LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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John Nader

Position: Principal
School: Lutz School for Work Experience
School District: Macombe Intermediate School District
City, State: Clinton Township, MI

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Music that Describes John

John Nader was nominated by Tina Priebe, the parent of a student.

"Today, my son received a completer ring from Lutz School (MISD). This is a special moment to commemorate 26 years of education and programs designed to help us parents accept that our children have skills, desires, aspirations," said Priebe. "Lutz School has teachers who truly excel in their gifts, and hearts that are as big as each student they impact...These same teachers are entitled and deserve to know that the principal they answer to is competent, fair, and has the same heart for each and every student. He's passionate about the students' well being and the many parents who advocate for the common good."

"As a parent of a special needs individual, imagine putting your three year old son on a bus and he just waves good bye," said Priebe. "My son is non verbal, so each and every day he got on that bus, all was good in his world. When he didn't want to go after the preliminary okay day off, I knew something was wrong. Time for momma to get involved. The only clue that something wasn't right at school was when my son didn't want to go."

"John was always available," said Priebe. "John was always soft, engaged, and willing to find a common ground; John was professional and never made light of a concern. Whenever I mentioned something was wrong at school and my son didn't want to go, John never thought twice about it...As a professional, John was able to understand how I felt about policies out of his control, so while I as a parent was able to express my concerns, he knew it wasn't personal. As a professional, he excels in diplomacy, and he has a heart for each and every child. He knew and respected my stance. Basically, as long as my was happy, I didn't interfere."

"John has watched my son, Chad, grow up as principal of multiple schools," said Priebe. "He even came out of retirement, and when I asked why, he would beam and reply 'I love these kids.' His students all love him, too. All one has to do is see John in the midst of any group of these young men and women. He loves each of them and knows their names."

"I am so happy that John will be there to see Chad off. As I see my son, I acknowledge how blessed I was," said Priebe. "All the times I didn't think I had a support system, I see now how John Nader has mentored, protected, and loved my child. John helped Chad grow and saw the worth in him. Today, I am thankful that John has been a key component in the development of individual lives...this isn't a job to him, but his life and purpose...In times when I've admitted failure and have been overwhelmed, John reminds me of my importance."

Comments (1)

Laurie O'Meara Posted over a year ago

Over the last 45 years John Nader has worked at three of the "center-based " programs in Macomb County, Michigan, as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal. In addition to building confidence, trust and morale among staff, and building relationships with all students, John's biggest and least recognized skill is acknowledging the siblings of his students. Siblings of special needs children often feel neglected or not as important because of the medical, physical and emotional needs of the students attending special education programs. John always makes a point of acknowledging the siblings - by name - and also showing interest in THEIR lives and interests. My younger son Matt attended John's school from ages 3-16, and my older son Mike would accompany us for drop offs, pick ups, and school activities. John would ask Mike about school, baseball, and that interest carried over long after our son Matt passed away in 2008. John attended Mike's high school graduation party, his wedding, and has been a source of advice and guidance to Mike more than any of his own teachers. John Nader, though humble and hesitant to receive praise, deserves any honor a school employee can receive.