LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Lena Sarnowski

Position: Speech-Language Pathologist
School: Mark Twain Elementary School
School District: Fraser Public Schools
City, State: Roseville, MI

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Lena Sarnowski was nominated by her colleague, Ashley Lenard.

Mrs. Sarnowski devotes her time each and every day to making a positive impact on the students she works with. She comes into school each day with a smile on her face and positive attitude. If a teacher has a concern regarding a student, she makes it a point to put time aside and consult strategies with the teacher or work with the student directly. On top of working full time, Mrs. Sarnowski also works part-time at a clinic throughout the week, servicing children with more severe speech and language needs.

Mrs. Sarnowski pushes into classrooms, pulls small groups, and works individually with students from the moment she steps into the school each day to the moment the bell rings for dismissal. Throughout the week, you can see her coming into school early for IEPs and other meetings. She is part of a committee focused on Restorative Practices, which highly influences the culture and approaches teachers and staff take with students and their classroom communities. Mrs. Sarnowski is always willing to assist at a moment's notice if students are displaying problem behaviors. She never bats an eye if there is a crisis and is always willing to help in any way that she can. 

Mrs. Sarnowski is also a leader throughout the school by co-facilitating the Peer to Peer program. This program includes 150 students from grades 1-6 and meets once per week. Students are paired up with an individual who has autism, and together, they complete activities and lessons. This program focuses on promoting inclusion and building social skills, empathy, and a positive culture that includes those with special needs. Mrs. Sarnowski has written grants alongside the school social worker to receive district funds for this program. She creates and co-facilitates multiple fundraisers throughout the year, and she puts her time and energy into her students, even when she is not in the building.

Mrs. Sarnowski is always brainstorming ways she can better herself and her practice. She constantly focuses on what she can do to support the students she works with even more, whether it's by purchasing curriculum or adding service times. She is also a member of the district's Assistive Technology team, where she supports students and any of their extra classroom needs such as bumpy seats, headphones, and any other accommodations.

"Lena's humble personality, experience, and professionalism makes her a major asset to the Mark Twain Elementary team," said Lenard. "We are so thankful for her commitment to our students each and every day!"

Comments (13)

Kerri Laduke Posted over a year ago

Lena is a dedicated and an amazing educator. Not only has she showed leadership in her school but has represented her district in a regional collaborative platform for autism in Macomb county. Lena has also been a wonderful asset to a summer camp that supports student with autism and looks for many ways to positively impact her school and community :)

Noelle Trammell Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Sarnowski plays a huge part in my son’s journey at Mark Twain. He is more confident and comfortable when speaking others. I appreciate all of her hard work and we are thankful to have her at Mark Twain!

Marisa Fett Posted over a year ago

Lena is an extremely hard working and devoted speech and language pathologist. She wants the best for each student here at Mark Twain. Lena is a team player and is always willing to lend a helping hand. Thank you to Lena for all of her services!

Violet Posted over a year ago

Lena does a wonderful job with all the students she sees. She does an amazing job with the CCRR students at our school. She gives each of them a chance to participate in activities and makes them feel comfortable to share their views. We are lucky to have her at Mark Twain School.

Rose Sadley Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Sarnowski is an amazing teacher. The confidence she has helped my child obtain is amazing. My daughter has excelled and thrived so much these last few months, I can't thank Mrs. S (and the rest of the team) enough.

Elayna Dietrich Posted over a year ago

We are thankful for patient, intentional, passionate and sacrificial instructors like you. I hope you have many more years touching the lives of students to come.

Jessica Miecyjak Posted over a year ago

I have seen Lena hard at work with our kindergarten and CCRR students. She’s always so kind, patient, and encouraging. An absolute joy to work with, you always see her smiling around the building! I can’t think of anyone more deserving of such recognition. We can’t wait to see all of the great things you accomplish in the future!

Kelly Barker Posted over a year ago

Lena is a compassionate and caring educator that always strives to do her best for children. She is positive, calm, and encouraging to the students and staff alike. I could think of no better candidate for this award.

Suzanne Szeliga Posted over a year ago

Lena is such a deserving nominee! She goes above and beyond her job as a speech pathologist. She has worked in my classroom for several years and her professionalism and hard work have impacted our students, staff, and community. Congratulations Lena!

Michele Runner Posted over a year ago

No matter what is going on, Lena always has a smile on her face while handling it. You can’t help but smile with her!

Regina H Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Sarnowski is a positive role model for all her students. She is always smiling and helpful. The students enjoy working with her and she puts their needs first every day. She is always looking for ways to improve the programs she is involved in. She is a great part of the Mark Twain Elementary team!

Renee Iwasko Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Sarnowski is involved with the Peer to Peer program that my son applied to be a part of. He loves working with her and being a part of this special group. Mrs. Sarnowski is a huge asset to the Twain family!

Cherish Montney Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Sarnowski is one of my son’s favorite people at Twain. Andrew has continued to improve in his speech at Twain and she is always working to help him. Thank you for all you do!