LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Kristi DeArmond

Position: Fifth Grade Teacher
School: Goshen Elementary School
School District: Visalia USD
City, State: Goshen, CA

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Music that Describes Kristi

Kristi DeArmond was nominated by her colleague, Lori Olvera-Clarkson.

Since COVID-19 hit, Ms. DeArmond has continued to diligently teach her students. Currently, she tutors many students after hours via Zoom to ensure they are getting the best possible learning experience. She is constantly making a difference in the lives of her students.  

Before COVID-19, Ms. DeArmond opened her classroom before school each day to help students who needed it.  For many students, her classroom became a hangout spot to simply talk and play games.  Ms. DeArmond connects with her students, and it shows. Students feel safe and loved by Ms. DeArmond.  She held  “homework club” for those who fell behind on classwork and for those who wanted help with homework. She also differentiates class work and homework for those who need it.   

This dedicated teacher sends 3x5 cards home so parents can write encouraging messages for their child to read during state tests.  Her students have scored high on state tests for  the last 3 years.  Last year, she was named Educator of the Year. She is a humble, grateful educator.

For the past eight years, Ms. DeArmond has helped coordinate Expanding Your Horizons. This STEAM conference for young girls is held on the campus of College of the Sequoias.  She demonstrates leadership qualities and leads by example. She also attended many technology classes over the summer and became a site tech trainer for a staff of over 30. Ms. DeArmond works endless hours, not only for her students, but for her staff.  She has been a BTSA mentor teacher for the past nine years. This year, during COVID-19, she is mentoring two teachers.

"It is with the highest regard that I nominate Ms. Kristi DeArmond for the LifeChanger award," said Olvera-Clarkson. "It is an honor to work with this esteemed colleague, who thinks of others before herself.  She has truly changed the lives of thousands of students in her 18 years of teaching."

Comments (20)

Veronica Benavides Posted over a year ago

Kristi has an amazingly positive presence on our campus. From my first day of teaching at Goshen, she has been welcoming, helpful, and a support to me and the rest of the staff at our site. She is dedicated to serving the community and gives countless hours to ensuring that students are provided with what they need both academically and emotionally. She is a leader in all ways and I feel privileged to work with her here at Goshen!

Veronica Benavides Posted over a year ago

Kristi has an amazingly positive presence on our campus. From my first day of teaching at Goshen, she has been welcoming, helpful, and a support to me and the rest of the staff at our site. She is dedicated to serving the community and gives countless hours to ensuring that students are provided with what they need both academically and emotionally. She is a leader in all ways and I feel privileged to work with her here at Goshen!

Dave Card Posted over a year ago

You have got to be one of the best teachers I have ever seen, and I’ve been teaching for 34 years. You are very dedicated to your teaching, students, and school. Having your students in my classroom over the years, has always been a real treat and something I look forward to every year. You are so deserving of this award.

Amanda Wettstein Posted over a year ago

Kristi is a wonderful teacher and colleague! She is humble and may not like that spot light on her, but definitely deserves this recognition. Her door is ALWAYS open for her students and she is always willing to lend a hand to her colleagues. Goshen Elementary is lucky to have her!

Maria Bueno Posted over a year ago

Ms. Kristi De Armond is a dedicated teacher and we are very blessed to have her at Goshen Elementary. As her Principal for the past three years, I am impressed with her passion for student learning and supporting student well-being. Year after year, Ms. De Armond is found connecting with students, learning every facet of each child. She studies student strengths, gaps, skills, interests, and personality along with classroom assessments and observations to create lessons. Her lessons and instructions are strategically crafted and differentiated to meet all needs. No matter how big a learning gap, Ms. De Armond has a gift to grow a child. Expectations are high but she finds ways to reach students. She celebrates student success one step at a time. Her non-stop motivation transcends into her students. Students are seen challenging themselves. I am so proud of how students can feel so comfortable with being vulnerable and challenged. Students know that they are loved and cared for beyond measure. Ms. De Armond provides daily motivation quotes, life lessons, and discusses the meaning of a positive growth mindset. One special element is that she teaches students how to help themselves. Students are given scaffolds when needed but challenged to understand, use them, and then move on without them. The automaticity of learning is phenomenal. The minute students step into the classroom or zoom class, all know it is time to learn. Students want to improve themselves. Ms. De Armond has a strong connection and respect for students. During this Covid time, it has been the most challenging time for both educators and our students. Ms. De Armond did not give up. She navigated through these times in understanding poverty and communicated with students and their families. Every night she followed up with tutoring students on zoom and helped with reading comprehension, math reasoning, and writing. Ms. De Armond found that 7 pm was the most effective time to reach some of her struggling learners. She gave her time to support them. This is what Ms. De Armond loves to do! Students then were excited to join zoom the next day, feeling competent, and ready to participate. In addition to her passion for students, she also enjoys mentoring colleagues. She is a BTSA provider for two teachers and is always willing to give a hand to anyone. She is a humble individual that also seeks to learn from others and appreciates professional development. She is always trying new teaching strategies and finding ways to support students. Ms. De Armond simply loves everyone in our school community and strives to do her best in all she can. Ms. De Armond has the biggest heart and is the true meaning of a "Life Changer."

Jessica Torres Posted over a year ago

Kristi not only changes the lives of her students, but she also changes the lives of everyone who gets the privilege of working with her. I have been fortunate enough to work with Kristi for 2 years now. From the first day of meeting her I could see how much passion she has for teaching and it has truly inspired me. Kristi, has been a wonderful mentor and friend. During some of my roughest days, Kristi was always there to pick me up and always offered encouraging words. She has helped me become a better person and educator. Every student that comes in contact with Kristi knows how much they are loved and valued. I can't think of anyone else more deserving of this award.

Jennifer Villegas Posted over a year ago

From day one, Kristi has gone above and beyond for me. I do not know where to begin. She has been my mentor for about a year and a half; however, I feel like I've known her for much longer. I would have never thought I would find a genuine friendship throughout this time. Kristi, always puts her students, friends, and family first. Goshen Elementary and VUSD is extremely blessed to have her as a teacher. Every student in, or out of, her class are always welcomed with open arms. There are so many great things about this woman, that I can't even put it out in words. Kristi, I absolutely love and appreciate you!

Mallory Bonnema Posted over a year ago

Kristi is a friend, colleague, and mentor to me and she is incredible in each role. I have worked with Kristi for four years, and her dedication to teaching is inspiring. Kristi has the biggest heart. She does not come to school to just teach children. She does her best every day to be their coach, mentor, mom/dad, friend, and supporter each and every day. Her door is always open to kiddos when they need someone to talk to, and she always stays late to ensure every student gets every ounce of time she can offer to help them learn more. I teach sixth grade and every student who comes to me from Kristi has told me that she was one of their favorite teachers and more like a mom to them. Kristi is a humble soul who works incredibly hard, but doesn't take enough time to celebrate herself. Kristi, you are incredible my friend! You've impacted my life as much as you impact your students' every day.

Rose Pothier Posted over a year ago

I have known Kristi DeArmond her entire life as I am her aunt. I do not recall a time when Kristi did not want to be a teacher. My Mother, Kristi's Grandmother, was a teacher although not formally educated, who taught children with physical and mental challenges. Grandmother tutored Kristi from a young age and was impressed with Kristi's exceptional intelligence of not only traditional subjects, but also those associated with teaching and caring for persons with physical, mental and emotional challenges. As Kristi matured, and commenced her work as a teacher, we would speak and I was delighted that she always held the students and their best interests and education in the highest regards. While I have not worked with Kristi and cannot speak directly as to her accomplishments as a teacher, I can attest to her heart and gift of compassion for others. She is, without a doubt, dedicated to her students beyond her personal interests which makes her so valuable to those lucky to be selected students for her classes. Kristi is a life-changer in the lives of the students in her care. They are never forgotten or left to flounder with Kristi as their teacher and Shepherd on the Education Road while in her care and supervision. I strongly urge those who may not have had the pleasure and life-changing experience of meeting and talking with Kristi to take the time to do so. As experienced by her students, you will never be the same!

Donna Born Posted over a year ago

Kristi is a very dedicated and enthusiastic teacher. She is a very compassionate and caring person and it shows in how she takes care of “her kids”. She has very high standards for herself and projects those standards to her classrooms, striving to make even the lowest of her kids reach their highest potential. She rarely takes time off for herself and I’ve witnessed this first hand during her visits to see me, her mom, in Oregon. She is always concerned about how the year went and what will happen in the next year. During this summer’s visit, she spent a lot of time on the phone attending zoom meetings and conversing with her colleagues about how they were going to structure the new “COVID-19” internet only school year. She attended trainings and tried to avail herself of all the knowledge she could find in order to be able to provide the best learning experience she possibly could for her kids. I am positive she has been a life-changing gift to all her students. She’s awesome!

