FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
75 year old Betty Chandler from Eccleston Elementary School in Orlando, FL, earns top award from national K-12 recognition and rewards program
Montpelier, Vermont, May 5, 2014 – National Life Group today announced that Betty Chandler, a parent resource liaison at Eccleston Elementary school in Orlando, FL, has been selected as the Grand Prize Winner for its national 2013-14 LifeChanger of the Year award.
Chandler, 75, who has worked for Orange County Public Schools for nearly 55 years, was selected out of more than 435 teachers, administrators and school district employees from all 50 states and the District of Columbia who were nominated for the award.
LifeChanger of the Year is an annual program that recognizes and rewards outstanding K-12 educators and school district employees who make a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.
“Betty Chandler’s sustained commitment to helping students and families in need, over a very long and productive career in public school education, is simply incredible,” said Mehran Assadi, President and CEO, National Life Group. “The tremendous outpouring of support for Betty’s nomination from administrators, colleagues and students is a great testament to the positive impact she has had on the Orange County Public Schools community for more than half a century.”
Chandler’s first involvement with OCPS began as an intern when she was a student at Florida A&M University in the late 1950’s. She helped establish libraries at schools within the district, some of which were segregated at the time. In 1974, she rose to become Eccleston’s school librarian and has worked at the school ever since. As a strong advocate for students and families in need, she has established partnerships with many community agencies in order to provide access to much-needed resources. She coordinates the school’s ‘Blessings in a Backpack’ program and also works with the Boys and Girls Club to develop parenting programs. Her efforts help ensure that at-risk students are prepared to succeed in the classroom and the community.
“Mrs. Chandler has been at Eccleston Elementary School for the past 42 years. She is the longest-serving employee in Orange County Public Schools,” said Tracy Webley, principal at Eccleston Elementary School. “We are a Title One school and Betty works endless hours making sure our children have food, shoes and clothes. She works with our parents and grandparents on parenting skills, helping them fill out applications, finding resources, and listening when they just need a friend.”
As the National Grand Prize Winner, Chandler receives a $10,000 cash award, which is split between a $5,000 individual award and a matching $5,000 donation to Eccleston Elementary School.
In addition to Chandler, individuals from nine other school districts around the country received LifeChanger of the Year awards:
First Runner-Up ($7,000 cash award split between the individual and the district)
Dr. Marty Crawford, Superintendent
West Independent School District
Second Runner-Up ($5,000 cash award split between the individual and the school)
William Blake, Assistant Principal
Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School
Upper Marlboro, MD
LifeChangers ($3,000 cash award split between the individual and the school)
Renee Banner, Administrative Assistant
Avery County Schools
Patrick Dempsey, Eighth Grade Science Teacher
Hixson Middle School
Webster Groves, MO
Judd Levine, Special Educator
U-32 High School
East Montpelier, VT
Kevin Nawracaj, Security Guard
West Leyden High School
Dan Taguchi, Director of Instrumental Music
Hale Charter Academy
Woodland Hills, CA
Sureka Taylor, Seventh Grade Science Teacher
The Champion School
Stone Mountain, GA
Dr. Eva White, Academic Manager
Clark County School District
Las Vegas, NV
LifeChanger of the Year award winners are selected based on the following criteria:
- 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
- A leader in his or her activities at the school and/or district level
- A proven record of excellent performance at the professional level
- A commitment to producing a nurturing atmosphere
Winners are chosen by a National Life Group selection committee that includes previous LifeChanger winners, teachers and school district staff. Nominations are submitted by students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Nominees must be full-time K-12 educators, teachers, principals, or any member of the school’s staff who makes a positive difference in the lives of students.
“Betty’s commitment to the children and families at our school is why she will never retire,” said Webley. “Ms. Chandler knows no stranger. She is the heart of our school, greeting you at the door with a welcome hug.”
For more information on Betty Chandler, including a video profile, visit:
To learn more about the 2013-14 LifeChanger award winners and nominees, visit:
National Life Group® is a trade name of National Life Insurance Company, Montpelier, VT, Life Insurance Company of the Southwest (LSW), Addison, TX, and their affiliates. LSW is not an authorized insurer in New York and does not conduct insurance business in New York. Each company of the National Life Group is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations.