LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Laura Pletcher

Position: K-4 Behavior Interventionist
School: Scott City Elementary School
School District: Scott City R-1 District
City, State: Scott City, MO

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Music that Describes Laura

Laura Pletcher was nominated by her principal, Keisha Panagos.

"Ms. Pletcher is a veteran teacher with a passion for students that I call 'down on their luck,'" said Panagos. "As a classroom teacher for over 15 years, she has expertise in classroom management, high expectations, and relationship building. I am nominating Ms. Laura Pletcher for the LifeChanger of the Year Award because I have witnessed firsthand how she has changed the trajectory of her students. She is their saving grace."

Three years ago, Scott City Elementary School (SCE) needed to create a Tier II intervention system of support. The school needed more behavioral help and a way to combat the influx of mental health concerns. At that time, there wasn't a place for students to go where they could refocus and get their bodies and minds right. Students were simply sent to the office, or they were sent home.

"We knew that sending these students home was not the answer, and we wanted to add more restorative practices; we just needed more interventions to make that happen. SCE made a massive step in determining the need for a behavior interventionist," said Panagos. "The moment we interviewed Ms. Pletcher, we knew she was the one for the job. Her passion was contagious, and she was ready to pour her heart and soul into these kids and build this Tier II support system."

After months of research and visiting other schools, the Refocus Room at Scott City Elementary was born. The Refocus Room has been a life-changing experience for everyone involved. Ms. Pletcher is a strong leader for the Care Team, which includes the principal, curriculum director, counselor, and social worker. This team has created a Tier II support system that enables students to address their personal needs and work individually to meet their specific goals. Ms. Pletcher works with the classroom teacher and the student to identify goals they need to focus on to succeed. These goals range from keeping a calm body and voice to responding to a task when asked. 

Mrs. Pletcher starts her day by meeting individually with each Refocus student. She is intentional in ensuring that their day begins on the right foot. Throughout the day, she is there to support them. Students can come to her if they start to feel overwhelmed or if their body starts to get anxious or upset. She works closely with her students and their teachers to identify triggers. Break cards are one of the more popular strategies she uses to help students be intentional with listening to their bodies. 

You enter an oasis of calmness when you walk into the Refocus room. Her dimmed lights and soothing music, intentionally selected to match the beats of a child's heart rate, set the mood for the room. You can feel the love in the room the moment you cross the threshold. There is a punching bag for students to release steam, weighted balls, and a sand zen garden, to name a few. Students come in to refocus and reset so they can have a successful day. The Refocus Room is a safe space for students when they feel uneasy, anxious, or upset. Since the inception of the Refocus Room, suspensions have decreased drastically. Students that were struggling have regained their confidence and self-awareness.

When Ms. Pletcher is not in the Refocus Room, you can find her in the classrooms observing students that teachers have identified as needing extra support. Ms. Pletcher is data-driven and constantly analyzes data and meets with teachers to determine the next steps. Ms. Pletcher is a fearless educational leader who is passionate about student success and well-being, including their mental health, anxiety, depression, trauma, etc.

"At SCE, we are intentional in ensuring that all students have the support and interventions to meet their needs," said Panagos. "When I heard about the LifeChanger of the Year Award, Ms. Pletcher was the first person that came to mind. She is a gift to Scott City Elementary and a true LifeChanger to her students and their families. Her passion, determination, and grit are the epitome of what it means to be a LifeChanger. She truly exemplifies all of the criteria for this award, and I could not think of a better educational leader than Ms.Laura Pletcher for the LifeChanger of the Year Award. Changing lives is what she does.

For more information about the Refocus room, check out this article:

Comments (65)

Scott Posted 1 months ago


Megan Posted 2 months ago

Mrs. Pletcher is a great teacher that truly cares for the whole child. She supports her students in every aspect, as well as their classroom teachers.

Rachel Posted 2 months ago

Ms. Pletcher’s passion and dedication to her students is evident in the way she cares for them and structures her program for the support each one needs individually. In a world where everyone is stretched thin and it is easier to dismiss children with additional behavior problems, she takes the time to understand them and teach them tools for mindfulness that will help them throughout their whole life. Additionally, she has spent time teaching these skills to other educators, passing her knowledge on so other districts and students may benefit from it as well.

