LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Amy McDonald

Position: School Counselor
School: Thorne Bay School
School District: Southeast Island School District
City, State: Thorne Bay, AK

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Comments (28)


Theresa Pitcher Posted over a year ago

Amy you so deserve this for all you do for all of us!! I sincerely appreciate all you have done for our family over the past 13 years or so!!

Angel Wiren/Williams Posted over a year ago

My dearest friend Amy, You are AMAZING! There is no question about that. Not only did you help me through a most horrible time in my life, you helped my children as well, all of us were falling apart, and struggling, and in deep sorrow and depression. You will never know how deeply you have touched our lives. You always have a way of asking the right questions at the right time, and give suggestions as a possibility to a solution, and comfort when it's needed most. Your never afraid to say I LOVE YOU and, everyone knows you mean it. You always put others before your own self, no matter how tired you are, or if your having your own struggle. It's second nature for you to encourage the good and great inside everyone. I could go on forever about the wonderful amazing person/Woman that you are. I LOVE YOU AMY! You deserve this. Keep being you my friend.

Joseph VonDoloski Sr. Posted over a year ago

Amy is positive. Amy asks good questions and is willing to problem solve, identify the correct resources and direct them to support students. Amy creates networks. She is easily approachable and you want her on your team. Amy changes lives one person at a time.

Caitlin Aspery Posted over a year ago

Amy McDonald is pure at heart. From the moment I met her, she saw me and everyone else as a whole person, a person capable of good. She is someone who at her core is good. I can confide in this woman, look to her for wisdom, and look to her in times of struggle and strife. I truly look up to Amy McDonald, because of this woman I feel like I've found my purpose in this world. You can always trust that Amy will be there for you no matter what. She sees the good in people, she sees the potential in every single human being she meets, and she embraces and strives to grow that potential. She works nonstop to offer opportunities to the students on our island. She works so hard, you will never find another human being so hardworking and selfless. Amy McDonald is everyone's biggest fan, she will support and advocate for everyone she meets. This woman is someone whom you can rely on. Just, as a student, knowing that after years of not having an adult who I could trust, let alone confide and turn to when it feels like the world is collapsing around me, having someone like Amy is so amazing. This is a woman who I look at and think "If I could wake up one day and look in the mirror and see even a portion of her in me, I'd be proud." She has taught me and so many others how to be our best selves. Everyone who meets Amy loves her, she is someone who I wish everyone had in their life. Amy if you read this, I love you! Thank you for being apart of my life, you are truly one of the greatest people I have ever met.

Jennifer Lutey Posted over a year ago

Amy is one of the most amazing people I know. She cares deeply and continually for her students, colleagues at school, past students, and the Thorne Bay community. She leaves everyone she speaks with in a better mood, and glad for the opportunity to have a chance to visit with her. We call her "Positive Amy" because she always is positive, can celebrate the strenghts in all situations, and helps to lift everyone around her. She has spent countless hours supporting young people who are in crisis, during and beyond the school day, and even beyond the school years. She is a counselor and friend to all!

Brian Krosschell Posted over a year ago

Amy is always thinking about opportunities for the students and ways to help them grow. She goes above and beyond for the students and families in the region.

Tracy Posted over a year ago

Amy is a true inspiration to all she works with. She is calm, resolute, cheerful and has an incredible talent connecting with students of all ages. I appreciate her!

Joanna Schneider Posted over a year ago

As a teacher new to the school and district in which Amy is a part, there are a few staff I've quickly learned I can turn to in order to gain a better understanding of my students and what they are going through. Amy is one of these. When I sense a student's struggles are beyond the scope of the subject I'm teaching, I always ask them if they would like to go talk with Ms. Amy, and more often than not, they are relieved to be given this opportunity! Although I haven't been a part of this community long enough to know Amy well personally, it is obvious how much the students value her, her understanding, advice, and support. I know Thorne Bay would not be the same without her.

