LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Stacy Pokora

Position: Special Education Teacher
School: North Providence High School
School District: North Providence School District
City, State: North Providence, RI

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Music that Describes Stacy

Stacy Pokora was nominated by David Upegui, the parent of a student.

Teachers are responsible for the preparation of the future stewards of the earth. The people who we entrust with this enormous responsibility have to deal with many challenges, including the individual-level differences of students, as well as the socio-cultural trends of the time. It takes a very special type of person to take on this task and dedicate their lives to ensuring a better future for our world. Therefore, it's tremendously rare to find extraordinary teachers that stand out from this already dedicated crowd. Ms. Pokora is one of these exceptional teachers that makes a world of difference in the lives of her students and their families. 

"Few people demonstrate the kind of patience, respect, and compassion that Ms. Pokora shows her students," said Upegui. "As a parent of a child with special needs, it is challenging to see how difficult it is for some children to be treated with respect and dignity. I have witnessed how quickly my son has been dismissed, ignored, or worse, mistreated by some people because he was born with an extra chromosome. While others have 'tolerated' him, few people in our lives have truly stepped up and treated him as the amazing human being he is. Ms. Pokora encourages, guides, teaches, academically challenges, inspires, and humanizes my son! By doing so, she has made his schooling experience a fruitful and meaningful one."

"When issues or challenges arise, as they are likely to do, Ms. Pokora has helped us navigate these troubled waters with great determination and aspiration," said Upegui. "Importantly, Ms. Pokora’s approach and demeanor are not limited to my son, as I have witnessed how she has empowered many other students and their families. Her leadership is palpable, as she is a fierce advocate for her students and for others with disabilities. She commands her classroom with ease, love, and intentionality."

"Ms. Pokora represents the very best of our humanity—a kind and compassionate academic who chose to celebrate the diversity of our world by providing a safe, productive classroom environment," said Upegui. "My son would not be who he is today without Ms. Pokora and her dedication to him and the rest of her students. I can attest that she has been instrumental in the transformation of many lives. Not only does she treat each of her students with great respect and care, but she also ensures that they have access to opportunities that enrich their lives, as she coaches the 'unified' sports teams and even runs an after school club with peer models."

The love that Ms. Pokora's students have for her is truly remarkable and well-deserved. By being the amazing teacher that she is, she has ensured that her students, their families, and the whole school, have the ability to see the value of all human lives and grow as individuals and collectively.

Comments (19)

Amanda Posted over a year ago

Ms. Stacy inspired my daughter to pursue a career in special education through her tireless dedication. Ms. Stacy is an inspirational teacher who makes her students feel like they can be anything. It was a privilege to watch my daughter grow and flourish under Ms. Stacy

Alicia Bourque Posted over a year ago

These words could not be more true. Day in and day out, Stacy goes above and beyond for her students to make sure they have everything they need. She not only supports them in their education, but she supports them in becoming the very best and truest versions of themselves. She can be heard acting out lessons with enthusiasm and laughing with her students, but also having 1 on 1's with students having a tough time. She is a shining light in this career field, and I am SO lucky to work alongside her. So proud of you!

Lynne Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Stacy for this well deserved nomination. I am honored to honored to work with you at NPHS. I have seen how dedicated you are to all students over the years and I know how dedicated you are in helping others to become more independent in life. I agree that you are more than deserving of this nomination.

Jackie H Posted over a year ago

I have the privilege of working with Stacy. She has the ability to encourage her students to want to learn and do well! I am so proud of her and am super excited for her to have been acknowledged for her hard work, commitment and dedication to her students! Keep up the great work!!!

Diane Pare Posted over a year ago

She's always wearing a smile. Stacy does remarkable work but not only that she's full of energy and joy. She always has a kind word to say and a solution to assist others. She has colaborated with all types of personalities to help modify and accommodate the curriculum for all students. Her experience and kind heart have made her the amazing teacher she is. I am thankful to be on her team. Congratulations!

Maria Marasco Posted over a year ago

Stacy is the ray of sunshine that warms the student population that she serves. Stacy relays high standards and expectations for all her students. She challenges both students and faculty to support special population and adopt a mission of inclusiveness. Stacy's classroom is a cognitively rich and supportive environment; a safe place for both academic and emotional growth. Stacy is full of life, energy and innovative technical ideas that motivate her students. Stacy is an excellent role model for aspiring teachers and for her students who adore her and work very hard academically to achieve the standards and expectations she sets forth. Stacy is the ultimate advocate for her students as she plans daily and challenges students to reach for the sky as they think about their future.

