LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Melissa Lovejoy

Position: Principal
School: Elkview Middle School
School District: Kanawha County Schools
City, State: Elkview, WV

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Melissa Lovejoy was nominated by her assistant superintendent, Lou Maynus

Melissa Lovejoy represents all that is LifeChanger of the Year. Missy, as she is affectionately called by her peers, was previously the assistant principal for six years before taking the principalship approximately 18 months prior to a devastating flood. In late June, flood waters took the neighboring high school and two elementary schools. Elkview Middle School barely survived the high waters. Missy spent every day of her summer going to Elkview to help remove damaged furniture, set up emergency supports for the community, and simply be there for the community and staff. She was at school from daylight until dark. The effect of the flooding on this community was overwhelming, and Elkview Middle School was the one place that still represented hope. Missy Lovejoy represented hope. Families stopped by the school just to connect with some sort of normalcy, even hough it was still summer. Children had lost their homes and they needed to see that their school was still standing.  

Missy always has a smile on her face and a word of support and hope for all.  She constantly looked for supports from the Red Cross, CVS pharmacy, athletics, band, and other community partners.  Families rallied around her as she made calls to get the material items needed for community members.  At one point, her gymnasium was full of clothes for children, men and women.  The community could stop by to pick up clothes as needed for their families.  

"I stopped by the school a few times a week, and Missy was always there with a smile and a plan for whatever was needed," Maynus said. "They brought in washers and dryers, had a food pantry, and housed the military as volunteers worked to clean up the community. Missy never turned anyone away."

The following school year, Missy had to divide her school day with the high school. She made a schedule and a plan for 700 Elkview Middle School students to attend half a day, and for the high school to borrow the EMS building for the afternoon. She led the staff and students to work through a year of craziness in such a way that there was a positive and supportive atmosphere.

"Missy was a real cheerleader. She even kissed a pig in a challenge competition," Maynus said. "Missy was much more than a principal last year. She was a beacon of hope for Elk River."

Every student in the school needed a safe place; many had lost their homes and everything they owned. Missy worked day in and day out to provide for their needs and prepare the school for both middle and high school students. The atmosphere was one of constant hope and reserve. Missy represented excellence as a leader for the entire district. In fact, her student achievement performance that year improved, even though students only went to school for half a day each day.

"Missy is of true moral character; she spent a lot of her own money, made calls and brought so much to the school and community," said Maynus. "Her commitment to a nurturing environment was beyond anything I have experienced."

During this same year, Missy built temporary facilities for the high school students in a portable high school. She singlehandedly drafted the new busing plan, walkways, schedules and athletic fields plans. Missy never stopped thinking because she was determined that her kids would not go without during this time of flood recovery.

"If anyone was ever deserving of recognition, it is Missy Lovejoy. She is a real LifeChanger," Waynus said.

Melissa Lovejoy in the News:
Elkview Middle principal receives ‘Life Changer of the Year Award’ following 2016 flood 
Elkview Middle principal named 'LifeChanger of the Year'

Comments (41)

Rebecca Mandirola Posted over a year ago

Missy Lovejoy is the kind of person that encourages you to do your very best, she sets the bar high and rises to the everyday challenges of promoting EMS as an integral part of the community of Elkview. After the devastating flood our students and neighbors could look to Missy Lovejoy for assistance and support. It was so important that the families and students could look to EMS as poof that their world wasn’t entirely upended. Flood recovery continues and our students will likely feel the impact for years to come. But due in large part to Melissa Lovejoy the community has a safe welcoming place for our students to strive to be their best, she simply won’t accept anything less. I’ve worked with Missy for several years and appreciate the challenges to learn and grow professionally. She is an excellent candidate for the LifeChanger award.

JB Breeding Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Lovejoy took a devastating natural disasters to the community on the Elk River area and dedicating herself to creating safe environment for all students at Elkview Middle School. Mrs. Lovejoy dedicated countless hours distributing water, clothing, food, and basic needs for the students and their families. Her dedication to the students and staff made a difficult year productive and a stress - free expierence. As a teacher, Mrs. Lovejoy made it possible to start the year off in a positive way.

Eddie Gray Posted over a year ago

Missy Lovejoy is truly a Life Changer. Not only does she care for her students, school and community she cares for her staff as well. She is by far the most deserving individual for this award. Last year when our school and community experienced the devestating flooding, many would have thrown in the towel. Not Mrs. Lovejoy she spent countless hours from daylight to dark working to clean up our school and develop at plan so our students could attend classes. Missy also worked out bus schedules so our student athletes would have transportation to and from their athletic teams practice. As I have said before Missy Lovejoy is truly a Life Changer and is very deserving of this award.