Crockette Posted 2 months ago

Laura is such a sweetheart. Always SO THOUGHTFUL, helpful, and considerate. She has such a big heart and ALWAYS brings joy and unending happiness to every event or situation she’s presented with. The world needs more Laura’s

Landon Haggett Posted 2 months ago

The passion that Ms. Pletcher has for the students of her school district is unsurpassed. She not only cares about teaching the students but making a positive difference in there life. She is willing to show positivity, patience, and love to students that don’t always get those things. She is an inspiration to other teacher and the caring heart in students lives.

Kalie Posted 2 months ago

Ms. Pletcher's love and dedication that she shows to the children of Scott City Elementary is nothing short of amazing!! She has built the Refocus room around the needs of the kids that attend Scott City Elementary. She is always willing to help and goes above and beyond to help educate teacher and staff on different approaches to take with kids that are struggling in and outside the classroom. Ms. Pletcher shows so much love and compassion for all the kids at Scott City and will advocate in anyway possible for them.

Kalie Posted 2 months ago

Ms. Pletcher's love and dedication that she shows to the children of Scott City Elementary is nothing short of amazing!! She has built the Refocus room around the needs of the kids that attend Scott City Elementary. She is always willing to help and goes above and beyond to help educate teacher and staff on different approaches to take with kids that are struggling in and outside the classroom. Ms. Pletcher shows so much love and compassion for all the kids at Scott City and will advocate in anyway possible for them.

Erika Miller Posted 3 months ago

I no longer have children in school but I am so thankful that the school has implemented this into the school and wish this would have been an option when my children were small. Children go through all sorts of problems, especially in their home life and they do not understand how to express their struggles and in turn in my experience with my youngest spent a lot of time in trouble at school either in after school detention or in the all day detention and I said many times he’s not a bad kid he’s just going through some things and needs help and guidance and support. I’m so thankful to know that Scott City Schools are seeing this to help better these children and their future and thank you to all for implementing this into our school. Thank you Laura for being that special person that our children can trust and for making a difference in these kids world!

Dana Posted 3 months ago

Love her! She is amazing at her job. She has made a huge difference in the students that she works with at Scott City Elem.

Jennifer Posted 3 months ago

Ms. Pletcher and the Refocus Room has been life changing for many students. The very definition of Life Changer. Helping, encouraging, enriching, and educating students, parents, faculty and staff is what it's all about. We have that at SCE. Ms. Pletcher deserves this award! We have been blessed to have her.

Sara Posted 4 months ago

Laura is a blessing to all who know her. What an amazing person to have in the position she carries at SCE.

Stacy Kilby Posted 4 months ago

Ms. Pletcher is devoted to enhancing the lives of her students. She oversees the refocus room to meet the needs of students during school hours, but she does not stop there. Ms. Pletcher advocates for resources that extend beyond a school day. This is to ensure the needs of her students are truly met. Like Ms. Pletcher, a LifeChanger is an individual who does not let a 7-3:30 schedule constrict their dedication to improving the lives of those around them.

Amy Posted 4 months ago

Love her. She is wonderful.

Brittany Amick Posted 4 months ago

I have seen Mrs. Pletcher build this program up from its beginning. She has poured so much time and dedication into learning how to best help these students. She truly makes a difference for the students she works with and for our entire elementary.

Nick Posted 4 months ago

Laura Pletcher is very deserving of this award. She has really helped my son this year and I don't know where we would be without her. She builds such strong relationships with her students and goes above and beyond to help them be successful. Laura Pletcher is a life Changer.

Sydney Scherer Posted 4 months ago

Laura loves her position and loves helping students develop skills that will affect their life in a positive way. She is always taking the time to learn new strategies and new intervention systems to help our students.

Stacy Cossey Posted 4 months ago

I am so thankful for Ms. Pletcher and her refocus room! This is exactly what SCE needed to support our students. It gives me peace of mind knowing that our students have this resource, this safe space, that is available to them when they struggle during their school day. Thank you Ms. Pletcher for everything you provide to our students!!

Miranda Vazquez Posted 4 months ago

Laura has helped so many of my students, which in turn, also helps me as a teacher in the classroom! The patience and understanding she has for these kids truly is amazing and we are so blessed to have her on our team!

Ashley Eses Posted 4 months ago

Laura you are one of the best! You made such a huge difference in Ava’s life by helping her feel more confident when she was struggling with reading. Now she loooves reading! Thank you from the bottom of my heart ??

Jared Weiss Posted 4 months ago

Laura is a great teacher always putting her profession and kids first!

Tana McKenzie Posted 4 months ago

Laura is a wonderful teacher, colleague, and friend! She does a wonderful job with her students and managing the refocus room at Scott City Elementary. I’m so happy she is receiving this nomination. She deserves it!

