LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Lakisha Brown-Allen

Position: Special Education Paraeducator
School: Middle/Elementary Alternative Programs
School District: Baltimore City Public Schools
City, State: Baltimore, MD

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Lakisha Brown received multiple nominations from her students and colleagues. The following profile is a summary of these nominations.

Mrs. Brown-Allen has been employed in the special educational field for approximately 22 years. She’s a devoted and loving paraeducator who goes above and beyond to make a difference in students’ lives, both academically and emotionally. From day one, she has been adamant about offering an equal opportunity education for all students to learn and to reach their greatest potential.

The population of students that she teaches consists of at-risk youth who struggle with severe behavioral, learning, and intellectual challenges. The majority have exceeded the age of the typical student in the elementary/middle school grades. Many of them are products of impoverished homes and communities with few resources. This doesn’t stop Mrs. Brown-Allen from being committed to her job. She is motivated, dedicated, and determined to give her all to focusing on her students' academics and social well-being.

Baltimore City Schools transitioned to a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) model for how schools will reinforce positive behavior,at the same time moving away from punitive punishments for negative behaviors. During this time, Mrs. Brown-Allen went to work to revamp her classroom and teaching philosophy to meet the emotional and psychological needs of her students. Her creativity inspired her to design a trauma- informed classroom that consisted of having soothing seating arrangements for all students to reflect on their emotions. Her classroom feels like a home environment, and students feel safe when they walk in the room.

Mrs. Brown-Allen also created a daily Social-Emotional Learning Circle to help students be actively engaged in expressing their thoughts and building positive relationships. She taught her students positive alternatives to fighting and arguing when they felt angry and upset. She focused on the whole child, and because of that, her students opened up in ways that were unimaginable. Some students started the year unable to read and scared to even try. By the end of the year, the same students were performing plays in front of the class and participating in a school-wide Jeopardy contest. That was the power of Mrs. Brown-Allen

She has a caring and kind heart for helping students and their families in need. She demonstrates leadership for her school and community, by extending her resources and concerns to make sure students are receiving a well-balanced meal. Her leadership skills have also allowed her to build positive relationships with parents, community members, and others who experience shortcomings by giving them inspiration and hope. In May of 2016, she created her own organization called Team Spiritual Servants. She has financially sponsored several events to feed the homeless, create gift bags for Karis Home Women and Children’s Shelter, and host Thanksgiving, Christmas, blanket and coat drive events for Cecil Elementary families. She has worked closely with several of her students to help them to earn their service-learning hours, which consist of creating and distributing holiday gift bags to Franklin Woods Nursing Home. Another of Mrs. Brown-Allen’s accomplishments is supervising 10 male students who participated in feeding 500 meals to residents at Helping Up Mission Men Shelter located in Baltimore.

When Mrs. Brown-Allen’s program transitioned to virtual learning, they quickly recognized the need to make sure students and families were fed. Many parents lost their jobs and have multiple generations in the house, and their children were not getting breakfast and lunch at school anymore. This is where Mrs. Brown-Allen stepped in. At first, she began to make food baskets for a few families. She and her husband would go to the store, spend their own money, and purchase enough food for a few families of five for a week. Once her colleagues heard what she was doing, they quickly stepped up and started sending her money to help support. As amazing as it was that teachers and staff were purchasing food for their students and families, it was not sustainable. This is when Mrs. Brown-Allen took her operation to the next level.

Today, she is feeding about 40 families a month. She has leveraged her colleagues on the Connectedness Team at school to find ways for people to donate and support her cause. Every month, she leads the operation of staff who help to deliver massive food boxes to each family. The food boxes have food from all five major food groups and can feed a family of five for at least two weeks. Since feeding 40 families a month costs a lot of money, Mrs. Brown-Allen turned to websites such as to get the word out and crowd-source funding. She has secured donations from major corporations and people from all over the country. Every month, she puts out a Donors Choose page, and within days, she is able to collect hundreds of dollars. 100% of the money goes towards the kids. She does not pocket one cent from any of this. Her name is out there, and people all over Baltimore are beginning to recognize her amazing power.

Everything Mrs. Brown-Allen does is documented. She has pictures of where she keeps the food at her house. She gives updates, through social media, to show her donors where the money is going every step of the way. Every delivery is signed and dated, and all records are meticulously kept. She takes this seriously and puts in countless hours a week to make sure her operation runs smoothly.

The impact of these food baskets is immeasurable. They have increased daily attendance in class and participation on assignments. Students are more likely to sign on their computer and join classes when they are fed and feel supported. 

“Lakisha is a tremendous human being. Her love and dedication to her students is unmatched. I hope that project continues to blossom and becomes something major,” said Jesse Cooperman, a colleague.

“I once asked Mrs. Brown- Allen why she works so hard soliciting donations, storing food, packing baskets so beautifully, and hand carrying them door-to-door in the midst of a global pandemic to each and every student in our school,” said Kristi Allen,  a colleague. “What was her motivation to do this each week for the last 48 weeks? She responded that someone helped when she was in need, and she felt it an honor to return the gift.”

Administration and colleagues speak highly of her academic performance, capabilities of resolving issues, and ability to implement effective solutions. Her commitment of wanting to achieve and excel to her full potential makes her a LifeChanger in her community. Her goal is to continue striving to build a suitable and nurturing learning atmosphere where all diverse learners can succeed.