JB Breeding Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Lovejoy took the June 2016 natural disaster in the community and to the school and created a safe, inviting, and caring atmosphere for students at Elkview Middle School. She spend countless hours distributing clothing, water, food, and encouragement to students and families in the community. As a classroom teacher, Mrs. Lovejoy gave support to allow me to prepare my classroom for students to start learning on day one. She took a tragic situation and turned into a positive experience for all. JB Breeding Teacher Elkview Middle School

Debra Wilson Posted over a year ago

Missy is wonderful at providing the structure and support needed to run a successful school while giving the staff the freedom and flexibility to be their personal best. Working for and with Missy has been a rewarding experience. Last year her leadership skills were tested when our school was one of four county schools flooded during the summer. She passed with flying colors. She rolled up her sleeves and jumped right in to begin the clean-up and countless hours of meetings and decision making that would need to be completed to get our school open. She met the challenges of this crisis and continues to lead our school to be the best for each and every student who attends EMS.

Jessica Austin Posted over a year ago

I worked with Missy for a number of years and witnessed her strong sense of leadership through this tragic event. In my opinion, this was a defining moment in her career/life where many would have thrown up their hands and retreated. Instead, she rolled up her sleeves and committed to the work of rebuilding and being a consistent source of hope and love for her school and community. She is to be commended and is certainly worthy of this honor!

Debbie Heater Posted over a year ago

I've known Missy almost all her life. She is one of the kindest, most helpful, caring, giving person I know. Her example is an encouragement to all those around her. Her positive attitude is truly uplifting. She always goes above and beyond. If anyone ever deserved to be recognized it certainly is Missy Lovejoy, a beautiful human being.

Robert Miller Posted over a year ago

A true role model that her school and community can be proud of!

Rhonda Donohoe Posted over a year ago

Missy is very deserving of this honor. She worked tirelessly for her staff and students to help the community recover from the flood. It is an honor to work with Missy.

Melissa Lawrence Posted over a year ago

I'm honored to be a colleague and friend of Missy Lovejoy. As a fellow middle school principal in the same district where Missy works, I already knew about the passion and devotion that she shows for her school, her students, and her community. I knew about all that Missy had done to help those who had been affected by the devastation left from the flood. I also knew that it was a personal mission that Missy do all that she could to ease the pain left by so much loss. I saw the personal toll that it took on Missy, but as Dr. Maynus so beautifully wrote - Missy always smiled and comforted others with the message of hope. It is my personal belief that because of Missy Lovejoy's selfless acts of love, charity, and hope that she be the best candidate to represent LifeChanger of the Year.

Kathy Posted over a year ago

I think she deserves it for everything she has done for the school students and the community around it .She thinks of the students and puts their well being and safety First she is well deserving of this award

kelly skaggs Posted over a year ago

this lady seems like a real leader and also a awesome helper for so many people and the kids, she is a little bit of this and a little bit of whatever kids need maybe someone to talk to or just be there with a hug, but when i just read this i wanted to vote for this lady, my child is grown up and gone out of the house but i have nieces and nephews going to elkview and hoover. so this lady deserves something nice. thank you for helping the community.

Alice Posted over a year ago

Missy is one of kind.

Tammy Seymour Posted over a year ago

So fitting for a alumni from Dunbar. She has always been a leader and also was a great basketball player for Dunbar. It does not surprise me that she has accomplished and helped the community of Elkview thru the devastating flood they all endured. Congrats Missy Lovejoy and you and John make a great support couple.

Shandon Tweedy Posted over a year ago

Missy deserves this honor. The impact she has made on the community-parents, teachers, and students- is a large scale representation of the heart and motivation of an educator!

Rebecca Gandee Posted over a year ago

She is one in a million.

Ponch Richards Posted over a year ago

I had the honor of working with Missy! She is a great leader and a true inspiration to others. God surely Blessed Elk River when He sent her to Elkview! What a fantastic article for an equally fantastic woman! God Bless her!

Rita Altizer Posted over a year ago

Congratulations to Missy! What a wonderful article about a special person!

Karen Cash Posted over a year ago

I have known Missy most of her life. She lived in our neighborhood as a child. As a young teacher we worked together at South Charleston High and she was always a caring, teacher who went the extra mile to help her students. Missy would be very deserving of this award.

Anna Van Fossen Posted over a year ago

Missy has always been a super Great friend to my husband Bob And I. This is her God given Talent, helping people and Being a great encourager. Love and prayers to you. Anna and Bob Van Fossen

Tammy Baker Posted over a year ago

Missy is so deserving of this honor! I am a friend of hers and I saw missy work tirelessly and miss things for her own family to be there for her school family! Even when dealing with frustrations, Missy was always positive and never waivered from her desire to help her kids and her families who were in need. I totally support Missy winning this award!! She is very deserving!

