LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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McShell Edmonds

Position: Freshman Principal
School: Vance County High School
School District: Vance County Schools
City, State: Henderson, NC

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McShell Edmonds was nominated by an anonymous colleague. 

"I have known Ms. Edmonds for over nine years, and I have had the privilege of working with her," explains her colleague. "She is one of the most dedicated educators I have ever met in my twenty years as a teacher."

Ms. Edmonds is a very caring leader who is protective of staff and students; she is the perfect balance of firmness and compassion. Although a strong disciplinarian, students and staff know that she disciplines from the heart and has a real love for children and the teaching profession. Ms. Edmonds listens to students and always does what is best for them. 

It is rare for Ms. Edmonds to take a day off of work. She has shown up to work sick and has had to be sent home by the principal, who once had to drive slowly behind her to ensure that she got home safely. Ms. Edmonds is one of the first people in the school building in the mornings and one of the last to leave in the evenings and often at night. She is available to students on weekends and at night as they often reach out to her about school issues knowing she is available. When a student contacted her while she was at a wedding on a Saturday, she stepped out to speak with the student. Her dedication is unmatched! As a true educator, she believes in equity and is the first to ensure that teachers have everything they need to function effectively in their jobs. She is an advocate for teachers and students alike. 

"'Firm but fair.' 'Strong and with a kind heart.' These are some of the sentiments that I have heard expressed in regard to Ms. Edmonds as an administrator in our school," said the colleague. "She has been in charge of the Exceptional Children's Department for several years and has been a constant voice for the voiceless. She is a champion for the marginalized and has dedicated 27 years to serving children of poverty in the community where she grew up."

Henderson is a challenging community with a high level of underserved families. Every year there is a high turnover of teachers who migrate to higher-paying districts. However, Ms. Edmonds has stayed the course, continuing to fight for children who need a champion. That's exactly what she is to them. Ms. Edmonds is also the first to celebrate teachers, to boost morale when it is low. She worked hard, regularly encouraging teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. She did giveaways and lunches for teachers' week, giving out surprises to keep morale high.

"Ms. Edmonds makes our school a place of joy," said her colleague. "Every child deserves a true LifeChanger, someone who will stay the course when the going gets tough, someone they can depend on, a constant in a world of change. Every school needs its own Ms. Edmonds. I am proud and excited to nominate Ms. Mcshell Edmonds for the LifeChanger of the Year award! She is as close as we will ever get to a real-life superhero for our children of poverty as they try to find their way in this big, crazy, beautiful world."

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