LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Rachel Brown

Position: Retiring Librarian
School: DaVinci Academy of Arts and Science
School District: Charter School
City, State: Ham Lake, MN

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Rachel Brown was nominated by her colleague, Phoenix Hathaway.

"Rachel Brown is a LifeChanger for many reasons, including her caring attitude, helpful demeanor, and positive outlook," explains Hathaway. "Rachel has been with our school community for the past 14 years, since its inception in September of 2008. She started as a parent volunteer, transitioned to a food service substitute, and is currently our school librarian. She has been a pillar of strength, perseverance, flexibility, and warmth for our school." 

Mrs. Brown puts her heart into everything she does at DVA. She organizes fabulous book fairs and ensures students have what they need to succeed. For example, Mrs. Brown collects spare change to cover their book tax and plastic bags to hold their purchase. In the summer of 2021, she secured a substantial grant from an anonymous donor she met at a local vineyard. She explained how the pandemic had affected students and the books in her library, which needed updating or replacements. The donor was so moved by her enthusiasm and passion that they graciously awarded a sizable fund to help accomplish her school library goals!

Mrs. Brown organized a library committee of staff volunteers, and she hosted library parties complete with snacks and drinks. The committee scoured the collection and suggested books and categories to increase the depth and breadth of information available to students. Mrs. Brown was mindful to include and represent all students in the library material, not only to make them feel welcome and included, but to educate others who may be less familiar with various cultures and practices.

Her positivity and passion are contagious. She has struggled with physical discomfort for much of her life, yet still wears a smile and cheerfulness when interacting with others. She understands how tough teaching is and stocks a "candy drawer" behind her library check-out desk to help lift the moods of staff-in-need.

"She reminds us that we are not alone and welcomes a friendly chat or a quick grab of chocolate," said Hathaway. "Rachel is retiring at the end of the school year, in June of 2022. We are sad about her departure, but we're incredibly grateful to work alongside her in some of the toughest recent years in education. She is a cornerstone of all things positive, helpful, and collaborative here at DaVinci Academy. We love her so much and appreciate all she has done. Rachel Brown is truly a Life Changer!" 



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