Melissa Posted 4 months ago

Laura rocks! She’s dedicated, passionate and definitely deserving of this honor!

Renee Seeler Posted 4 months ago

Laura has an open heart, bright spirit, and love of people. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of such an award!

Tracy Barnett Posted 4 months ago

Laura Pletcher is truly a blessing to all the kids and the Scott city School district

Amanda Huckstep Posted 4 months ago

Laura will always hold a special spot in our hearts. She is so kind & truly cares about her students. My daughter struggles with anxiety & I don’t think our daughter would have made it through elementary without her. She is still the favorite for our girls, they still go down to the elementary just to say hi & get a hug. To say she deserves this award is an understatement! Congratulations Ms. Laura ??

Cammy Short Posted 4 months ago

What an honor to be nominated! You'll never know what a positive impact you have made for these kids!!

nichole Conley Posted 4 months ago

Your are amazing teacher :) You impacted us all :)

Jackie Baran Posted 4 months ago

I don’t personally know Mrs Laura but she sounds amazing. I had a special need’s granddaughter. Your compassion and love for the kids is a blessing and you deserve this award.

Donna Conaway Posted 4 months ago


Laura Ort Posted 4 months ago

Congratulations! Very much deserved!

Ashley Drury Posted 4 months ago

Thank you so much for what you are doing for the children at Scott City Elementary! ?? What you are doing now will give them the tools they need to be successful as they continue their education!

Samantha Posted 4 months ago

We absolutely love her!! Congratulations you deserve it all!!!

Brandy Lambert Posted 4 months ago

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Laura and working with her for several years. She truly is one of the best educators and shows that through her compassion and love for the students. I couldn’t think of a better recipient for this award. Knowing Mrs Laura is LifeChanging!

Rodney Pensel Posted 4 months ago

I have had the pleasure of working with Ms Pletcher. She has been a mentor for several student teachers and has made their experience wonderful. She does change lives!

Christy Littlepage Posted 4 months ago

What a blessing to have her in the refocus room! Thank you Ms. Pletcher!

Leah Pobst Posted 4 months ago

Wow! How amazing that you are able to offer this for your students!! To find someone with the commitment and compassion that she has is wonderful!

Rochelle Jacksom Posted 4 months ago

Thank you for all your hard work with the students and the refocus room. Giving students a place of safety when they might not have it elsewhere is exactly what we needed. The students having this chance to refocus and and regain respect, love, and a stable mental mind for themselves is most definitely life changing. Your an amazing person and you 100% deserve this award.

Paula Posted 4 months ago

Laura is an amazing teacher. She loves each one of her students as if they were one of her own. Laura has worked hard at making her classroom a place that her students can come and regroup and feel safe. She cares deeply about her students day. Laura encourages them to be successful in all they do. So proud of her. She is definitely a Life Changer..

Debra Posted 4 months ago

Laura has a kind heart and loving soul. She is a loving daughter and sister. She has worked hard to bring this system to her school and use it to help her students. Very passionate

Michelle Lacy Abercrombie Posted 4 months ago

Laura and I have been r a ised with each other and remain good friends to this day! She is an inspiration to me because she is so dedicated and a hard worker and truly loves what she does. She always goes above and beyond no matter what it may be and I'm so proud of her and her accomplishments! Way to go Laura!!!!

Linda Wissmann Posted 4 months ago

I worked with Laura 15 years ago when she first started teaching. Laura has always been a caring and dedicated teacher. She was an excellent teacher. Most deserving of this award!!!

Megan Jourden Posted 4 months ago

Ms. Pletcher is an amazing coworker! I know I can come to her if I’m having a problem and she’ll try to help me solve it. She has brainstormed with me over behavior interventions and helped me so much on meet the teacher night! I feel lucky to get to work with her!

Karyn Simmons Posted 4 months ago

This amazing teacher is making a difference in so many children’s lives. She is not only making a difference in the lives of the kids but the teachers and staff too. She is a great mentor and offers guidance to staff in need of her expertise and knowledge. Laura, keep doing what you do best…making a difference!!!

KG Posted 4 months ago

Laura has always been committed and loves her job and kiddos! So deserving!

Robbie Guard Posted 4 months ago

Very passionate about her students and her school!

Lauren Rawson Posted 4 months ago

Laura has such a passion for her kiddos and helping them succeed. I love hearing her talk about her strategies and learning from her for my own life experiences in the child care business. Such an inspiration and amazing teacher.