“Mrs. Brown-Allen is a ball of energy who constantly gives 100% of herself,” said Samantha Waldman, Brown-Allen’s co-teacher. “Her daily goal is to enrich the lives of students and their families. By building relationships, addressing food insecurity, academic skill deficits, and focusing time each day to social-emotional learning, Lakisha Brown-Allen works tirelessly to change lives. She is a true LifeChanger!”

Comments (12)

Michael Holly Posted over a year ago

Mrs Lakeisha Brown-Allen is God's Awesome Gift to this World. Especially for the Children. You deserve much more and you're much Appreciated

Carmon Wade Posted over a year ago

Lakisha Brown-Allen is a generous,kind and loving person. She does great work for her community, by trying to end childhood hunger. She makes sure food resources and household products are accessible for families at her school. She has also sponsored several events of feeding the homeless, creating gift bags for Karis Home Woman and Children Shelter, hosting a blanket and coat drive for Cecil Elementary. Mrs. Brown-Allen has worked closely with several of her students to earn their service-learning hours, which consist of creating and distributing holiday gift bags to Franklin Woods Nursing home. Not to mention, she blessed several less unfortunate children by becoming their secret Santa. A Great Woman with I Great Heart!

Lisa Monore-Johnson Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Brown-Allen has a caring heart for helping others in her community. She is a passionate and devoted educator that goes above and beyond to make sure her students needs are being met. She is a unique and creative educator that make sure her students reach their full potential academically. Since March of 2020, and until now she has provided approximately 200 meals to students and families in need from her own personal income. She is a true life changer everyday. I am very proud of this young lady for her accomplishments. Keep pushing towards your goals in life. May God continues to bless you.

Angela Taylor Posted over a year ago

Lakisha Allen is absolutely the most selfless person I've ever met! She has a heart of gold and goes above and beyond for any & everyone, especially her students & their families, homeless individuals and others who are lacking essential needs to get through day-to-day. She makes sure each one of students are acknowledged & celebrated through each of their individual accomplishments. She even makes sure her students are celebrated on their birthdays by providing gifts, balloons and a cake! She is extremely supportive and encourages her students to strive for better and helps them foresee a bright future ahead of them. Lakisha doesn't do the awesome things she does for recognition.......she genuinely cares & tries her best to do whatever she has to, to assure all is well. She is a life changer indeed & I cannot think of a more deserving person for Life Changer of the Year! I am so proud of you sister......WELL DONE (thus far)!!

GREGORY HANDY Posted over a year ago

I knew that Lakisha would become that special person in my family's life the day she walked into my mother's Daycare. Always caring and helpful as best as she can during her childhood and always had good intentions. As she grew and started teaching I knew that she found her purpose in life. She continue to help her students and others as best as she can and they all love her. Always giving 100% and will continue to do so. She is deserving of this nomination!

Donald Edwards Posted over a year ago

Ms. Brown-Allen is a life changer for the students that she works with. She goes above and beyond to make sure all of the students not only are learning what they need to but she is also providing food to families in need. Ms. Brown-Allen has created a food pantry in her home where she makes food baskets and meal kits that are delivered when the school does our monthly home visits. But that is not the only time students get food because Ms. Brown-Allen also makes trips on her own time to make sure all the people in her circle are getting the food they need. Personally, Ms. Brown-Allen has had a great influence on my life and career. I just started as a teacher last year, and Ms. Brown-Allen has been a great source of inspiration and support to me. I see how she connects with students and holds them accountable for their performance in school. She is firm and caring, making progress with students who have struggled with their academic performance. She has helped me as well, when I have had questions about how to create lessons or how to make the lessons engaging for students she has offered a lot of helpful advice. She always has my back, their is a lot to learn as a new teacher and she has made me feel like I can do this. I have benefited from her experience, because she is so generous with her time and knowledge. A lot of people have helped me in my transition to becoming a teacher, but I know I will always value the help I have gotten from Ms. Brown-Allen. She has helped me change my life for the better.

Michelle Smith Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Lakisha!! You are a beautiful person inside and out. From the first time I met you up until now you have never changed. You really are a beautiful soul with a heart sooooooo big and wide. I pray that the Lord continues to use you. Meeting you was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Love you????????????????????????????????????

RoniR Speaks Posted over a year ago

Congratulation Lakisha on your nomination as a Life Changer although it doesn't surprise me this is where your heart has always been. I know that finding your journey as someone who helps people came at a young age for you. Your heart and love for making sure people around you be the best they can and have what they need are always at the forefront of your mind. You are and have always been a wonderful person with a wonderful spirit. I’m so proud of you and your work.

Arleta wilson Posted over a year ago

Keisha takes the time out of her life to make sure the kids and other's ste feed shr goes over and beyond yo make sure every kids are be a blessing to other's is a blessing

Cole edwards Posted over a year ago

Ms. brown Allen is a dedicated, focused, supportive and kind person who brings her entire heart to teaching.

Wanda Smith Posted over a year ago

I am very proud of your accomplishments and how you give back to your community. You are a true inspiration for your students. Continue to strive and move forward to help others in need. You are a Life Changer everyday. God bless! ??

Brian Allen Posted over a year ago

Congratulations to the woman in my life.She is the motivation the inspiration,and the reason we are able to thrive.She pushes me to be the best at what I do and makes it so easy to say I love you.