Col. ShinkleCooper High School senior aerospace science instructor Col. Steve Shinkle has been nominated for the 2018-2019 national LifeChanger of the Year award.

Col. Shinkle, who was named AISD’s 2018 Secondary Teacher of the Year by the Abilene Education Foundation, is being recognized as a LifeChanger in his community for being a leader and positive role model. After retiring from 32 years of service in the USAF, he became a teacher in order to share his experiences with young people and help them become better versions of themselves. Beyond teaching the 130 students in Cooper’s Junior ROTC, a leadership and citizenship program, Col. Shinkle strives to create a fun and exciting school environment for all students.

He has created “Thank You Thursday,” where he challenges students to thank others to brighten their day, and he is known to stand in the hallways every flu season to offer hand sanitizer and some kind words. Col. Shinkle also supports many extracurricular activities, teaching students to lead competitive teams and perform military drills through Drill Team, Color Guard, and Mock Armed and Unarmed Regulation Teams.

Col. Shinkle’s nominator wishes to remain anonymous.

“One need not look further than the admiration and respect in his students’ eyes when speaking of their teacher, or the returning students who visit, write, or call him after graduating to thank him and tell him how he’s touched their lives,” his nominator said. “He is an inspiration to his students, his family, his community, and his country. Steve’s greatest pleasure is impacting lives in positive ways, and I’m proud to nominate him for this prestigious recognition.”

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. Each school year, LifeChanger of the Year receives hundreds of nominations from across the nationa. Seventeen individual LifeChanger of the Year awards will be given during the 2018-2019 school year.

Winners are announced via surprise award ceremonies held at their schools. The grand prize finalists will also be honored at a national awards ceremony in April 2019 in Hawaii, where the Grand Prize Winner will be revealed. They 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