LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Valerie Burgess

Position: Fifth Grade Math/Science Teacher
School: Edisto Elementary School
School District: Orangeburg County School District 4
City, State: Orangeburg, SC

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Music that Describes Valerie

Valerie Burgess was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

Mrs. Burgess is a teacher who strives to improve the lives of her young students at Edisto Elementary School. She encourages them to do better and be better than they have ever thought they could. She leaves such a lasting impression on her students that they come back to visit her. In her school, students come from different cultures and backgrounds, from the glamorous to the poorest, but Mrs. Burgess never lets a student think they are better than others. Instead, she tells them they are as good as they want to be. They can stay where they are or move onto something better in life. She pushes them, shows them love, and gains their respect throughout the year, all because of the teacher she is.

Mrs. Burgess adapts to any changes that are thrown her way. Despite changes in administrative teams, Mrs. Burgess and her colleagues have formed a strong bond. She is one of the reasons for that stronger bond. She reminds her colleagues they are at Edisto to teach the children. Mrs. Burgess creates a positive, humorous atmosphere. She encourages the faculty when they are down and goes out of her way to brighten their days. Whether it's by giving a piece of chocolate or a kind word, she always gives her colleagues that extra boost to get through the day.

Mrs. Burgess is a strong leader, and she doesn't back down when she is fighting for something she believes in. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the Delta Kappa Gamma Tau Chapter of Orangeburg. She believes in not only promoting leadership, but also promoting young women in leadership. Mrs. Burgess helps lead Sister's Keepers at her school, as well as a local girls group. She shows the young girls at her school there are endless possibilities for them, and all they have to do is work hard and do their best. She encourages them to go after their dreams and reach far beyond their capabilities. 

"Mrs. Burgess is definitely a LifeChanger for our students and in our community," said her nominator. "She supports and believes in growth, leadership, and community. What more could you want in a LifeChanger?"

Comments (21)

Omarion Holman Posted over a year ago

Hello, Mrs.Valerie Burgess is one of the best teachers in the world she taught me science in fifth grade when i had attend Edisto Elementary she gave me grace and mercy for a long period of time and i would like to thank her for that.

Merrill Gadsden Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Valerie Burgess is by far the most deserving of this recognition. She is the definition of a true leader and a phenomenal mentor. Valerie Burgess welcomes everyone with open arms and pours her love, knowledge, and support wherever she can. I met Mrs. Burgess years ago and I still remember our first conversation to this day. She had nothing but inspirational words that helped guide my career goals and aspirations. When she loves, she loves and will make it her business to go above and beyond for any and everyone. She has been everything I have needed in a teacher, a motivator, a sister, a friend, and a mother all in one individual and she carries that same role around everyone she encounters. Mrs. Burgess is OUTSTANDING and so deserving to be named The Life Changer of the Year. Congratulations on your nomination Val!!!!!

Teressa Ford Posted over a year ago

Congratulations! Teaching isn’t just a honorable profession but a divine call. Ms. Burgess continue to impact the lives of God’s most precious gifts, “Children”. It has both earthly and heavenly rewards.

Marriet Hickson Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Burgess is well deserved of this award. She taught all three of my children while they attended Edisto Elementary. An awesome teacher. Congratulations on your nomination, Mrs. Burgess.

Emanuel Pough/ former student Posted over a year ago

Congrats keep up the fonominal excellent work.

Linda Frederick Posted over a year ago

My granddaughter teacher

Delphine Funchess Posted over a year ago

Congrats to you and I pray all goes well with you and you continue to strive for and for you

Cameron Davis Posted over a year ago

Ms. Burgess is well-deserving of this achievement, she has made a major impact on my life. Moments of teaching how to be a better person, helping me with questions or problems while I was in college, having that presence of someone like her being a second mom for me was huge for me towards a successful path in my life. I have her to thank for me being genuine and confident in my approach when it comes to my journeys in life.I appreciate her and the work she has done. Congratulations.