Chris Posted over a year ago

Amy is an amazing, caring, thoughtful, insightful, driven, and FUN person who has had (and continues to have) a huge impact on the lives of youth and adults in our communities and beyond. I've known Amy since she started her journey as a young teacher, first (and always) as a friend, then as a parent of students in her class and school, and later as a co-worker. She has a way of approaching and handling difficult situations that builds trust, makes each person feel that they are heard, and helps build solutions that can work. She has a great laugh that pulls people in and makes them feel at ease. Ms Amy, as she is affectionately known by students, is a true champion for all students and continues to be a part of many of their lives even after they leave school. She has the gift of being able to truly LISTEN to others and will make time for others whenever she is needed. She builds connections and works to ensure others have the tools they need to succeed. All of these things help make Amy a 'go-to' person who positively affects those lives that she touches.

John Fletcher Posted over a year ago

I had the chance to spend a few weeks with Amy last spring when I was in Alaska, attending a Phlight Club in Klawock and Minto. It was during this time that I got to know Amy McDonald on a deeper level. Watching Amy and how she interacts with her colleagues, parents and the youth; it did not take me long to realize the positive impact she has on the schools and communities she works with. Amy is a genuine and authentic human being who truly "gets kids", and knows how to navigate various systems to get the kids what they need to succeed. Amy is a great candidate for this award!

Christy Posted over a year ago

So incredibly proud of you. But then I have always thought you deserved an award. You have made such an impact in our lives and all the students you come into contact with. I love the way you teach them to coexist In Harmony with each other and look for ways to better themselves and each other. You are truly amazing ??

Janelle Wehrman Posted over a year ago

Amy is the "go-to" person here at Thorne Bay School...not just for staff! The kids seek Amy out on a regular basis because they know they can talk to her about anything from a Graduation Plan to personal issues. Her door is always open and she is happy to help. She has made a significant impact and difference to the lives of countless kids and we are blessed to have her as a vital part of our community.

Pamela Stiles Posted over a year ago

Amy McDonald is my niece. She has been involved with children her entire life, as a classroom teacher, a team leader, a K--12 school counselor, and a trainer. Due to the size and area of her school district in Alaska, she travels many miles to deliver positive leadership and understanding compassion for her students, their families, and her fellow staff members. One of MY greatest honors is that AMY wanted to become a school counselor as I served for 35 years. Not only does Amy go above and beyond in school, but she is the positive glue that holds our family together. She is genuinely supportive, even if she might bear difficult news. Community and district leaders look to AMY to make critical decisions; she has proposed countless innovative ideas and programs that benefit the native population as well as residents new to Alaska. She organizes community events in Thorne Bay that are not school related as well. I am extremely proud of her as a relative, mother and step-mother, counselor, and caregiver. AMY McDONALD is most deserving of this recognition because she truly has CHANGED LIVES for the better. You go, girl!!!

Barbara Morgan Posted over a year ago

Amy is super wonderful! She cares about and helps everyone she knows. Truly she is an asset for the school, community and state. I am pleased to know her and proud of my great friend for being nominated for this award. Yay Amy!!

Heidi Young Posted over a year ago

Amy is truly one of a kind! She is always willing to go the extra mile to do what is best for the kids. She will take a call late at night and always welcomes people talking with her about issues that kids are having.She always handles herself with grace and poise and does not seem to get flustered. She is amazing.

Carmen Posted over a year ago

The woman started as my Kindergarten teacher and helped me excel all throughout my school years and then ultimately spoke at our graduation. She inspired me and all of the kids around me to get up and work for things we wanted. She brought so many amazing ideas and programs to our little school we never would have had without her. If there was one life changer for me to pick, she would be mine.

Terri Kohn Posted over a year ago

I would love to have Amy McDonald receive this award! Amy truly cares for this community; the students; the parents; and everyone she comes into contact with. This school and this district (Southeast Island School District) means more than just a place of employment for her. She graduated from Thorne Bay School, she lives here, she calls this home, and the island we live on is what she is trying to build up. Amy encourages our kids to go out and experience new things, she wants them to grow from fun and exciting experiences, and wants our kids to realize their full potential. She always has a listening ear for anyone, whether it be problems, or new ideas, or just wanting to talk. She has helped bring Phlight club experience here, helped with getting grants to support not just our school district but all the school districts here on Prince of Wales island, and is always searching for more opportunities for our youth. Amy is a true leader, and helps with as many projects in the community besides any school functions. I hope you will help us to honor her with this award for Life Changer of the Year because she truly is a life changer for so many here. Thank you for your consideration.

