LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Amanda Faulkner-Barrett

Position: English Teacher
School: Hayden High School
School District: Blount County Schools
City, State: Hayden, AL

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Music that Describes Amanda

Amanda Faulkner-Barrett was nominated by her colleague, Amy Seiber.

Have you ever had a friend who could always turn your frown upside down? Have you ever known anyone who could take a situation that seemed negative and hopeless and twist it into something positive and hopeful? Ms. Faulkner-Barrett is one of those magical people who can uncannily determine what people need to be able to move forward with hope in their hearts. She is a provider of hope. 

"Many times, I have gone to her, teacher to teacher, with a sad story or classroom frustration—for example, once a student told me about a classmate who was taking any drugs that anyone handed her," said Seiber. "I was very concerned and disappointed. Amanda said, 'Well, if she’s taking whatever people give her, let’s give her some hope.' Amanda worked hard to help and encourage this student, and I’m happy to say that this week, I saw that same student’s college graduation announcement. She made it! Instead of giving up, Amanda built her up, and this gave her hope. Watching Amanda’s reaction to this student, whom everyone else was giving up on, inspired me to be better and to try harder to also be a provider of hope."

When students needed higher ACT scores, Ms. Faulkner-Barrett studied. She learned the game of standardized tests, and she started coaching her students in class. Many of her students have drastically improved their scores with her help. Good ACT scores provide hope to rural students, who might not have pathways to college without the magic numbers on their tests. She prefers teaching literature and writing, but she gives the student the strategies they need to move ahead with hope. 

Ms. Faulkner-Barrett is also the yearbook sponsor at her school. Her yearbook staff adores her. She pushes them to produce a quality product and teaches them to be good journalists and history writers. The teamwork she fosters in them is unusual in what is often a socially diverse group of students. She teaches them to connect with each other, an experience that will feed their hopes. 

Ms. Faulkner-Barrett is an artist, writer, musician, teacher, counselor and friend. She is always striving to be better, to improve her skills in all that she does, and to find new ways to reach and inspire her students and coworkers. She finds the opportunity within the challenge and follows through. She is a LifeChanger.

Comments (1)

Caleb Burnett Posted over a year ago

America is filled with tons of great educators, but Amanda Faulkner-Barrett is one of a kind. I am one of her students. She has taught me English, and I have been on her yearbook staff for 3 years. Over those 3 years, one thing stands true: she has never lost faith in the tenacity of the human spirit. I had never even worked a camera before I joined yearbook staff, but now, thanks to her never-ending support and belief in her students, this year I am editor of the Yearbook staff. Her passion for teaching goes beyond her love for literature, journalism, art, and design. Her passion for teaching is driven by hope, faith, and the dozens of past students that she has had the chance to discuss and present life changing ideas to. She has had a huge impact on my high school experience, but has had an even bigger impact on my life.