LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Kristin Turner

Position: Superintendent
School: Paloma Elementary School District
School District: Paloma Elementary School District
City, State: Gila Bend, AZ

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Music that Describes Kristin

Kristin Turner was nominated by her colleague, Chris Sanchez.

Ms. Turner is the epitome of what great leadership is all about in this day and age. Each and every day, she dedicates herself to making a beneficial difference in the lives of her students.

"While she is a superintendent by title, she spends more hands-on time with students in the classroom and in their recreational activities than any other leader I have ever seen," said Sanchez. "The expression on students' faces when they see her tells me everything I need to know about how much she means to them. Students leave this school and come back years after to visit and reminisce about the great times and moments they had here. When speaking to them, Kristin Turner's name comes up as the reason why."

Paloma Elementary School District's lone school, Kiser Elementary, is often referred to as "a Disneyland of schools." That's because the school atmosphere shares something very unique with Disneyland; it is truly the happiest place on earth for teachers to work.

"As someone who is been in larger districts and moved around in my life, I have never seen such a positive atmosphere that I have at Kiser Elementary," said Sanchez. "When you ask any staff member, community member, or student about why the atmosphere's so positive, you get the same answer: Kristin Turner."

Many staff members who work at Kiser Elementary commute over 45 minutes to work. They have other schools and school districts that are closer to them, but they make a conscious choice to work at Kiser because of the environment and atmosphere created by Ms. Turner.

"The leadership Kristin provides goes beyond anything I have ever seen," said Sanchez. "As a teacher, and even at other jobs, I would get anxious or frustrated about going into work. My experience here is a state of bliss. I am truly allowed to be the teacher that I want to be, and the teacher I feel I was meant to be. This is due to the leadership provided by Kristin Turner. I know I'm not alone in this sentiment, and I can assure you if you ask any other staff member or committee member, you'll get the same answer. She simply brings out the best in every one of us, not only as educators but also as human beings."

Paloma Elementary School District is a small, rural district in the middle of nowhere. However, to the staff and students, this school is the gem that most of them were looking for in their lives. They are part of a school that went from a state letter grade of D to a state letter grade of B within two years. This is due to the commitment and efforts of everyone involved under the leadership and beliefs installed by Ms. Turner.

"Every person in this school and community has the utmost confidence and belief that we are truly making a difference in the lives of students. Kristin Turner is the shining beacon of our achievements as a school," said Sanchez.

Sometimes in life, situations arise. All of us have family and friends who are important to us. At Kiser Elementary, the staff feels like they are a part of a family. When something happens to one staff member, it impacts all of them. This nurturing atmosphere and community feeling has been put in place due to Ms. Turner's leadership. This is not only evident to the staff, but to the community members, students, and visitors.

"As an employee under Kristin Turner, my colleagues and I are expected to have high moral and ethical standards. This isn't just something that is stated - it's an expectation that starts from the top through the example she sets," said Sanchez. "She will never ask you to do anything she is not willing to do herself, and quite often, she is the one doing most of the things for our educational community by herself. She never asks for praise or anything in return, and she always does what's in the best interest of the students. Kristin is the ultimate definition of what great leadership is and should be."

"The real proof comes in the day-to-day aspects of being a part of this community. It's very difficult to put into words, but it's definitely something you can see and feel when you are here at Kiser Elementary," said Sanchez. "Kristin Turner is not just a leader or my boss; she's my compass as I turn my way through life. This is the impact she has made on me, and I'm sure if you ask others who worked with her and know her, they would tell you the exact same thing.

Comments (14)

Chris Posted over a year ago

I have been an educator for almost 25 years. I have seen and met some incredible people over that time. People worthy of recognition far beyond what we can offer as a society. We all know people like this and if not, we can certainly envision these people when we try. Keeping this in mind, Kristin Turner's impact on the entire Gila Bend community, not only as an educator, but as a community member, parent and cherished friend, instills a foundation of hope. In the tiny community of Gila Bend, most families struggle to make ends meet. She gives these families and their children not only an education, but hope. She imbues three of the greatest gifts we can offer to others; compassion, happiness and the desire to become life long learners. Her impact can not be measured in words, it's felt in the deepest levels of our hearts and souls. Kristen Turner is far and away the most outsanding educator and person I have ever met in my life.

Sarahi Ruiz Posted over a year ago

She’s amazing!!! I’m really happy with her work skills and the deep interest on kids success,I couldn’t ask for a better place for my kids.

