LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Jenny Byrd

Position: Fourth Grade Teacher
School: Gentian Elementary School
School District: Muscogee County School District
City, State: Columbus , GA

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Jenny Byrd was nominated by her spouse, Brandon Byrd.

Mrs. Byrd not only does her job, but she possesses all the qualities a LifeChanger should have! She graduated with both her Bachelor's and Master's in education from Columbus State University. Then, she took a job in Troup County at Long Cain Elementary School. After a year, she came back to Muscogee County to take a position at Edgewood Elementary School, where she taught until the school was closed indefinitely. At Edgewood Elementary, she was named Teacher of the Year for her grade level. Then, Mrs. Byrd moved on to Northside Elementary for a long term substitute position. After the birth of her son, she took up residency at Gentian Elementary School, where she remains to this day.

"As her husband, I see the countless hours she selflessly gives to preparing the curriculum and material she presents to the children for learning," said Mr. Byrd. "Gentian is a Title I school, and it has the highest number of special needs students in our county, so her classroom is often a mix of children with special needs and children on another end of the spectrum. Ms. Byrd promotes a strict environment of equality amongst her students. Some of her students are blind, suffer from autism, or come from severe, poverty-stricken demographics. That doesn't mean they don't receive her absolute, undivided, selfless attention."

Mrs. Byrd herself has Tourette syndrome, which often leaves her in excruciating pain due to her tics. She manages to endure and persevere through days that others might find unbearable to navigate through.

"It's not that noticeable to everyone, and she doesn't broadcast it, but I encourage her to embrace it and use it as a tool within her classroom," said Mr. Byrd. "That way, her students can see that we all have 'our own thing' and can overcome it and achieve whatever we set out to do."

Mrs. Byrd rotates with her grade level colleagues to be the academic coordinator. In past years, she has been the assistant and head coach of the Science Olympics, where she has had several students go on to the state level to represent Gentian Elementary. This school year, one of her fourth grade students won the school spelling bee for all grade levels and will compete in the county wide spelling bee.

At home, Mrs. Byrd is an amazing wife and an outstanding mother to her two sons, Troa and Aven, as well as a stepmother to Mr. Byrd's children, Ansley and Aiden. She is the definition and living example in which we all strive to be like within our household. Her core values of hard work, dedication, and complete selflessness are promoted through the attraction of the spiritual principles she displays and lives by. This translates into her classroom, where her students are her family, too. Parents can always talk to her at any time. Her phone and email never goes unanswered, and she is always available when a parent calls to discuss something about their children. She is always offering a suggestion or piece of advice to get to the solution of a problem or issue someone is having.

"I love my wife, and I know her colleagues and students love her, too. Although she may feel like she's 'just doing' her job, I think she deserves all the recognition in the world," said Mr. Byrd. "I've seen children in the morning who come to school hungry because they haven't eaten since they left school the previous day. She always has a snack for them in her desk. I've seen children who come to school unkept, and she keeps things on hand to offer them so they can put themselves together. I've had the joy of hearing her name being yelled out in grocery stores and seeing the eyes of current and former students light up when they see her. With all that said, I know she has made a impact on many students' lives, as well as the lives of our family. She is a LifeChanger, for sure."

Comments (6)

Joetta Reeves Posted over a year ago

Jenny Byrd is my daughter and has been a light in our family’s lives since she was born. She is our oldest child and has always been a “teacher” to her younger sister and brother. I have pictures of her sitting outside her sister’s playpen reading books to her. She was always the teacher when they played and has never lost her desire to help children learn. We are very proud of the way she has persevered throughout her life and does so with courage and grace. I feel that she is very deserving of this award. Thank you.

Jan Brown Posted over a year ago

I am writing regarding Jenny Byrd’s nomination as a LifeChanger. Jenny is my niece, but I can’t think of anyone who would be more deserving of such an honor as she is. When she was younger, my parents were in a bind financially. My dad had just found out he had cancer and they didn’t have very much income at the time and they didn’t know how they would make it. Jenny stepped up to the plate, got a second job and sent them the money she made from that job. That money helped them buy groceries and pay the electric bill until they could get back on their feet. We were all so humbled by that act of kindness. There are not many young people who would do such a selfless thing to help others. About three years ago, my husband and I lost our home to a fire. We lost almost everything. Jenny didn’t hesitate to send us money to help us start over. I am so thankful for my niece and I am so happy that she is being considered for this award.

Laura Reeves Posted over a year ago

She is definitely an amazing person! She does everything for her family and friends. I count myself lucky that I get to be related to her! We love you Jenny!

Catherine Morales Posted over a year ago

Jenny goes above and beyond for her students, kids and family. She has a sweet spirit and has powered through so much to be where she is! She has most certainly changed lives!

Janice Posted over a year ago

Loving person!

Heidi Roberts Posted over a year ago

I know Jenny personally, and I've known her for 18 years. Everything Mr. Byrd says is true. I've never seen someone bear the burden of a condition like Tourette's Syndrome with such grace and perseverance. She is kind, considerate, and always, without fail, gentle in word and deed.