LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Brenda Whitley

Position: Second Grade Teacher
School: Central Elementary School
School District: Stanly County Schools
City, State: Albemarle, NC

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Brenda Whitley was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

Ms. Whitley is a natural teacher. She not only creates a nurturing atmosphere for all students, but she fosters learning by meshing functional life skills with academic skills in her class environment. She is beneficial to the lives of all students in a very unique way.

When one enters Ms. Whitley's classroom, children with exceptional needs cannot be distinguished from their general education peers. Why? Because she accommodates all students in the class so the children with exceptional needs can fit in. For example, she had a child in her class who required a visual schedule to navigate centers and transitions. Ms. Whitley created a visual schedule and created "peer buddies" and small groups for every student in her classroom so the child could fit in without obvious "special accommodations."

Ms. Whitley is positive in her feedback to all students. She never shows favoritism and consistently provides verbal, optimistic feedback to her students. She asks them questions so they reflect on their behavior and instills independence in learning, making the necessary adjustments to teach her students to be independent thinkers and learners. Ms. Whitley is a team player who often offers assistance to her colleagues, expecting nothing in return. Her students make significant growth each year in academics and maturity. She uses data throughout the year and small group instruction in center rotations to target each student's individual needs. She celebrates and encourages growth of each child's educational milestones, and she never compares one child to the other, recognizing each individual's unique potential for growth.

Ms. Whitley sets a good example of professionalism by being prompt and speaking kind words about others around the students. She is an excellent role model to both her students and staff by balancing professionalism with human needs. She is honest about when she makes mistakes, apologizes to her class when she makes errors, and demonstrates humility among other character traits best taught to impressionable young ones through example. In terms of leadership, Ms. Whitley serves as grade level chair. She has also participated on the School Improvement Team, Parent Teacher Organization, and Schools that Lead, and she has served as Improvement Facilitator.

Ms. Whitley is a dedicated instructor. Student learning is her priority, but she strikes a balance between between professionalism and learning expectations with affection and kindness, recognizing her students first and foremost as human beings. She embeds safety procedures into the classroom, teaching precaution without provoking fear. Ms. Whitley finds value in each student and encourages growth. She does not complain and approaches problem-solving solutions in a firm but gentle manner. Her students clearly love and respect her and often demonstrate positive attitudes. Her students' eagerness to learn and smiles on their faces are a testament to her inspiration.

"Brenda Whitley exemplifies all an educator should be and is a Life Changer to many in her school and community," said her nominator.

Comments (11)

Donna Arbogast Posted over a year ago

Brenda is absolutely the kindness and most giving person I know. True compassion and unconditional love for others.

Keith Arbogast Posted over a year ago

Brenda is the consummate teacher. She puts her heart and soul into her classroom and her students. She shows a genuine interest in the lives of her students, often times well beyond the classroom. She is a true asset to the school and the teaching profession. No one is more deserving than Brenda.

Susan Cross Posted over a year ago

You couldn’t have picked a better teacher/person to nominate! She loves all kids and it shows! Love ya Brenda!

Shenise Watson Posted over a year ago

Fantastic teacher, phenomenal woman, and amazing person. Brenda Whitley not only changes the lives of her students but EVERYONE who comes in contact with her. She is the most caring, tenderhearted, giving person I have ever met and I am so fortunate I am able to call her my friend.??

Rebecca Sides Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Whitley has always been a great teacher, even as a child (my big sister) would always try to teach me the up coming grade levels to prepare me for the next year. She taught me many things in life, not only math lol, but to be kind to others. I have always looked up to her because she is such a blessing to everyone that knows her. She cries at the end of every year for her babies that have made progress and are moving to the next level in life. If she has a child that is having a difficult time she continually thinks of ways to assist the child without making them feel different in anyway. I’m so proud to have such a blessing for a sister. ??

Rita Arbaugh Posted over a year ago

Brenda is a good teacher she really cares about her students as they were her own We need more teachers like her ??

Cammy Posted over a year ago

This doesn’t surprise me in the least. She has always been so sweet with such integrity. We are all proud of her

Heather Jordan Posted over a year ago

Brenda you are a beautiful person inside and out. You have a kind heart and always want to help someone. Whether it be your family or a stranger. Love you.

A Friend Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Whitley is one of the sweetest, most genuine people I have ever met. She not only gives her heart to her students, she does whatever she can to help their parents, other colleagues, and anyone she knows who needs it. My life is better just because she is in it. True definition of a life changer.

Tyra Posted over a year ago

I've known Brenda since high school, she is an amazing lady beautiful inside and out. Even though my children are grown , I would have been so grateful if she had ever been one of their teachers. This award is very much deserved by this wonderful lady!

Lisa Helderman Posted over a year ago

I've known Brenda my entire life and she has always been kind-hearted, genuine, compassionate, and loving. It's who she is and who she has chosen to be. We should all be so lucky as to have a Mrs Whitley in our childhood.