LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Surinder Sandhu

Position: Math Teacher
School: Pontiac High School
School District: Pontiac School District
City, State: Pontiac, MI

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Surinder Sandhu was nominated by her assistant superintendent, Y'londa Kellum.

Mrs. Sandhu is a veteran teacher who has a vast wealth of knowledge, not only in her own content area, but in the general areas of teaching, learning, and leadership. This year, she has served as the 9th grade department chair, helping to solidify a department that has faced constant turnover. She has brought her team of five novice teachers and two veterans together to form a strong coalition that supports the needs of the 9th grade students.

Mrs. Sandhu also serves as a mentor teacher. She's working with five math and science staff members who have joined the PHS family over the past two years. She assists them with lesson planning, feedback, grading, and attendance policies. Mrs. Sandhu is their sounding board when they have questions or concerns. Besides working with these two groups, Mrs. Sandhu also shares strategies and articles with her administration, which are often published for the entire staff in the Phoenix Weekly Update.

Mrs. Sandhu has worked on several district teams for the development of the mathematics curriculum. She puts in time after school and during the summer to ensure that students in her district are being educated using the best curriculum. She has a true open door policy, and she regularly shares classroom strategies by recording her classes and sharing them for the purposes of training and discussion among her peers. Mrs. Sandhu is also a master of data. She uses her knowledge of NWEA and data analysis to lead the math intervention team in developing lessons to address student deficits in mathematics. 

Although she is very busy outside of school pursuing her Doctorate of Education, Mrs. Sandhu still volunteers to tutor students several days a week. Last summer, she worked summer school so that students who fell behind during the initial months of the pandemic could catch up on their classes and graduate on time. She is always the first person to volunteer for additional duties or participate in extracurricular activities. She is a caring person. Recently, when she heard of one of her students was homeless and had a newborn, she went to the place where the young lady was living with food, diapers, and clothing for the baby. 

"Mrs. Sandhu is the perfect example of a highly effective teacher with a selfless attitude and a drive for excellence," said Kellum. "She is a valued member of the Pontiac High School Staff and an invaluable member of the PHS Leadership Team."

Comments (35)

Jimmy Hammond Posted 19 days ago

I was extremely fortunate and appreciative of the opportunity to serve as a math coach working closely with Mrs. Sandhu for years. Through our work it became undeniable that she is an extremely talented, knowledgeable and dedicated master teacher. Mrs. Sandhu is compassionate and committed to being impactful on the educational growth and development of each and every student. She is truly giving, nurturing and supportive of her students almost to a fault. She possesses a sweet and caring spirit and is committed to the educational process and the academic achievement of all students she serves. I am truly honored to recommend Mrs. Sandhu for the life changer of the year as she exemplifies this title.

Lyniel Odneal Posted 20 days ago

Congratulations on your nomination Mrs Sandhu. Continue to motivate and maintain high academic standards for the students.

Bradley Thomas Stabler Posted 26 days ago

Ms. Sandhu is a shining example of the dedication, expertise, and passion required to be a truly wonderful educator. She not only goes above and beyond for her students but also shares many of her insights, tricks, and tools with the rest of the staff. She is truly an asset.

Ann Lake Posted 26 days ago

Ms. Sandu was extremely helpful at the beginning of this school year providing me with one on one computer help. Teaching virtual requires a good working knowledge of various programs. Ms. Sandu played a massive role helping me learn various teaching programs. Thank you !

Brenda Messina Posted 26 days ago

Mrs. Sandhu deserves the life-changer of the year award because she literally changes students' lives. She comes in early to work with students, she stays late to work with students, she works with students during her prep time, during her lunchtime, virtually on days off, and in the evenings... Her desire to help students be their best and to understand her challenging subject is incomparable! Her devotion and dedication have been changing our students' lives for years!

Charita Wright Posted 26 days ago

So many teachers go above and beyond to ensure students have the best educational opportunities possible. Mrs. Sandhu is one of those teachers. She is committed to student success so much so, that after a long day of teaching she also tutors students. Her passion for teaching, going above and beyond the call of duty, and desire to see every students achieve is what makes her so deserving of this award.

Maisoun Mando Posted 26 days ago

Absolutely well-deserved privilege and nomination for a conscientious and devoted teacher.

Beverly Manley Posted 26 days ago

Before I became an employee for Pontiac School District, Mrs. Sandhu was my nephew's math teacher who went above and beyond to help make him the best student he could be. Whenever it was a problem with my nephew’s behavior, Mrs. Sandhu communicated with me to make sure I understood exactly what was going on. She has always been kind and considerate. I believe Mrs. Sandhu really deserves the LifeChanger of the Year Award.

Binu Johnson Posted 26 days ago

Ms. Sandhu is an excellent teacher and a good resource in our Math department. She is a good mentor to her mentees and always ready to help with all their questions. She is a good leader who goes above and beyond to meet the needs of people around her. I wish her all the best.

Nuzhath Ahmed Posted 26 days ago

Mrs. Sandhu is a dedicated and sincere teacher, who is out there to help anyone needing it, whether it is the teachers, students or the School administrators. She is thorough in her content area (Math) and students love her and have a lot of respect for the knowledge she imparts to them. She is certainly an asset to any School and is also a caring friend and mentor, who tries to solve problems especially related to technology and teaching. She is also very organized and a very hard worker who will do what it takes to better herself all the time. I cannot think of a better fit for this award.

