BROOKSVILLE - A West Hernando Middle School teacher of 29 years has been nominated for the national LifeChanger of the Year award and is eligible to receive up to $10,000 for the school if selected among the 10 national winners.
A teacher of special education students and students with learning differences, Laura Scott is one of hundreds of nominations received by National Life Group, who sponsors the national program.
The program recognizes and rewards outstanding K-12 educators and school district employees from around the country who make a positive difference in the lives of students.
Scott was nominated by colleague Trish Engelmeier, according to the award committee, who said Scott shows constant support for her students by taking an active leadership role.
"Mrs. Scott is genuinely devoted to her students and making our school a better place," said Engelmeier. "She is an invaluable asset to our community."
Among Scott's leadership roles is being a Positive Behavior Support, or PBS, coach, which is a program based out of the University of South Florida and implemented in most Hernando County schools. Scott also organizes Spirit Week and has spearheaded other positive behavior initiatives.
"It's a way of helping children to focus on good behavior, and hopefully motivate children to do the right thing," Scott said. "We have several different things we do here to provide an atmosphere and culture of positive behavior and academics."
That includes planning activities for students who complete the first nine weeks of school without any disciplinary office referrals. Each grade level is honored, Scott said.
For example, Scott helped serve ice cream for more than 120 students at an ice cream social Wednesday and about 200 students each on Thursday and Friday.
"I've been at West Hernando for 29 years, and it's the first job I took right out of college," Scott said. "I'm completely blessed to work at this school with people like family to me, and they help me to be the best I can be. At least I try.
"I credit the staff I work with because some of us have been co-workers 20 years," Scott added. "I have great students and just a wonderful, loving staff."
Nominees for the LifeChanger of the Year award are chosen based on a proven ability to make a beneficial difference in the lives of students, an ability to positively add to the development of the school's atmosphere, demonstrated leadership in his or her activities at the school or district, a proven record of excellent performance at the professional level and a commitment to producing a nurturing atmosphere.