LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Jeanine Charlton

Position: Special Education Teacher/School Psychologist
School: Cheyenne Mountain High School
School District: Cheyenne Mountain District 12
City, State: Colorado Springs, CO

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Jeanine Charlton was nominated by her colleague, Kathryn Carruth.

“It's been the best time of my life, to be honest. This is my favorite class, and I love it so much. Honestly, back when I was a freshman - and even before that - I wasn't really happy with my life. I didn't want to live. After joining LEAD, it just helped me so much.”

This is the impact Ms. Charlton has on the students in her classroom. 

One in five students with a learning disability drops out of high school, unless they are a part of LEAD. Student after student will say they graduate because of the safe environment Ms. Charlton provides.

“It’s like a family,” says one student.

“We're family. I feel like I wouldn't have the friends I have now if it wasn't for LEAD,” another student says.   

A Nationally Certified School Psychologist, she teaches her students about their learning disabilities and how to advocate for themselves.

“LEAD has given me confidence,” a student says with a big smile. 

"I could go on and on about how Jeanine is making a significant difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership, but I wanted you to hear straight from her students," said Carruth.

In addition to her work with LEAD, Ms. Charlton also serves as one of the school psychologists for the Cheyenne Mountain School District and works with students from birth through age 21. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications/Public Relations from Columbia College Chicago in 2000, a Master’s degree in Special Education from Northern Illinois University in 2002, and earned her Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology from New Mexico State University in 2012.

Comments (46)

Patty Burke Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is a passionate school psychologist who makes a difference in her student's lives. She is very knowledgeable on special education law and will make sure students receive the support they need to be successful not only in the school setting but in all of their settings. I had the privilege to work beside her years ago and hope to one day work with her again. She is definitely a life changer and deserves this nomination.

Sam Jurekovic Posted over a year ago

I have had the great pleasure to work to work with Jeanine this past year, and I can't think of too many people who match her passion and care for students. She is AMAZING!! Every student who has her as a teacher/mentor are better for it and have significantly more opportunity to be successful than they would be otherwise.

Christina Jurekovic Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is highly respected by both her students and colleagues. Everyday she looks for ways to support students' academic, social, and emotional well-being. I'm so thankful to have her at our school because she has such a positive influence on students and families in our community.

Brittany Gimbrone Posted over a year ago

As someone who works with jeanine, her passion for students is obvious. She works long hours tirelessly to advocate for her kids. As a school psychologist, her ability to capture the whole child in her reports helps teams write plans for kids that really build their strengths while addressing their needs.

Kathryn Boyd Posted over a year ago

Jeanine has truly made such a positive impact on the lives of students. She gets to know them as people and walks with each of them on their individual journeys. She supports them and challenges them to become who they are meant to be. Those who work with Jeanine will tell you that she has inspired them to be become better, as well. It has been a privilege to work with Jeanine and see the kind of impact she is having on the lives of those around her.

Lynda Henderson Posted over a year ago

Jeanine Charlton is a gifted and intuitive psychologist and educator. Her authentic nature allows her to develop positive and meaningful relationships with students, teachers, parents and administrators. I have worked with Jeanine as a principal when she served our student community as our building psychologist and as a recipient of the LEAD program students after she moved to the High School. Not once in my seven years of working with Jeanine have I experienced anything less than exemplary professionalism and heart. She ALWAYS puts students first! I honestly couldn't think of a more appropriate recipient of this honor.

Luciano Posted over a year ago

If it wasn't for Jeanine I wouldn't be able to do half what I can today, she has taught me to advocate and stand up for myself and speak to teachers and any kind of higher authority with confidence. and outside of that she has been a very good person to talk to.

Bill Walsh Posted over a year ago

Jeanine has had a tremendous impact on my sons life both in school and in personal self confidence. Her efforts with teens and disabilities cannot be expressed through just one comment. Jeanine is an invaluable asset to our school district and the students.

Ian Souter Posted over a year ago

She has impacted more lives than I can count.

Dillon McElroy Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is a wonderful teacher and has made me want to learn and enjoy it.

Tyler Morris Posted over a year ago

LEAD has helped me grow into the person I am today. The sole reason why LEAD has changed me is Ms. Charlton and her character. She is the reason why I walk into LEAD with a smile on my face and leave happier than I was before.

Peyton Walsh Posted over a year ago

Without LEAD I wouldn't be who I am today. Mrs. Charlton is one of the teachers where I get excited everyday to come to class.