Jake howell Posted over a year ago

Any is an awesome person who helped me get through school if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have a diploma and would not be where I’m at in life now

Susan Looney Posted over a year ago

Amy is an amazing leader of so many young people !! Very proud to have known Amy since she was in school herself !! ??????

Deedee Jeffreys Posted over a year ago

I have worked with Miss Amy on and off over the last 20+ years. She is one of the best at supporting students and helping them see and feel their web of support. A positive, smiling, laughing supporter and teacher for many Alaska students.

Tamar T Posted over a year ago

Ms Amy met me in a very fragile dark place in my life. I was severely sexually abused and my heart had turned cold. I had no interest in anything or anyone, that was until Amy came around, she had a heart of gold full of so much love for humanity. She turned me from a victim to a overcomer! She saw me and she reached out to help. There aren’t many people like Amy in this world she is a one of a kind. I firmly believe that Amy McDonald deserves this more than anyone I could think of.

Lisa Howell Posted over a year ago

So awesome and so very deserving! You are an amazing woman who no matter what helps the students and adults.

David Pavish Posted over a year ago

I had the honor of meeting Amy through our work with Brightways Learning. From the moment I met her, I just knew that she would be someone significant in my world both personally and professionally. She loves deeply, supports authentically, and listens without judgement or negativity. Those things alone are life changing attributes. What really makes Amy the Life Changer of the year is how she is able to connect so many students and adults to the supports that they need. Support can be anything from being available when someone needs to talk to actually going where the need is and doing whatever she can to get that need met. What is amazing about this incredibly gifted woman, is she does all this without the need for credit, without the need for fanfare and without compensation...she does what she does, not because it is her job, but because it is who she is. Her life is her message and anyone who has the privilege of being in her world, at work or in everyday life, hears her message loud and clear without her ever having to say anything. That message is work hard, love deeply, look for the strengths and positives in life, and take advantage of every opportunity you can to live life fully. I 100% nominate Amy McDonald for Life Changer of the year...because if you tried count the lives she has changed, you would run out of ink.

Angel Posted over a year ago

This woman helped shape me into the human I am today. From being my teacher, then my principal in high school, to my friend and part of my web as an adult. There is no other person I could think of that deserves this honor as much as Amy!!

Kerrie Carl Posted over a year ago

Any had been a mentor and friend for over a decade. She has supported and encouraged me to grow in my profession and push myself to do what I know is right for the youth of Prince of Wales Island. She is a tireless advocate for our youth and someone we all can turn to.

Jessie (Dybdahl) Martin Posted over a year ago

Amy has been an influential, positive figure in my life from high school and beyond. She has worked at the Thorne Bay school and supported students (and student athletes) across our entire region since as far back as I can remember. After graduating high school, I went off to college and returned home to coach Volleyball. She’s supported me in that venture as well, showing up to support our student athletes - even when she only knew me as the coach :) She’s amazing and deserves this award for sure!

Lisa Kerscher Posted over a year ago

I have been working alongside Amy for more than eight years through multiple projects and activities involving my educational nonprofit, Brightways Learning. Without a doubt, I have never seen someone so authentically caring and adept at supporting both youth and adults in every aspect of her life. Rather than being judgmental and pushing what she might think is "best" for a person, she skillfully and caringly guides each person to self-discover what might be the best fit and option for themselves while celebrating their strengths. Truly, it's quite remarkable how she empowers each unique individual she supports in her daily life. Furthermore, I have met very few innovative problem-solvers like Amy. By nature, she comes up with creative ideas and also encourages and easily builds on the ideas of others to tackle short- and long-term obstacles, which tangibly moves success forward for all. She promotes and appreciates learning together with others, leaning toward a growth mindset for both herself and those around her. The breadth and depth of how she has positively affected various people's lives - from young children to adults - is inarguably noticeable and happily immeasurable.

Derek Peterson Posted over a year ago

I have worked alongside Amy for over 6 years. I have first hand of her positively affecting the lives of young people, her colleagues, her neighbors, her community, and ME! Amy is highly competent, genuinely authentic, and deeply kind and caring. Anyone who is Anchored by Amy finds themselves protected, encouraged, and loved.