Erika Posted over a year ago

I am a teacher at the school, where Kristin is the superintendent. She is very dedicated not only to the students but, also her staff. As part of this amazing rural school, I feel valued, appreciate and trusted as a teacher under Kristin’s care. She brings the best out of all us, because she wants the best for our students. Kristin is a leader who is willing to make changes for the better. Paloma Elementary is a wonderful place to work at, because of Mrs. Turner.

John Posted over a year ago

Kristin Is a phenomenal leader and even better human being. With an unsurpassed passion and work ethic, she is a blessing to every student and human being that has the privilege of interacting with her. I'm a better administrator and leader for knowing her. Thank you Kristin, you are a true inspiration!

Rudy Basaldua Posted over a year ago

Every day I see children eager to start the day at school. Every day I see parents with smiles dropping off their children at school. Every day staff members are fulfilling their tasks with smiles and ready to solve “real world problems.” Students are eager to arrive to school because they practically get served “home cooked” meals, have safe and efficient facilities, have an abundance of learning resources (modern/traditional), and have loving teachers and staff who prioritize them. Parents are happy to drop their children off because they know their children are in a safe positive environment. They are happy because they know their children are getting a quality education and experience. Teachers and staff members have the ability to solve “real world problems” because they have all of the resources and tools to be successful. We have all of this because of Mrs. Turner! Mrs. Turner is a “Life Changer” because she is very “hands on” in raising student achievement” and she also prioritizes social and emotional needs of students. Also, Mrs Turner is a “Life Changer” because of her impact on her school and community. Our school and community faces many challenges and Mrs. Turner’s impact is improving the lives of more people than just students. Students are learning to read as early as kindergarten, our athletic teams are competitive, our STEM teams are competitive, and our eighth graders enter high school better prepared than classmates from neighboring schools. Furthermore, Mrs. Turner impacts the lives of staff members like myself. I strongly believe that I am an effective teacher today because of her. In my professional 7 years of teaching, nobody has taught me more about love and compassion for students like her. Also, nobody else has been so helpful to show me the tricks in executing successful lessons and how to speak to people when solving problems or collaborating. I only ever became Arizona’s Rural Teacher of The Year for 2017 because I always had the best coach a rookie teacher could have. Kristin Turner was not raised or attended our local schools in our desert community. She is from Sand Creek, Wisconsin and yet she is so passionate for a quality education for our students. Kristin Turner is a “Life Changer.”

Sarahi Ruiz Posted over a year ago

Thank you !Kristin Turner,for all you hard work and dedication to the school ,you are truly amazing.

Katie E King Posted over a year ago

Kristin Anderson Turner you SO deserve this!! I've told people for years that you're the best educator and so dedicated to finding practical ways to help your kiddos! Every time I come in your office you're excited about something new you're implenting for the kids and it shows in how happy they are and how happy the teachers are to work with you! I hope you get this award because you absolutely have earned it!

MaMa Mel Posted over a year ago

Congrats mija Gracias a dios The kids are so blessed to have you.

Lana Anderson Posted over a year ago

So proud of the work that you do every day to improve the lives and learning of your students and teachers.

Lana Posted over a year ago

I am feeling so proud of Kristin. She has been a leader in school from elementary years on. She treats others with dignity and respect even in situations where the other person is not acting in that manner. Her interaction with others encourages them to do and be the best that they can be. She disciplines students also in a kind and respectful way that encourages them to do and be better. I fully support her nomination for this award.

Elizabeth Smith Posted over a year ago

Kristin Turner is well deserving of this honor. As a friend and colleague I have experienced firsthand her dedication to her staff and student body. She is always researching, planning, reading, sharing, and pushing us to be “better” educators and students! She is not afraid to get in the trenches and do the hard work. She has help to create a wonderful environment so that I love to go to work everyday! I am honored to call her “boss”, but more importantly as friend!!

Carrie Posted over a year ago

No truer words ever spoken! Kristin Turner embodies all the vital aspects of leadership! Her heart holds the best interests of the children and staff at Kiser Elem. She not only exemplifies what it means to be a professional as superintendent, but also makes a phenomenal impact on all the lives she touches, both morally and ethically!

Debbi Burdick Posted over a year ago

Kristin is a perfect exemplar for this honor--CONGRATULATIONS, Kristin!!!

Molli Farmer Posted over a year ago

Kristin is a close friend and mentor, I am a bit older than most of my colleagues here at school and got a late start as a school staffer. Kristin brought me into the school community because she knew my past history with children. I have to honestly say that since my first day at school and every day since (7 years now) I have loved my job and co-workers. Everyday is a joy to work with Kristin and learn from someone I consider to be the best in this business.