Alice Posted 4 months ago

You rock Laura!!! What a blessing you are to your kiddos!! Good luck!

Carolyn Posted 4 months ago

Most deserving!

Paula Folino Posted 4 months ago

Wow! Her leadership and impact are only exceeded by her dedication, passion and success. God Bless Laura Pletcher, she truly is changing children’s lives.

Carmen Winders Posted 4 months ago

Laura's work with our at-risk students is amazing and a blessing to our students. We appreciate her patience and kindness to our students. Laura is a learner and a teacher, who has impacted us all!

Monique Hammuck Posted 4 months ago

You are an amazing teacher and an amazing friend! what you are doing for these kids is life changing and you deserve this award!

Sarah Enderle Posted 4 months ago

Laura is my long time best friend! Her compassion for children is her life. She has always put the students first and is determined to make the classroom a fun environment. Her love for her job shines in all she does daily. She is a blessing!

Brad Aldrich Posted 4 months ago

Throughout her career, Laura remains a beacon of stability and leadership for the groups she supports. Using strategic skills and quick solid decision making abilities, she easily understands and accepts her role in any situation, allowing her successfully lead multiple initiatives. I truly believe her previous and current situational experience makes her an ideal candidate for the Life Changer award. I also know Laura on a personal level and have developed tremendous respect for her based upon her devotion to friends and family, concern for the welfare of her friends and coworkers, spirituality, candor and honesty. Further, I believe that her professional counterparts and friends would echo these very sentiments, so I am pleased to share this endorsement of Laura, and would be delighted to share any further comments, should you so desire.

Becky Menees Posted 4 months ago

Amazing teacher my son had her he loved going to school. Very encouraging for him to do better.

Jeri Callaway Posted 4 months ago

Congratulations on the well deserved nomination!

Lori Rubel Posted 4 months ago

Laura is a life changer! She is definitely impacting these children's lives for the better.

Duston Y Stone Posted 4 months ago

I know that your job might not always be easy, so I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate all of your hard work. Because of you, all of your students have a positive, engaging learning environment. Thank you so much!

Tammy Radetic Posted 4 months ago

Laura is a very conscientious teacher who takes a special interest in everyone of her students. She earns their trust and maintains real relationships with the kids to help them be successful in school! Well deserved nomination!

Glynelle Wells Posted 4 months ago

Laura is an inspiration to her students. I’ve seen the prep that she puts into her classroom at the beginning of the year. She creates a peaceful sanctuary for them. She knows that they may be coming from a less than ideal home situation. Laura wants their time in her classroom to be a positive experience.

Kristy Mehner Posted 4 months ago

I’ve known Laura for years and this is 100% her passion! She is so deserving of this award!!!

Wendy Lewison Posted 4 months ago

Ms Pletcher was my daughter's teacher. The way my daughter would be excited to go to school really was a sign of a great learning environment. She is firm, but kind allowing kids to ex excel in her classroom. She deserves to be recognized for her excellent work.

Zach Posted 4 months ago

Ms Pletcher goes above and beyond. She always has a smile on her face no matter what

Lindsay Aycock Posted 4 months ago

It is so helpful for our students to have a safe place to go! I have seen a real improvement in our students since this program began!

Keisha Panagos Posted 4 months ago

Ms. Pletcher is the Behavior Interventionist at SCE and has been instrumental in creating our Refocus Room, which is a tier II support system for students identified as needing more intense intervention. She is a true LifeChanger at SCE. There is a popular saying "when a flower doesn't bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.". This is so true at Scott City Elementary. We have a strong team of educational leaders. We are being intentional in our actions and putting systems in place where all students can thrive and be successful. At SCE, we do what's best for kids. Ms. Pletcher is just one of many fearless leaders at SCE, but she is so deserving of the LifeChanger of the Year Award. She is leading the charge in creating a strong foundation in both tier II and tier III supports for students that need more intensive intervention. She is currently helping to create our Ram Academy which is a tier III intervention for students with behavior and mental health challenges. I have seen children that were broken and feeling helpless transform into a more confident happy child. That is why we do what we do. Ms. Laura Pletcher is a fearless leader and I am honored to work along side of her. I can't think of anyone more deserving than Ms. Laura Pletcher for the LifeChanger of the Year Award. #LCOY

Hannah Heise Posted 4 months ago

Ms. Laura was my kindergarten and first grade teacher, and I'm so glad it was her, she was an amazing teacher and showed kindness everyday. I'll really miss her when I graduate!