Debbie Cardoza Posted over a year ago

Mrs. DeArmond is one of the most dedicated, compassionate and gifted educators that I have had the privilege to work with. I was fortunate to serve as Mrs. DeArmond’s direct supervisor on two different school sites and after my retirement from education I have been blessed to call her my friend. For 11 years I have watched her demonstrate courage, compassion and the ability to engage ALL children in learning. She NEVER gives up on a child! She has high expectations and follows through with those expectations. No child is ever alone in their learning. Mrs. DeArmond routinely spends all hours of the day and night tutoring children. And pre-COVID she never hesitated to do a home visit to assist a child in their learning. One of Mrs. DeArmond’s greatest strengths is her ability to see each child as an individual and her willingness to employ a variety of successful instructional strategies in order to assist each child to be successful. Mrs. DeArmond also works well with her peers and has counseled and coached numerous new teachers. She does not take this responsibility lightly and is one of a handful of educators I have known that follows through with the hard work needed to ensure her mentees success. Kristi seeks out opportunities to engage with her fellow educators and has opened up her classroom to others, even when it was not easy. Mrs. DeArmond is also that teacher you can always count on to jump in and try new strategies. She takes the extra time and effort to participate in staff development and is always an ACTIVE participant. I could always count on her to take what she had learned in staff development and take the risk in the classroom to try out something new in order to increase student learning. Children who are fortunate enough to be assigned to her classroom have no choice but to learn. She showers them with love and support (and did I say she never gives up?). And now I have grandchildren who LOVE to spend time with Mrs. DeArmond. They can always count on her to have something fun to do when she visits. During this pandemic, she even supported my daughter with a home learning schedule, online resources and activities to engage them. What sets Mrs. DeArmond apart from other educators is that she walks the walk and talks the talk. She is by far one of the most dedicated individuals that I known in the 25 years I spent as a formal educator. She absolutely deserves this recognition and if I looked up the definition of “Lifechanger” in the dictionary I would certainly see her image. Mrs. DeArmond is truly a “Lifechanger”!

Leah Boragno Posted over a year ago

Kristi is an invaluable member of our Goshen Staff. She demonstrates what an exceptional teacher is. Her love for her students and her excellence in teaching her students more than just subjects makes her the perfect person for Life Changer of the Year!!! I am blessed to be able to call her my friend and colleague!!!

Cheryl Henry Posted over a year ago

Ms. De Armond is a very compassionate and caring person. She works extremely hard to ensure that her students understand concepts and are growing as learners. This includes keeping parents informed. Kristi is willing to share her wealth of knowledge with other teachers. She is very deserving of this recognition.

Walter K, Baggs Posted over a year ago

Kristi has always been one to adjust to a situation and advance. I have seen this her entire life, as I am her father. Her GIFT is her ability to feel and see the need, whatever that may be, then try and correct it.... This is the definition of a LifeChanger

Claudia Garcia Posted over a year ago

Ms. De Armond is deserving of this award and more! Ms. De Armond is by far one of the nicest, hard working and most amazing teacher that I've known. Not only is she a great Teacher but also a great mentor to other teachers, a great friend and a great coworker. She goes above and beyond for her students and others. A person like Ms. De Armond is what the world needs in this difficult times.

Beth Robertson Posted over a year ago

If there is a way to support a student and their family, Kristi will find a way. She is not only concerned about their growth in the classroom but also their growth as a person. Very deserving of this award.

Victor Carrillo Posted over a year ago

I first saw Kristi’s compassion when it came to a student dealing with homelessness, and at an IEP meeting she was the most well informed and prepared general education teacher I have ever seen. In both cases her focus was on the student and what next step they needed to take in order to grow. This is such a well deserved award!

Sarah Van Dermyden Posted over a year ago

I have had the great privilege of assisting Kristi with Expand Your Horizons for the past two years. It has been one of my favorite things to do. As a primary teacher, it's been such a wonderful experience spending time with past students as they explore the wonderful world of STEM. She is truly a teacher to admire and learn from.

Vickie Ruiter Posted over a year ago

Ms. De Armond is a very dedicated teacher. She puts the needs of her students first. She is indeed a life changer.

Lisa Fesperman Posted over a year ago

Kristi is an awesome and dedicated teacher. I had the privilege of being her book buddy last year and I learned so much from her. I witnessed the love and respect her students have for her. She is definitely the perfect candidate for this honor!