LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Charleen McCracken

Position: School Counselor
School: Eliot Elementary School
School District: Tulsa Public Schools
City, State: Tulsa, OK

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Charleen McCracken was nominated by her principal, Sharon Holt.

Ms. McCracken has a fantastic gift for recognizing the needs of each individual student. She goes out of her way to ensure every student knows they are loved and safe. Her school uses trauma-informed practices, and she's an excellent resource for teachers and students. Ms. McCracken is affectionately known as Pollyanna Sunshine (a combination of Susie Sunshine and Positive Pollyanna) because she sees the good in every kid, every day. 

"Her heart is anchored to our school and students even though she has multiple opportunities to follow the clinical sector. Charleen always says her heart is here in the school with kids," said Holt.

Ms. McCracken is willing to jump in and fill any gap in her school. She helps cover classes during the extended plan content cycle work by providing guidance lessons to one class every rotation. Ms. McCracken is proactive by teaching students proper ways to deal with big feelings, character education, diversity, anti-bullying, and making positive, healthy choices. She offers times for students to check in with her as needed, say hi, or give a hug or high five.

She completes the not-so-fun work by finding the positive. No one likes to complete the paperwork for 504 support, but Ms. McCracken says she is just working on finding a strategy for the student to be successful. During meetings, she remains positive and professional when listening and offering support to families.

Ms. McCracken is in charge of ensuring families have what they need, which includes making sure students have Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas presents. She organizes local church donations to put together meals for families at Thanksgiving; then, she coordinates an angel tree. The active PTA brings gifts, and Ms. McCracken ensures they are wrapped and given to parents so they can give them to their kids. Families are thankful that their school family is there to ensure they are supported and have their needs met.

"Our school is complete because she fills the buckets of everyone she has contact with. Our school is whole because she is here," said Holt.