Published in the Osceola News-Gazette- Around Osceola on Friday, Janurary 22, 2016.
Jennifer Muzika, math coach at Westside K-8 School, has been nominated for the 2015-16 national LifeChanger of the Year award.
Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, the LifeChanger of the Year program recognizes and rewards the very best K-12 public and private school educators and employees across the United States who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.
Muzika was nominated by colleague Marnie Morse.
According to a press release, Muzika’s love for math inspires both students and teachers. When a fourth grade teacher approached Muzika for help, she engaged students with discussion-based lectures that broke down concepts and asked students to think critically about their answers. As the class began liking math more and more, Muzika continued to support the teacher’s successes and provide pointers about keeping math fun and interesting.
“She arrives to work every day ready to help,” said Morse. “After school, Muzika often has dinner with friends who need her support, providing a shoulder to cry on or a friend to laugh with.”
Muzika not only helps teachers with challenges in the classroom, but also serves as their confidante and champion. Although she has experienced considerable hardship herself, Muzika is always willing to listen to others and offer thoughtful advice, the press release stated.
Each school year, the LifeChanger of the Year program receives hundreds of nominations. For 2015-16, a total of 16 winners will be chosen by the selection committee to receive cash awards that are split between the individual winner and their school. The national Grand Prize award is $10,000. The top five winners will also be honored at a national awards ceremony.
Nominees must be full-time school employees. 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.
• Is involved in leadership activities at the school and/or community level.
• A demonstrative record of excellent performance at the professional level.
• A commitment to producing a nurturing atmosphere.
• Adherence to high moral and ethical standards.
Winners will be announced in spring 2016.
This year, a new prize, called the “LifeChanger Spirit Award,” will be given to the nominee whose community demonstrates the most support for his or her nomination. Support can be demonstrated through positive comments on the nominee’s profile page, social media posts, and school and community recognition activities. A resource page with ideas for ways to celebrate nominees can be found athttp://lifechangeroftheyearnominees.com/showspirit/.
To view Ms. Muzika’s LifeChanger of the Year nominee profile, or to nominate someone from your school community, visit