Carlette Troy Posted over a year ago

Congratulations on your nomination! I pray that you continue to be a light in the lives of your students.

Ja’Quon Williams Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Burgess is one of the most authentic, passionate women I’ve ever met in my life. Her impact on the youth of her community is phenomenal and immeasurable. A true gem that brings love to all those in her world.

Lana Williams Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Burgess is a phenomenal teacher who not only teaches content to her students but teaches them life lessons. She makes learning enjoyable and relevant for her students. She can often be found going over and beyond to make her students’ experiences in her classroom richer. Her passion and commitment to her students is not easily matched. She is more than deserving of this honor!!!

Sally Bookhart Posted over a year ago

You deserve it. Ms. Burgess, you work hard in helping the kids to do and become better. I know at time, it seem like the kids are not getting it, but when they pass that, I see that smile on your face. May Our Lord, Jesus Christ our savior to continue to bless and have favor over you.

Michelle Hughes Posted over a year ago

Definitely deserving! Congratulations Valerie Burgess for being nominated for this award...keep us smiling and laughing! Thomas says to tell you congratulations as well! Much love and GO Big B...take us all the way??

LaTonya Nelson Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Burgess is a passionate and dedicated Teacher Leader that goes beyond the call of duty in education. She exemplifies this through her daily instructional practices, relationships with her students and colleagues, and through her work in the community. Education would be so much better if all educators had the drive, determination, passion, and will like Valerie Burgess! Valerie, keep being that driving force for our students!

Cynthia Zeigler Posted over a year ago

You Go Girl!!! I have known all along that you would and could be the encourager that you are today. Keep up the great work.

Melissa Smith Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Burgess is a great teacher and example for the students at Edisto Elementary School. She has taught both of my girls, whom both love her dearly. She is patient and takes time to make sure all of the students understand the lesson that is being taught, will stay after school to give them extra help when needed. Thank you Mrs. Burgess for loving the kids in our community as if they are your own and making them see that they can be a leader! We love you!

Vivian McWhorter-Hubbard Posted over a year ago

Ms. Burgess works tirelessly for her students and is always ready to a helping hand to her fellow coworkers. With the afterschool program, "My Sister's Keepers" , she helps mentor young ladies to reach for the stars with their educational pursuits while she guides them with that little extra push to strive for Excellence in all that they do. As a former co-worker with Ms. Burgess, I know well that she has a heart for her school family and is always ready to lend a helping hand!

Alessandra Ott Posted over a year ago

There are many words that come to mind when describing my friend Valerie. She is a dedicated educator who loves her students and makes sure that they receive all the tools possible to be successful and life-long learners. She is always involved in the summer enrichment program which helps students become prepared for the rigors of middle school and beyond. In working with the My Sister's Keeper program, she grooms girls to become outstanding women, like herself, who have values, self-respect, and hard-working ethics. Valerie is a dynamic community leader and a true friend. She richly deserves to be recognized for her efforts in all aspects of education and otherwise. Valerie is truly a life changer!

Anaiya Whaley Posted over a year ago

Great leader in the community!

Hazel Rickenbacker Posted over a year ago

Valerie, we are so proud of you! Keep up the great work of touching the lives of our youth. You are an impressive Math teacher! You have a special way of teaching Math and reaching children. You are so deserving of this recognition. I sent a letter to our Editor, Lee Harter on your behalf. Please keep me updated on the progress and outcome. Oh, keep going above and beyond by working with the girls clubs, summer enrichment and tutoring!

Gemma Fusilero Posted over a year ago

I can describe Mrs. Burgess as a 21st century educator because she has a high and quality performance in all aspects of learning: she sees to it that her students become critical thinkers, problem solvers, team players, responsible decision makers, and possess 21st century lifelong skills. She is also a great classroom manager and provides activities to her students that help enhance students’ capacity to integrate learning moments for holistic character formation that bring about right relationships with fellow students, faculty, staff, administrators, and others.