Sussex Central High School educator nominated for national LifeChanger Award

GEORGETOWN – Sussex Central High School chemistry and physics teacher Kristen Ables has been nominated for the 2017-18 national LifeChanger of the Year award.

Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, LifeChanger of the Year recognizes and rewards the very best K-12 educators and school district employees across the United States who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.

Nominated by a family member, Joan DeMilio, Ms. Ables has served as science department chair since 2002 and organizes every aspect of the science department. This includes ordering all supplies for the department and running department meetings.

Her position of prom coordinator has also enabled her to be personally involved with students’ lives.

In 2015, a student wanted to go to her senior prom, but was struggling with financial challenges. Ms. Ables asked a former student for any gowns to lend to this student in need. She also enlisted students from the beauty academy to come in and help other students with makeup and hair, free of charge, and bought the student a wrist corsage to match her dress.

With Ms. Ables’ help, this student had a great senior prom.

Ms. Ables has been a student council advisor since 2015 and advises the executive board of student council in events throughout the school year, including homecoming festivities, a community food drive and the Giving Tree.

Last year, Ms. Ables joined forces with a special education teacher from a special needs school in the district. She partnered regular education students with special education students. Together, they participated in a bowl-a-thon at the local bowling alley. The experience was both fulfilling and humbling for everyone.

“She loves her job and working daily with her students,” said Ms. DeMilio. “She always says that every day is different, exciting, and rewarding. As a young girl, she always wanted to be a teacher like her grandmother. To see her fulfill her dreams and being so wonderful at her job is truly an inspiration.”

Each school year, LifeChanger of the Year receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Seventeen individual LifeChanger of the Year awards will be given during the 2017-2018 school year:

  • One grand prize winner; $10,000 to be shared with their school/district.
  • Four grand prize finalists; $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.
  • 10 LifeChanger Award Winners; $3,000 to be shared with their school/district.
  • One Spirit Award Winner; given to the nominee whose community demonstrates the most support for their nomination. The winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.
  • One Spotlight Award Winner; given to a nominee in a specific discipline each year. For 2017-18, the award was given to Debra Santiago, who works as a secretary and bookkeeper in Orlando, FL. She received $5,000 to share with her school, Timber Lakes Elementary School.

Winners are announced at surprise award ceremonies at their schools. Grand prize finalists will also be honored at a national awards ceremony in spring 2018 in Bermuda, where the grand prize winner will be revealed.

Winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals. Nominees must be K-12 teachers or school district employees. To be considered for an award, nominees must:

  • Make a positive impact in the lives of students
  • Enhance their school or district’s atmosphere, culture and pride
  • Demonstrate exemplary leadership at the school and/or district level
  • Possess a proven record of professional excellence
  • Show commitment to building a nurturing environment that supports learning
  • Adhere to the highest moral and ethical standards

To view Ms. Ables’ LifeChanger of the Year nominee profile, or to nominate someone from your school community, visit


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