Keegan Sullivan Posted over a year ago

Ms.Charlton makes LEAD a safe environment you can talk about anything that makes you feel better you know she will not judge you. She is always their to help you

Sue Hayden Posted over a year ago

I have known and worked with Jeanine for 5 years and it has been a pleasure. She is committed and passionate in all aspects of her role working with students with disabilities. She always has the student's best interest at heart and will encourage them to strive to achieve their full potential. She definitely is a life changer for students and it is great to see her acknowledged for this.

Sarah Squire Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is a true professional and gift to those who are fortunate enough to work with her. Her abilities to mentor and empower the young adults she works with enables them to truly reach their full potential and become independent and confident leaders in the community.

Christine Wilcox Kneupper Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is the consummate professional and colleague. I had the good fortune of working with Jeanine for three years prior to my retirement in May 2018. Jeanine is an outstanding listener. She exhibits compassion, empathy, and thinks before speaking a response with much discernment and encouragement. Jeanine, also, supports her LEAD students and families with her knowledge and expertise as a National Certified School Psychologist. She examines the mind, body, and spirit of each individual. Jeanine is a member of the Cheyenne Mountain School District Crisis Team, and integrates her crisis and CPI training into evaluation and assessment of students' mental and behavioral health needs. I relied on Jeanine's support, knowledge, and understanding of present and past trauma as well as the secondary trauma I was experiencing. Jeanine is so deserving of the Life Changer of the Year award and recognition. She has been a Life Changer for her students, families, and staff for all the years of her educational career!

Alan pocock Posted over a year ago

Having started LEAD in 1997 my biggest fear upon retirement was that something that has proven to be so beneficial to students and their families might not continue. When Jeanine agreed to add this program to her already full schedule, I was convinced the show would go on. Her ability to recognize that students with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders require scientific based instruction and brain based information coupled with her her background as a school psychologist make her the perfect fit. The LEAD concept is simple and yet profound. If you want to learn how to make your brain work better, you better learn how your brain works. Jeanine recognizes that you teach theses students to self advocate by teaching the teenage triangle of knowledge : social, emotional, and intellectual. Jeanine’s ability to create curriculum based on science, history of program, and her personal expertise continues to move the program in a direction that is an asset for not just the Cheyenne Mountain community and the Colorado Springs area but her leadership has national influences. From a personal and perhaps selfish point of view, watching something that I began almost 20 years ago continue to grow and still feel like I’m part of it 2 years into retirement speaks to the character of Jeanine. I am proud of her and proud for her.

Stacie Warren Posted over a year ago

Jeanine has been a colleague and friend for the last six years. She is one of the most compassionate, positive, and supportive educators I have known. Whether she is working with a student, a parent, or fellow teacher, she is ever present and caring. I can’t think of a more deserving person to nominate.

Elgin Fitzgerald Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is an extremely passionate and caring educator who truly cares about the needs of students with disabilities. She is willing to go out of her way to ensure that each and every student is receiving the services they need and are cared for appropriately. Having worked with Jeanine the past three years, I am happy to see her recognized as she truly is a life changer.

Sharon Vogel Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is a wonderful gift to the students, parents and staff at Cheyenne Mountain School District (CMSD) as a special education educator, leader of the high school LEAD (Learning and Educating About Disabilities) program, and a member of building and district support teams. Her contagious smile, compassion, and integrity, allow her to lead and empower students and co-workers on a daily basis. She is always willing to lend a listening ear, give an honest opinion, and walk through problems/concerns WITH you. A variety of career experiences prior to joining CMSD enhance her depth as a leader, but also keep her humble, genuine, self-aware of her own strengths, and a model collaborator! Whether she's working with a preschooler or a high schooler, a parent or a fellow co-worker, she is able to communicate, motivate, partner in a plan for success, empower, and be the ultimate team player! Jeanine's gift to education is beyond measurement - she has found her "calling" and I'm proud of the work she does on a daily basis!

Nicole Beauvais Posted over a year ago

I have worked with Jeanine in several different settings during the last 6 years. She has amazing commitment and compassion for the students that she works with. So happy and proud that she is being recognized!

Paula Doyle Posted over a year ago

Huge congratulations Jeanine on your nomination. Your students are very lucky to have such a caring dedicated person in their corner. You are such an awesome human.

Leisa Jolstad Posted over a year ago

Congratulations on this prestigious nomination, Jeanine! I have enjoyed working with you the last 4.5 years. Your dedication to LEAD is admirable!

ANDREA TERRONES Posted over a year ago

Jeanine supports and teaches students so they can become better self advocates and learn from their mentoring expericences.