Jen H Posted over a year ago

This is a very much deserved nomination! Stacy has a profound impact on the lives of her students and their families. She goes out of her way to ensure they are receiving strength based and person centered planning and supports on a daily basis. Students are drawn to her electric personality and genuine love for what she does best. The classroom she teaches in has a wide range of abilities and needs, and she handles it flawlessly often modifying lessons in the middle of teaching to ensure students have an equitable learning experience.

Jamel Posted over a year ago

I’m so proud of you

Diane Riendeau Posted over a year ago

Congratulations to Stacy, though I'm not at all surprised. A few yeas ago I had the privilege of caring for a special needs student in Stacy's class. I am a nurse. I got to witness first hand, the energy, compassion, patience, and pure love this spit fire extends each and every day to her beloved students! Definitely a life changer. .

Stephen Posted over a year ago

I have had the honor to call Stacy a friend. I met Stacy seven years ago in college.Stacy is a kind loving and caring person. During the time Stacy and I spent together she always saw me for who I really am.knowing Stacy has allowed me to restore the confidence and belief that I now have in myself despite of my disability. Stacy has changed my life in too many ways to list. Stacy is the definition of what the Life changer award is. I’m forever thankful for everything she has done for me. I’m also so proud of Stacy for doing everything she does to help others.if anyone deserves this award it’s Stacy Pokora. Rook on Stacy!!

amara Posted over a year ago

She’s the reason why I joined special education :)

Missy Clement Posted over a year ago

Congrats on your nomination Stacy! You’re not only amazing but also one of the most dedicated teachers I have ever met. Your hard work and dedication to your students, family and friends is what clearly makes you exceptional! Keep smiling and continue to do what you do!

Alyssa Tierney Posted over a year ago

I worked with Stacy as a practicum student and had an amazing experience. From this, I requested to work with her again as a student teacher. Working with and learning from her helped me to grow as a new teacher. Stacy runs a classroom that values independence and inclusion. On top of her work in the classroom, she also is involved in activities with her students both in and outside of school. She goes above and beyond everyday!!

Aimee Plouffe Posted over a year ago

Congratulations for this nomination, Stacy! It is well-deserved. I feel honored and privileged to work with you every day. I see firsthand how dedicated you are in helping all of your incredible students to become more independent in all aspects of life--academics, social skills, independent living, vocational, etc. You help them to understand their potential and to push them to be the most successful versions of themselves. You make them feel loved, cared for, appreciated, seen, heard, and safe when they are in your care. This has been such a challenging year for teachers everywhere, and you have continued to show up and step up every single day for both your students and their families. I am proud of you, I support you, and I agree that you are more than deserving of this honor.

Laura Swallow Posted over a year ago

This is so awesome Stacy!!! And SOO deserving! It is great to see this recognition with all you put into EVERYTHING you do! Above and beyond for your students, the families you work with, Special Olympics, friends and family. Wishing you the best of luck!!!

Carol J. Kelly Posted over a year ago

Stacy, You are awesome .I am so proud to have you as my grand daughter ,and all that you have accomplished ..Keep up the good work. Love you so much. Nana

Joseph Laprade Posted over a year ago

Stacy is my sons teacher at North Prov high school! She is also his PASS worker she is the most outgoing and dedicated teach my son Anthony has ever had! She has been a big help working with him in the PASS program also! I have got to know Stacy very well and she is a very kind hearted person who is dedicated to her job !

Kara Houle Posted over a year ago

Way to go Stacy! You are so awesome and your students are so lucky to have you! We are also lucky that you work with our daughter who loves you to the moon and back (as do we). You have a big heart and it shows in everything you do!

Christina Battista Posted over a year ago

I am so honored to know Stacy. Stacey came into my life over a year ago at my personal care assistant. During the time I have known her she has no longer just been my personal care assistant, but I consider her my friend. As a person who has a physical disability it truly can be difficult to find individuals that are willing to drop everything and be there at the drop of a dime. Stacey is very passionate about helping others. She puts her heart into everything she does while having a smile on her face. Not only is she there for me, but I truly know she loves her students. She truly is a dedicated person that wants to help so many. Again, I am glad to call her my friend and I wish everyone had a “Stacy” in their lives.