Denedra Shepherd Posted 26 days ago

As a guest teacher, in a new environment, it can be difficult to learn how to be effective, but Mrs. Sandhu made this task for me not so difficult. She may not know this, but she was my resource person to go to for advice and assistance in the math department at Pontiac High School. Mrs. Sandhu simply goes out of her way to lead others and help them strive. I am forever grateful for her leadership and kindness and I know she would make a great recipient of this honor.

Laura Ibarra Posted 26 days ago

I admire Mrs. Sandhu's dedication and passion for teaching. She not only is a role model to follow for students but a open minded coworker who cares and builds relationships with students. I know, I can count on Mrs. Sandhu's when we are working on supporting students. Congratulations on your nomination.

Maisoun Mando Posted 27 days ago

Congratulations Ms. Sandhu! I am so happy for you. I agree with all the above and much much more. You are one of the top and best heroes here at Pontiac High School. Congratulations and you deserve the best of the best!

Sarah Maas Posted 27 days ago

Mrs. Sandhu is a role model for all staff. She is a great resource for staff and students and shows her passion and dedication in all of her actions. She is extremely deserving of this award!

Sonia Nieske Posted 28 days ago

Mrs. Sandhu, is a dedicated and a hard working teacher. She is a very deserving candidate for this award.

Smitha Kohok Posted 28 days ago

Mrs Sandhu is a wonderful teacher, colleague and person at heart. She is always there to help anyone and anytime. She is an inspiring person who encourages everyone around her to challenge their limits and do good each day. She is a person who inspires, guides and encourages everyone to learn and grow to their full potential. She is very kind and patient. I feel very lucky to have a mentor like you.

Earnest Matthews Posted 29 days ago

Mrs Sandhu, one of the most caring, dedicated and supportive math teacher in the school district. Wishing you much success.

Stephanie Pinkett Posted 29 days ago

I have known Ms. Sandhu for 19 years. She is an excellent Math Teacher who works magic in meeting a student where they are and bringing them to discover skill sets that they don't know they have. She has dedication, compassion, integrity and resilience in different working environments with students of all socio-economic backgrounds. Ms. Sandhu definitely deserves Life Changer of the Year because she has been and is a positive force in so many lives.

Joe Auricchio Posted 29 days ago

I have had the pleasure of working and learning from you these past years, Im am sure the best is still to come. Congratulations you are a well deserved candidate

Michael Hanna Posted 29 days ago

Ms. Sandhu is Amazing person , will definitely ready to Help when we need her and creative and passionate about what she does.

Alicia Carpenter Posted 29 days ago

Ms. Sandhu is an awesome teacher. She really cares about our students at PHS. She always goes the extra mile to help students and staff. So proud of you Ms.Sandhu. Continue to do your BEST to be the BEST.

Debi Melgar-Zavala Posted 29 days ago

Such an amazing & bright teacher! Always caring and dedicated to her students, will never forget her kind actions in my heart.

Tara Byers Posted 29 days ago

Good things do indeed come to those who deserve them, and you certainly do Mrs. Sandhu!!!

Sandra Butler Posted 29 days ago

Surinder, You are so worthy of this nomination. Over and beyond is your mantra and the creed by which you live and service our students. Your exemplary teaching strategies and methods make you head and shoulders above our colleagues. Your willingness and dedication to connect with ALL students is what makes you phenomenal and a MASTER educator.

Olta Canko Posted 29 days ago

Congratulations! Mrs Sandhu’s selfless help does not go to just the people who where listed above, but to everyone she comes across especially students in need. She is always helping anyone and everyone who walks thru her door. I am fortunate to have her as a mentor thru my career in education but most importantly becoming family.

Shant’L Olovson Posted 29 days ago

As a new member to the teaching staff at Pontiac High School, Mrs. Sandhu was immediately open and kind toward me. Throughout this school year, as I have needed assistance, Mrs. Sandhu always greets me with a smile and never hesitates or declines to help. Recently, we were placed on a committee to improve instruction in math and English for our students, as they transition from high school to post-secondary endeavors. Her commitment to students is tangible. I am ever grateful and privileged to know and call Mrs. Sandhu, a colleague and friend.

Marcetta Dillard Posted 29 days ago

One of the most honest, helpful, knowledgeable instructors within PHS. Could not find a more deserving person.

Resident mathematician Posted 1 months ago

Mrs. Sandhu kind words and emotion help steer me into the path I am on now after the mysterious disappearance of my hotspot.

Carruth Posted 1 months ago

I am sooo glad you came back to our district. We missed you immensely and so did our students. You are a blessing to us all??.

Melanie ward Posted 1 months ago

A well deserved honor for a hard working and dedicated teacher.

Ritu Aggarwal Posted 1 months ago

Congratulations!! Your hard work and dedication to make a difference in the lives of our student deserves you this recognition and beyond!! Ritu Aggarwal

Dr. Ranjit Chahal Posted 1 months ago

She is very hardworking, dedicated, sincere, supportive,kind,intelligent,having full command over her subject.I think she deserves the title of “LIFECHANGER OF THE YEAR

Gill Seattle Posted 1 months ago

Hello Ms. Sandhu So awesome and touching to read all that you do. I hope someday you will have a larger reach and audience, there is very few like you and many that could use your help. Regards, Gill Jr.

Ranjit S Gill Posted 1 months ago

We are very proud of her

Vlada Smorgonsky Posted 1 months ago

Ms. Sandhu is an excellent and a very deserving teacher!