Missi Canterbury Posted over a year ago

Couldn’t agree more! With a child at EMS during her first year as principal, the positive changes in staff and environment as well as her involvement in athletic programs was remarkable. As that same child faced her first year of high school with no building to go to, I am personally so thankful for her willingness to work with Mr. Kelley to ensure that our kids and community stayed together. She made what the best of a terrible situation that left so many feeling helpless and hopeless, and encouraged her staff to do the same. I can’t think of anyone be more deserving of this nomination. Congratulations! (Now, if we could just get the timeline bumped up by one year for the new high school, that would truly be amazing. It would be so nice for the class of 2020 to have actually had a permanent building to graduate from!

Jack Russell Posted over a year ago

I've known Missy and her family for many years. She is genuine!

Robin Rector Posted over a year ago

Congratulations! Well-deserved recognition! You have truly rallied the troops and been a great team player this past year!

Rocky Carle Posted over a year ago

I’ve known Missy since she was a middle schooler herself. She was as amazing then as she is now! I’m so proud of her.

Allison Cooper Posted over a year ago

I am so happy and proud to see Missy nominated for this. This past summer, she helped me complete some requirements I had for my master's degree in leadership. She went out of her way to show me different things that principals deal with day in and day out, and I saw that the school was still dealing with the effects of the terrible flooding that had happened a year earlier. She showed such pride in her school and was willing to help anyone who came to her (and even those who did not come to her). In fact, she rarely sat down during my experience at her school with her because she was helping other teachers and people around the school with various tasks. The dedication that she has shown her school is beyond incredible. Thanks for all you have done, Missy!

Kathy Silber Posted over a year ago

Missy Lovejoy is a LifeChanger. ! I am the vocal music teacher at Herbert Hoover High School. When our school was destroyed in the flood, Missy Lovejoy opened her school for our show choir to practice at. She welcomed us with arms wide open. She attended our concerts, cheered us on at show choir competitions. She came into our rooms at competition to tell the students she was proud of them and cheer them on. She went way beyond what was expected of her to make us fill welcome and she continues to allow us to practice daily in her auditorium. I thank God everyday for Missy Lovejoy!

Marlene Hays Posted over a year ago

One evening in July went behind the school to check on our trailer parked out back, it was hot. There was Missy on a riding lawnmower cutting the grass. She said she wanted to make the school look good. She is one of a kind, always has a smile on her face, and never complains. Always positive about everything.

Kim Caudill Posted over a year ago

She is an inspiration and a blessing.

Barbara Moore Posted over a year ago

What a role model she is. I'm sure the community found hope and comfort in Miisy and all that she was doing to restore the people who lost so much as a result of the devastating flood.

Vickie Harper Posted over a year ago

I’ve known Missy and John for many years. They are both go getters and givers. My Aunt and Uncle lost many of their things in the flood and were misplaced for several months while volunteers and family tried to put their place back together. It was nice knowing that Missy was working and providing hope in the area to help maintain normalcy in an otherwise chaotic situation.

Kim McClung Posted over a year ago

I could not think of a more deserving individual. Not one thing mentioned in this article about the things that she was able to accomplish for this community surprised me. She is a “genuine” woman of the highest character, humble in nature; Missy has a passion for educating the children in WV and setting the kind of example that will indeed make a difference in their lives, perhaps changing the lives of the 1000s that she has taught!

Katheryn Brannon Barr Posted over a year ago

None of this surprises me! I have known Missy and her family for over 20 years. We taught together at Roosevelt Junior High where Missy taught Math and coached the volleyball teams. She always put everyone else first - her family and her faith come first then it was always about the students. Missy has always been well respected by her peers and the education community. This is an honor well deserved!

Anita Posted over a year ago

She doesn't seek recognition, just quietly works behind the spotlight to make Elkview Middle the best it can be!!

Carrie Groom Posted over a year ago

I was so lucky to have this lady as my mentor when I did my student teaching. She became my friend. Nothing in this article surprised me! She is such a caring, giving person!

Angela Higley Posted over a year ago

Met her at our church about 4 years ago. I have found she is hard working very dedicated individual. Through the flood, she worked tirelessly, thinking always of her students. Very deserving of this honor.

Charlie Heater Posted over a year ago

I have known her since she was a young girl. She has always been a special person. She is well deserving of any accolades she receives. One great lady.

Melinda Royer Posted over a year ago

Missy,l knew you from Green Valley COG. So proud of you!

Mary Byrd Posted over a year ago

Missy is a very caring person! I have seen the tears in her eyes when her kids needed something and she didn’t have it right then. Compassion is in her nature, this flood just allowed the whole community to see it!

Carolyn Luzader Posted over a year ago

This brought tears to my eyes. I know how hard she has worked. Missy has always given 110% to anything she she does. She’s my daughter.

Susan Haynes Posted over a year ago

Awesome! Great job, Missy! Keep changing lives.