Anissa Cole's nomination was submitted by her colleague, Ryan DeVries, on behalf of their assistant principal, Andrea Heinlen:
Ms. Cole is a phenomenal teacher who promotes critical thinking. Her engaging and thought-provoking lessons require students to communicate, collaborate, and be creative. Ms. Cole shares her expertise by mentoring new teachers and collaborating with colleagues. As grade-level chair, Ms. Cole is a leader in her school. In addition, she mentors teachers from other schools.
Ms. Cole is one of a kind. She is always asking, "What can I do?" She asks this of everyone! On and before Field Day, she asks the P.E. teachers, "What can I do?" If an administrator is absent from the building, Ms. Cole approaches the other administrator asking, "What can I do?" These are just a few examples; the list goes on and on. After more than 20 years of teaching, and in a time when teachers are burning out, she is sparking joy in others to reduce stress levels, which helps retain teachers and makes learning fun for kids so they become lifelong learners.
"I could not be more grateful to work with Anissa each and every day," said Heinlen.
Ms. Cole creates a positive school culture in every way imaginable. She plays music and wears roller skates in the lunchroom to turn it into a party. Ms. Cole dresses up like a dinosaur and gnome for fun. She is a crafter who makes wreaths, wood signs, etc. As the head of the social committee, Ms. Cole is crazy talented - we're talking party planner status! She creates balloon arches, decorates doors, caters luncheons, and hosts fun activities such as wooden rabbit stealing, "Boo" gifting, Secret Leprechaun, and White Elephant gift exchanges. At random times, Ms. Cole pushes around a treat cart to distribute treats to staff. She found painters and arranged for the school's front doors to be painted bright colors with "Welcome" written on them and the school's entryway to have "Welcome to the Cub Zone" painted on it. Ms. Cole plans every detail of Astro Camp and attends with the students. She is the staff winner of Gaga Ball and always stays after school for after-school activities. She has planned movie nights and even runs the school website.
"Honestly, who has the time? I mean, does she even sleep," said Heinlen. "For these reasons and more, Anissa Cole deserves to win the LifeChanger of the Year Award."