Dan Moses Posted over a year ago

I worked with Janine for 5 years as a Special Education teacher and she as a school Psychologist, I can honestly say she is very compassionate about helping students achieve to their Maximum. She has made more impact on the lives around her than she will ever realize. No one deserves this more than Jeanine!

Erin McMahon Posted over a year ago

Truly amazing work that is making a difference!

Roseanne Kelly Posted over a year ago

Jeannine is a dedicated and compassionate tutor! I’ve no doubt her students will and have already benefited immensely from her kindness and individual approach.

Hannah Kohl Posted over a year ago

I had the luck and the pleasure to work with Jeanine when she was teaching abroad at the American School Foundation of Monterrey, Mexico. Jeanine taught special education and I was the music and theater teacher. While we covered different subjects, our missions were the same - to meet our kids where they were at, to help them determine their talents and strength while recognizing and bolstering the areas where they needed support and to do it in a kind and loving atmosphere that put the student first. I learned so much from watching Jeanine interact with her students. She was so warm, so encouraging, so determined to put the good first and to treat her students as valuable humans with learning differences that could be addressed and often conquered. I also watched her interact with parents with such truthfulness and compassion that real change was able to take place, even with those parents originally in denial. She advocated for her students with their other teachers, as well, helping us learn how best to accommodate any learning needs and giving us the heads up when there was something going on that we might not readily pinpoint. She was instrumental in my development as an educator - in learning to understand that KNOWING (before reacting or assuming)could be the make-or-break difference between breaking a child’s spirit and identifying their talent and helping them shine. We worked closely, first as colleagues, then as friends. So many of her students excelled in my music classroom and theater programs after I learned (from Jeanine! Not from my masters program in teaching!) how to identify different learning and behavioral issues so that I could modify my lessons so that ALL my students could be successful. Did she do this in a way that made me feel like I was being corrected or shamed for not knowing? No. She treated me with the same kindness, dignity, warmth and respect she treated every single student and parent in her care. Because of her, I was able to identify kids who would truly benefit from the camaraderie and structure (and showmanship!) of the theater program and to bring out the talents often hidden in other subjects and mediums. Because of Jeanine, my classroom also became a sanctuary and a place where students could count on tenderness, joy, respect, true learning and fun. Jeanine’s bright spirit and positive approach to those often difficult situations gave so many children the opportunity to stay in our school, amongst their friends and favorite teachers, instead of being “counseled out” to become some other school’s “problem.” Children were never a problem to Jeanine - a puzzle, maybe, but one she was alway committed and determined to solve. Sometimes, the solution was more beautiful that the intended outcome. Sometimes, it was helping a grieving family accept a diagnosis or to finally face the truth. Because of Jeanine, so many more of our children got the care and help they needed to succeed instead of being shuffled along to the next school. // One story has always stayed with me from our time together in Mexico. Jeanine had opened her home to me and we’d become roommates after a hurricane had collapsed the roof of my house. She just... took me in. No ego. No questions. Just welcome. Because we lived together, we often commuted home together and I would come to her room on my way out. I remember one day coming in after she had just finished explaining to a mother that the lead poisoning from chili candies made in China was causing major issues. She had had to explain again that lead poisoning was irreversible to a mother who kept asking, “But when will he outgrow this? When can he get back to normal?” And the fact was.... never. But jeanine gave that new with such authority. In my heart, I know I’m a better educator because of her shining example. I’m fortunate to have had her as a mentor, colleague and friend.

George Carpouzis Posted over a year ago

I was fortunate to work with Jeanine Charlton at the American School in London. I watched her professionalism. I saw the care she gave to the students. I saw her collaborate and cooperate with other teachers in all fields. She is a teacher that gives her all!

Macee Posted over a year ago

Thank you, Jeanine! The work you do is much appreciated!!!

Salle Howes Posted over a year ago

As a parent of a LEAD (Learning and Educating About Disabilities) student, I was concerned when the original founder of LEAD retired. I was in fear that the program that taught my daughter the skills of self advocacy and the importance of self-knowledge, and gave her the ability and confidence to go to college in spite of multiple disabilities, would come to an end. Jeanine's expertise as a mental health expert and her understanding of the special challenges students with learning disabilities and ADHD face, has made her the perfect fit to carry on this unique and special program, which has made the difference in the lives of hundreds of students. I am so glad that LEAD still exists under the skillful direction of Jeanine.

