LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Brenda Chandler

Position: Fifth Grade Teacher
School: Gammon Elementary School
School District: USD 259 Wichita Public Schools
City, State: Wichita, KS

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Brenda Chandler was nominated by her principal, Mendie Vicin.

Have you ever entered a classroom and not wanted to leave? That is what it feels like in Ms. Chandler's class. Ms. Chandler takes students from where they are and grows them to where they were meant to be. It doesn't matter if a student comes to her with academic, behavioral, or social challenges. Ms. Chandler will embrace that student, create high expectations for them, and support them all along the way. Vicin has witnessed her "magical touch" on scores of students in the last three years. Her students highly respect her, want nothing more than to please her, and thoroughly enjoy being in her classroom.

Ms. Chandler is a leader within her school and her district. She serves on her building leadership team and her school MTSS (Multi Tier System of Supports) team. She is also a Technology Master Teacher, and a Support Technology Specialist. At the district level, she writes science curriculum for fifth grade students across the district. In all of these roles, she leads with professionalism, a high degree of knowledge, and a passion for students. She is recognized by her colleagues as an expert, and they hold her in high regard. She often leads professional development for staff in all areas, including technology integration, rigorous and explicit instruction, and behavior supports. Ms. Chandler has a growth mindset, and she actively seeks out new opportunities to learn and positively impact her practice. She brings this learning back to her school, where she willingly shares with her colleagues.

Gammon Elementary's staff are unusually close, and they all care for each other. Ms. Chandler is one reason the staff is so tight. She has positive connections with staff from all grade levels and from all areas, including teachers, aides, custodians, and volunteers. She is professional and kind to all.

Ms. Chandler is a fellow 'rule-follower' and as such, she constantly self-reflects to ensure that she is acting to the highest degree of moral and ethical character. Her barometer is constantly asking herself, "is this what is best for students?." In this, she helps lead and grow those around her to ensure that they, too, are doing what is best for students. One example (of which there are many) is a student who was removed from their previous school for behavior. This child was very low performing academically due to his behavior.

"On his first day at Gammon, he told me how much he hated school, and he didn't want to be here, and he was going to do what he needed to do to get kicked out," Vicin said. "Fast forward six months and he made HUGE academic gains, loved school and cried when he had to say good-bye to Ms. Chandler. She has that impact on all her students. She is truly a LifeChanger for students and those who have the privilege of working with her."

Comments (15)

Melissa Dickinson Posted over a year ago

I have been very fortunate to work with Brenda, since I first began my teaching career. From the moment I began working with Brenda, it became very evident what a remarkable teacher she is and the impact she has on students, parents, and staff alike. She is a wealth of knowledge and support, and the influence she has on our staff is truly exceptional. Brenda was my mentor during my first year of teaching, and she helped me grow tremendously. She still continues to help me develop as an educator. I have learned an immense amount of knowledge by observing and working with Brenda. She is a model teacher, a model that all can aspire to be like. I am so fortunate to have Brenda as my teammate, as she is truly a life changer! Brenda has changed not only my life, but the life of EVERY student who has entered her classroom. She is a dedicated and devoted teacher who empowers even the most challenging students to strive for excellence through the relationships she builds with each of her students. Her students want to achieve solely because of their astounding teacher’s impact on them. It is certain that they will never forget the influence she had on them- as they come back years later thanking her for all that she did! Brenda is constantly looking for ways to improve her teaching. She does not stop until all students achieve. She will continue to positively impact the lives of her students and staff for years to come.

Jared Chandler Posted over a year ago

Brenda has always gone the extra mile when it comes to providing her students with the best education possible. Over the years of teaching at Gammon, Brenda has changed the lives of hundreds of students and set them on a positive course to adulthood. Brenda strives to build positive relationships and trust between her and her students as it's not just a job for her, it's her passion and she loves doing it. As her son, my mom is the best educator I know, and when I hear stories of previous students coming back to Gammon and telling her the same thing, it doesn't surprise me one bit. She truly devotes herself to her students, I am so proud of my mom!

Sherrie L. Brooks Posted over a year ago

I have had the pleasure of knowing Brenda Chandler when she started her journey as a teacher. During her first year of teaching she taught with passion and compassion that has continued throughout her teaching career. She takes the time to build a relationship with each student that enters her classroom in order to take them to new heights. Expectations in her classroom are high and students work hard as they know if they don’t understand a concept or skill, Ms. Chandler will find ways to help them. As an educator, she is always looking at ways to improve her art of teaching and will never stop to ensure the success of the students in her care. When a parent tells you that the best year her struggling child had in their school career was the year he was in Ms. Chandler's classroom, you know that she is and will continue to be a life changer.

