a jack of all trades. He's very respected by his staff and the surrounding community. Parents tell us they dread when their child leaves our school. Mr. Welsh makes everyone feel like family. Its always a family atmosphere at Union Elementary. He's a very kind, caring individual. Every morning you can find him outside greeting staff, students and parents. A rare find.

Stephanie Sisson Posted over a year ago

Mr. Welsh is an amazing administrator! He meets with new staff over the summer to provide support and build community, as well as ensure they are connected to their grade level team.