LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Susan Shepard

Position: Gifted Education & Writing Teacher
School: Williams Heights Elementary School
School District: Ware County School District
City, State: Waycross, GA

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Susan Shepard was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

Mrs. Shepard is a LifeChanger, not only in the Waycross, GA community, but in the field of education. She has been employed by the Ware County School System for 26 years and has devoted her entire career to elementary classrooms in Title I public schools. Mrs. Shepard is credited by numerous students and parents as "the one" who made a difference in their lives, specifically in the areas of creative thinking and writing. As a teacher, she allows students to dream big dreams, become entrepreneurs, enter essay contests, and live lives full of surprises.

Mrs. Shepard leads extracurricular activities at her school, including:

  • Quiz bowl teams where students compete in various content area knowledge competitions;
  • Painting parties where students paint creative expressions on canvas;
  • Volunteering floral and food decorations for Honors' Assemblies;
  • Hosting students on "Walk to School Day;"
  • Designing a school yearbook, and;
  • Coaching Spelling Bee participants.

Mrs. Shepard has been awarded Teacher of the Year at her school and received the Waycross/Ware County Chamber of Commerce Katherine Foss Award for innovation in the field of education. Mrs. Shepard challenged herself as a professional by completing her Master’s and Specialist degrees, as well as Reading and Gifted endorsements. She has served on district teams such as Positive Behavior Systems, English Language Arts unit and assessment writing, and lesson design and creation in the area of writing. She leads her school in these areas, as well.

One of her passions is showing the world outside of her classroom walls to her students by hosting numerous field trips, participating with students in outdoor gardening, and inviting community members from all walks of life to speak to her students. She is the epitome of “nurturing” through the decor in her classroom, her positive approach to learning, and her beautiful smile. She upholds the highest moral and ethical standards throughout her community, as well as through her church commitments. Mrs. Shepard exemplifies open-mindedness, forgiveness, inclusiveness, and appreciation for diversity. Another of her overarching passions is attending to the needs of others. She includes her students in lemonade stands to raise money for childhood cancer and participates in 5K road races to raise money for various causes.

"Without Susan Shepard, many students in the Ware County School System would have gone hungry...not only physically...but also mentally, intellectually, emotionally, and creatively," said her nominator. "Her special touch is far-reaching and lasting. I cannot imagine our school without its LifeChanger, Susan Shepard!"