LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Alexis Lewis

Position: Elementary Director
School: Faith Community Academy Cooperative
School District: Private
City, State: Rockville , VA

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Alexis Lewis was nominated by Angie Waranis, the parent of a student.

"I have tried quite a few times to sit down and explain why Mrs. Alexis Lewis is a LifeChanger to us. It is proving to be very challenging to fully capture what an incredible educator and person she is," said Waranis. "There is this light that shines around her that can not be explained."

"My children were turning school age right as COVID-19 hit. My son was in kindergarten at public school," Waranis explained. "School was a huge struggle for us before COVID; it was just too large of an environment for him. It was already on my heart that we needed to do something different, something smaller and more personable. The world soon shut down and made that decision easy. We did not return to public school once schools opened back up around us. Instead, we decided to continue home-schooling, but something was missing for us. We missed a sense of community, belonging, and friendships. We had joined different groups and activities over the last two years, but nothing stuck. My kids wouldn't feel included or as if they belonged. They wouldn't make friends, and we'd no longer attend after a few weeks. That is, until we found Faith Academy and Ms. Lewis."

"Early on, before the school year began, she had posted an infographic that said, 'We praise adults who are innovators, have unique talents, can think outside the box. But when we educate our kids, we value conformity, following the standards, and keeping pace with others,'" said Waranis. "This infographic stuck with me because my kids tried the standard classroom, but it was pretty unsuccessful. It did not meet them where they were academically, emotionally, or socially. There was no connection, and they were lost in a sea of other students."

"Several times before I even reached out, I saw Mrs. Lewis' Facebook posts about a new elementary cooperative, part-time and full-time options," said Waranis. "I thought it over, but I presumed it would just be another thing where we'd attend for a couple of weeks and not make any connections, just like all the previous groups and classes we tried. I finally reached out, but they only offered kindergarten-second grade. My son would be in third grade, and my daughter in first grade. I knew they would want to go to the same school, so Mrs. Lewis took my information just in case. A few weeks passed, and she told me they would offer through fourth grade! I was so excited, but I was also really anxious about this working out well for us. I worried about how they would do, how the teachers would be, and how they would get along because of our many failed attempts at finding something. It was a brand-new school opportunity, so there were a lot of unknowns."

"Mrs. Lewis has blown away our expectations, not just for our family, but for every family involved with Faith this year," said Waranis. "I can only imagine the impact she will continue to make on families at Faith Academy for years to come. I know she would say she could not do it without her teachers and parents, that she would not want to take the credit for what Faith has become. However, it was her vision, her calling and I am sure many, many, many hours of work and lack of sleep that made this happen. She has created such an excellent, loving, caring educational environment. My kids enjoy going daily; they have made friends and built relationships with excellent teachers. They feel like they belong, are included, feel safe, are met where they are with their needs educationally and emotionally, and are loved. I know my kids feel that love from Mrs. Lewis and Faith Academy."

"Mrs. Lewis came from a public school teaching position to teach her kids at home during COVID-19. She saw a need and had the desire, vision, and drive to make it happen. She has created a beautiful school environment," said Waranis. " Being a private cooperative allows for so much freedom, and Mrs. Lewis has once posted, 'Relationships before rigor. Grace before grades. Patience before programs. Love before lessons.' This motto is truly something I wish was seen more in the world today. We are truly grateful for everything she has put into Faith, for the community she has created and continues to grow through relationships, grace, patience, and love. My family is proud to be a part of Faith Academy's first year, and we are so proud to know our LifeChanger, Mrs. Alexis Lewis, who has created this incredible, positive, and nurturing community."

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