Meredith Compton Posted over a year ago

I have had the privilege of working with Brenda for three years. I am in awe of her teaching and how she builds relationships with her students. Even the most challenging students are successful in her classroom--she instills confidence and has high expectations for all of her students. My very first year teaching, I would watch her and think to myself, "I hope I am as good as her someday." I have learned so much from watching her teach and it has helped shape me as an educator. Not only is she an amazing teacher, she is the backbone of Gammon. She is a true leader and wears many hats in our building. Although she has a plethora of roles and works tirelessly, she is never too busy to help, listen, solve a problem, etc. I am extremely lucky to call Brenda my friend and colleague. There is no one more deserving of this nomination - - she has changed and enhanced so many lives, and will continue to do so. She is the true definition of a Lifechanger!!

Genia LeRoy Posted over a year ago

I have known Brenda Chandler for many years. I have the honor and privilege to call her my friend. I have also had the privilege to work with Brenda as her para. She is passionate about teaching and making sure her students learn and understand each subject. She is also a great co-worker. If one of her paras has something to add to the subject being taught, she is enthusiastic about the para sharing that knowledge. She has a fantastic sense of humor and shares it with her students and coworkers. She is one of best teachers I know and I only have that opinion about a few of the teachers I have worked with in the last 16 years and all of them are at Gammon.

Pam Bush Posted over a year ago

I had the privilege to work closely with Brenda and the 5th grade team this school year. We had regular meetings to discuss the needs of some of the challenging kids in her room and possible strategies for each one. She works hard to develop relationships with her students and has high expectations for all. When I go into her room to observe one of the students, I find myself instead listening to her teach and engaging the children in the lesson and don't want to leave. She is an amazing teacher and our school is so lucky to have her on our team.

Megan Carney Posted over a year ago

I am very lucky to be able to work in the same building as Brenda. We serve on many of the same building teams and I sometimes get to present to the staff with her. I enjoy my time on these teams because Brenda is always looking forward to what will be needed for the success of all students at Gammon. She is extremely knowledgeable and is enthusiastic about passing her knowledge onto others in such a way that other teachers, including myself, want to learn. As a teacher and co-worker if I feel like this, it must be amazing to be a student in her classroom! She is always there to support staff with questions and goes the extra mile to help us with our needs. She has changed my life and the lives of many students!

Shannan Grilliot Posted over a year ago

Brenda works tirelessly to include all students in instruction and make sure they are all understanding the material presented and working to do their best every time. I've watched her interact with parents and students, and heard first hand the praise from both parties as they've acknowledged how she always pushes students to do their best. I've also watched her build trusting relationships with difficult students, those with behavior issues specifically, and it never ceases to amaze me how she is able to keep discipline issues under control with tight rules and expectations, without negatively impacting her relationships with those students. She works tirelessly to keep all students learning, understanding, while maintaining a safe and productive learning environment for everyone in her classroom. Brenda is a true team player, always communicating with and supporting her fellow teachers and Child Study Team members. I really cannot say enough good about Ms. Chandler! We are lucky to have her at Gammon!

Dean Weir Posted over a year ago

Brenda loves children and has made it a life of passion. Brenda has raised two loving boys. Brenda has devoted her time and love in teaching children in classrooms for years. Brenda has showed everlasting devotion in changing our little ones life's forever.

Marilyn Barto Posted over a year ago

My niece has been a devoted teacher for so many years. She has always been there for her students. And she will always be a life changer.

David Chandler Posted over a year ago

Brenda is a devoted educator who wants nothing more than the success of her students, and will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure this. It is truly amazing to witness firsthand, a student of Brenda’s, years prior, returning to thank her for being their best teacher ever, and to inform her on how much of an impact she had on their life in one school year. I am extremely proud to call her my mother!

Shirley Shifflett Posted over a year ago

Brenda is in that group of teachers who are determined that her students LEARN in her class and goes the extra mile to make that happen. She cares about each student and enjoys her role in helping them set and meet goals. I have no doubt that years from now when these kids are adults that if asked who their favorite teacher was, they will say Mrs. Chandler. This not because her class was fun but because she made learning fun and rewarding.

Jessica Goodpasture Posted over a year ago

Brenda is a remarkable teacher, leader in our school, and is a true friend. It has been an honor to get to know her and I appreciate all that she does for our school and our students. She goes above and beyond to make accommodations and ensures all students are provided the opportunities to excel in her classroom! She is an extremely hard worker and is truly passionate about teaching! We are lucky to have her at Gammon.

Kellie Neises Posted over a year ago


Lori A Patton Posted over a year ago

Brenda has been an asset to our 5th grade science curriculum for the past three years. I have had the honor and privilege to work with her on the science curriculum committee and with a three year science grant. Her knowledge of science and how to make it correlate to the New Generation Science Standards has made it attainable for all our teachers and students. Brenda is an amazing teacher, colleague, and friend who always puts students first! My glamson goes to her school and I look forward to him having her as his 5th grade teacher1