White Pine High School counselor Steffani Thompson has been nominated for the 2021-2022 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. 

Thompson was nominated by an anonymous colleague, for not only being an exemplary counselor, but also a teacher and strong leader in the district. As a counselor, Thompson considers the needs of each and every student, whether it’s academic, social-emotional, career, or home support. She has complete trust of both students and parents to advise them on what will be best (not easiest) for their futures. 

At the district level, Thompson is the leader of the Student Support Team. This team (consisting of the district’s counselors, social workers, and administrators), focuses on regularly reviewing Tier 1, 2, and 3 SEL practices and interventions. The team developed the district’s World Class Relationships Framework, which provides a comprehensive and detailed vision of how to positively shape the affective environment of the schools. The team also reviews challenging cases in order to collaborate around the most appropriate responses. 

She also teaches Senior Achievement, which is a course designed to help students transition from high school to post-secondary success. They learn to prepare taxes, write resumes, complete job applications, interview, problem-solve, resolve conflict and more. At the end of the course, they prepare and deliver a presentation to their parents, a faculty member, a business representative, and a community member. Students consistently rank this course as one of their favorites. 

“As a professional, Mrs. Thompson is exemplary,” said her colleague. “She embodies the district’s values of “being truthful but kind,” “thinking win-win,” “showing empathy through action,” “seeking to understand,” and more. She arrives early and stays late. Mrs. Thompson is among the first to volunteer for the greater good. She is trusted and respected by everyone.”