LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Samantha Reinecke

Position: Third Grade Special Education Resource Teacher
School: Chanute Elementary School
School District: USD 413 Chanute
City, State: Chanute, KS

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Samantha Reinecke was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

Ms. Reinecke has a tremendous impact on the students and families she works with, as well as staff members in her building. Her positive attitude, mindset, and advocacy are an inspiration to all around her.

Currently, her caseload consists of 22 students. At one point this year, her caseload reached a record 25 students. Ms. Reinecke has embraced this challenge, however, in the same way she has embraced any other challenge in the past; with a smile, determination, and the mindset that the students she serves can do anything they set their mind to. 

A huge part of what truly makes Ms. Reinecke a LifeChanger is her philosophy and beliefs on how special education and general education work together. She believes the students she serves learn best in the general education environment with their grade level peers. She works very closely with general education teachers to provide the individualized support each of her students need to succeed in the general education environment. Ms. Reinecke is a true example of what co-teaching is, and she does it very well with multiple teachers in her grade level. 

Ms. Reinecke is also a tremendous advocate. She is not only concerned about the students she serves in her grade level, but across the building. She speaks up for what is right and is a fantastic example of what special education can and should look like. Ms. Reinecke is truly a master at her profession and continues to grow professionally through higher education. She is a true asset in her building and offers a great deal of information and knowledge in the area of special education and inclusion.

Ms. Reinecke is not only a phenomenal asset to the students and staff, but the families she works with.

"I have witnessed the communication and relationships that Samantha works to build with families," said her nominator. "She also conducts IEP meetings in the most professional, yet personal way. It is evident that Samantha truly values her students' families as members of the team and stops at nothing to build relationships and make them feel welcome."

"Samantha is one of our biggest assets at Chanute Elementary School," said her nominator. "I know, without a doubt, she has changed and continues to change the lives of the children she serves. She also impacts countless other third graders and staff members by being a constant example of acceptance, tolerance, and what it truly means to believe in kids."

Comments (9)

Kathy Hibbs Posted over a year ago

One of the most beautiful inside and out people you will ever meet. She cares for each student as if there were her own. They are lucky to have her as their teacher.

Shawn Reinecke Posted over a year ago

As soon as you step into Samantha's classroom, you can feel the warm and loving atmosphere that she strives to provide. She works diligently to connect with her students, creating a relentless and positive mentorship. Samantha's patience, compassion, and "lead from the front" mentality make her an excellent role model for both students and peers. Her empathetic heart is evident by all that surround her and is filled with a love for teaching. Samantha's commitment to her student's well-being is unrivaled and incredibly inspirational; she truly is a life changer!

Alma Benard Posted over a year ago

Samantha is so deserving of this honor! As her Grandmother I have seen her set goals for herself even from a very early age. Most of these she has reached thru dedication and hard work. Always researching new ways to benefit her students.

Ashley Posted over a year ago

I’ve known Samantha her whole life but worked with her on a professional level as well. She genuinely cares about her students - and other students in the school who aren’t “hers” - in a huge way. She deserves this nomination! ??

David Hibbs Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Samantha, they couldn't have found a more deserving person for this honor. I don't know if I know anyone that is more dedicated to their profession. Life changer of the year fits you like a glove!

Carolyn Hibbs Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Samantha! You are so deserving of this honor! I have never seen anyone work so hard trying to make everyday learning possible for those who struggle. You are always learning new teaching methods to help students because you genuinely love and care for each one of them. As Samantha's mom, I can tell you she has always set goals in life and does not stop reaching for them. I am very proud of you Sammy Jo and love you very much!?

Paula Soencer Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Sam! I know you are a gifted teacher and you deserve the award!! Best wishes for God to guide you each day!! ??

Nikki Jacobs Posted over a year ago

Samantha has done a fantastic job in our school. I not only speak as a coworker, but as a parent of a special needs child that she has served. Thank you for supporting our daughter in our journey in life.

Brandy Anderson Posted over a year ago

I may be a tad biased since Samantha is my younger sister, but I can’t begin to express how deserving she is of this! She has helped me so much with my special needs daughter both in and out of school. I look up to her tremendously, as do countless others. She has a heart of gold! I am beyond proud of her!