Detroit Public Schools Community District Educator Nominated for National LifeChanger of the Year Award

Amy Lazarowicz, a science teacher at Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy, has been nominated for the 2016-17 national LifeChanger of the Year Award.

Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, the national 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.

Lazarowicz was nominated by Detroit Public Schools Community District Interim Superintendent, Alycia Meriweather.

In addition to teaching science, Lazarowicz maintains her school’s outdoor classroom with the help of her students in grades 3-5. They’ve nurtured and studied onions, cabbage and potatoes among other vegetables that are made available to students and neighborhood families. Additionally, Lazarowicz recently led Neinas to win the DPSCD RecycleBowl by collecting more than 300 pounds of recyclables over a four week period.

“Mrs. Lazarowicz is the epitome of what it means to be a community educator and leader for her students,” said Meriweather. “She has the ability to teach lessons that are both rigorous and engaging, with a strong focus on her students becoming stewards of the environment and their community. For example, under her leadership in the Science program, Neinas has completed every project released by the district’s DPSCD Go Green Program. The students are very excited to learn about gardening and recycling through these projects.”

Recently, Lazarowicz and Neinas students presented at the SEMIS Coalition Community Forum at the Eastern Michigan University Student Center. They discussed how they went from working in silos to coming together as a community to create a new vision for their neighborhood space that had been blighted for over 12 years. Through school and community engagement, the group worked to create a vision for their Southwest Detroit Community and turned three burned and empty lots into hope for the future.

“The impact that Mrs. Lazarowicz has had and continues to have on her students, fellow educators and community exemplifies what DPSCD teachers should always be,” said Meriweather. “Dedicated, caring, able to see the bigger picture and doing it all with patience, a love for learning and compassion.”

Each school year, the LifeChanger of the Year program receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For 2016-2017, there will be a total of 15 individual LifeChanger of the Year awards. In addition, a 16th prize, the “National Spirit Award,” is given to the school and nominee whose community demonstrates the most support for their nomination. Each winner will receive a cash award that is split between the individual winner and their school. The national Grand Prize award is $10,000. Winners are announced via surprise award ceremonies held at their schools. The top five winners will also be honored at a national awards ceremony in Naples, Florida. Winners will be announced in Spring 2017.

Winners will be chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals. Nominees must be school district 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

A resource page with ideas for how to celebrate nominees can be found at

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

This entry was posted in Info News Center, News and Press Releases, Student Showcase.