LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Sandra Kirkman

Position: Special Education: Behavior Disorders
School: Focus Elementary School
School District: Des Moines Public Schools
City, State: Des Moines , IA

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Sandra Kirkman was nominated by her colleague, Jenelle Jensen.

Ms. Kirkman is a LifeChanger. Every lesson she writes is educational, relevant to the real world, and exciting for students. She works with students who don't want to be in school, and she gets to know them so well that they turn out loving school and missing it when they are away. She brings in outside resources, uses real-life events, and incorporates science and math into almost everything she does. Ms. Kirkman is always meeting core standards and going above and beyond expectations inside and outside of the classroom.

"She has helped the students adapt to virtual learning in a way I didn't know was possible," said Jensen. "The classroom she runs feels like home, and the kids feel safe and loved there. She fights for student rights, even when it is difficult. I have learned more than I could have ever imagined in her classroom. I look forward to work every day because she has this magic with the students that makes our days full of learning and fun. She is constantly researching and learning about our students, their traumas, and their backgrounds. She's always communicating with their families, therapists, and community members to make their lives feel safe and nurtured. I couldn't be more proud to be her colleague."



Comments (3)


Sara Cockrum Posted 9 months ago

Sandy is one of the most amazing people I have had the privilege of knowing. As a fellow educator, I have never met someone so dedicated to her students. Not only is she an amazing teacher (this is an understatement, there are no words to express how phenomenal she is at her job), she is a mentor to so many staff as well. Her students and those who are lucky to work or have worked with her thrive with her enthusiasm, knowledge and passion. I am so blessed to have been able to learn from her and to watch some of her former students, who I know teach, continue to express how Ms. Kirkman is their favorite teacher ever! To have the kind of commitment she has, is evident years later as her former students carry the skills she taught them throughout their school careers.

Linda Amis Posted 9 months ago

This is so deserving for Sandy. I worked with her for years. There was exciting and hands on learning always happening in her classroom!

Stephen W. Kirkman Posted 9 months ago

Sandy's devotion to working with her students has always impressed me. She always tells me how each one is improving and how they personally interact. Just by listening to her talk you can tell by her voice how much she really cares about each one as an individual and as a student. Her interest in helping kids isn't just related to the classroom or even to her own students. A recent event is a good example: A friend of mine has a troubled child. He has some mental health issues and his parents have tried reaching out to find him some help. I was asked if I knew anybody or any agency that might be able to help with the problem since their own efforts failed. I immediately thought of Sandy and explained the parents' problem. Within a short time she not only found someone that's an expert in the field but sent the information to me and I forwarded it to the parents. They sent their thanks and said they will make the appropriate arrangements. Sandy is extremely dedicated to helping children. She gladly gives of herself everyday. As her father -- I couldn't be more proud.