Crystal Jackson-Medrano Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is an amazing human being! She's the reason the starts shine and the sun rises. She's always there for her kiddos, her friend, and her colleagues. Let's make sure the world knows how truly lucky we are to have such a spectacular person on our side! Go Jeanine!

Shannon Martinez-Myers Posted over a year ago

I have worked Jeanine for many years. Not only is she an amazing teacher and leader for our districts LEAD program, which is at the high school level, she is great with preschoolers as well. Jeanine has run groups for preschoolers to help them learn about their social/emotional skills. Our youngest students need adults who can support them in their challenges and Jeanine knows how to reach, support, and encourage even the youngest student. She is an amazing educator who truly cares for students.

Szaine Hinkle Posted over a year ago

Jeanine truly has a heart of gold. She would do anything and give anything for anyone, especially students. She is the truest friend and an excellent educator. She has made more impact on the lives around her than she will ever realize. No one deserves this more than Jeanine!

Jessie Jensen Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is a very kind and thoughtful person! She has been so welcoming during through the several months I have worked with her. She is a great resource to her colleagues and offers support however she can!

Mary Alex Dill Posted over a year ago

I work closely with Jeanine on the Cheyenne Mountain School District's Mental Health Team and as a colleague at our High School, where Jeanine and I frequently collaborate on how we can best support our students. Her students love her and she constantly shows them how much she values them and their abilities. She is a great source of support for her students as well as her colleagues, and I am grateful to work with her!

Katrina Matos Posted over a year ago

I first met Jeanine as a parent moving through the evaluation process a few years ago, and I‘ve always remembered her kindness and compassion. Her smile was there months later when we ran into each other at the annual CSSP fall conference. And as a fellow school psychologist, she has been nothing short of amazing in encouraging fellow colleagues like myself (even when we’re on maternity leave!). She’s definitely one who leaves an impact. Thank you, Jeanine!

Meghan Morrow Posted over a year ago

We are so proud of Jeanine! She has always had the biggest heart of anyone for helping others and wanting to see them succeed. We were so thrilled when she told us about her role with the LEAD program as we knew this was a perfect spot for her to put all her talents to use. It is so wonderful to see how well the program is doing and there is no doubt in my mind that Jeanine’s passion for helping others is a huge part of that success!

Elizabeth Armstrong Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is amazing! I have really enjoyed working with her. Her knowledge of mental health makes a great impact to our team. She is wonderful to work with and makes a large impact in our community!

Katie Carruth Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is beyond inspirational! She is devoted to providing kiddos with the tools and encouragement to succeed. Presenting opportunities for students to build self-esteem, a strong work-ethic, and understanding of themselves. Jeanine is not only a dream teacher, but also a dream colleague; she is tireless, fearless and completely gracious! She is professional and composed yet warm and relatable, I enjoy working with her and look forward to the day my younger children (who have dyslexia) are able to be mentored by her. Above and beyond is an understatement for this fine teacher!

Linda Posted over a year ago

Jeanine made a difference in my daughters life! She connected with students in that they felt they had a place to help them with all their issues and support each other along the way. You helped her build confidence in that she can become whatever she sets her mind to!

Shannon Adam Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is one of the most valuable colleagues I have ever worked with. Her expertise, compassion, and empathy for students with learning disabilities and beyond is astounding. She knows educational techniques for every student and every situation. She allows me to be a better educator by helping me to make my teaching and curriculum more accessible and effective for all students. Her sense of humor, approachability, and insight make her an asset to any student, parent, or professional who has contact with her. Her thoughtfulness and dedication drive the LEAD program and everyone involved in it!

Whitney Wyatt Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is amazing with our LEAD students!!!

Amanda Jewell Posted over a year ago

Jeanine is a person with a great sense of humor and a huge talent for helping others. She is very fair and holds her expectations at a level that help people grow to their full potential. I had the pleasure of working closely with her for only a week, but in that week, I saw her change lives. She brings a strong sense of responsibility to individuals that she serves to push them out of their comfort zone while still showing them that they are supported. She deserves to be recognized for her heart and her abilities.

Terry Delavega-Peck Posted over a year ago

Such a big heart and brilliant!!!

Sarah Squire Posted over a year ago

I worked with Jeanine with young adults with special needs, this past summer, and her professionalism and caring manner in which she communicates to the kids is magical. I think she could be called the "Kid Whisperer". Watching her work with a girl who has little to no self esteem, who totally came out of her shell, and started smiling was incredible. After a week she was holding her shoulders back and laughing. Not typical for this young lady. Her professionalism and leadership is extraordinary. I can't think of a more deserving person for this award. Sarah Squire, President Will's Hope