Two district employees nominated for National LifeChanger of the Year Award

Posted: Thursday, July 19th 2018


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Two San Diego Unified employees, Robbie DePerro and Moises Arellano, have been nominated for the 2018-19 National LifeChanger of the Year award.

DePerro, a physical education teacher at Perry Elementary School, was recognized as a LifeChanger for developing programs that have improved students’ health and wellness. He introduced the Running Club for parents and students to run together before school, as well as “Dance Fitness Fridays,” which encourages parents to participate in dances with their children.

Most recently, DePerro established the Wellness Committee, of which he is the chairperson. He has empowered parents and teachers to work together to refurbish the staff lounge with fresh paint, relaxing chairs, and motivational “wellness” type posters to remind people to eat better.  

DePerro was nominated by his colleague, Gena Britt.

"The term 'LifeChanger' truly belongs to Coach DePerro," Britt said. "He cares about the health and well-being of students, staff, and parents of the Perry Elementary School community.” 

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.

Arellano, a district police officer, was recognized for going above and beyond to make a difference in students’ lives. He began the True Blue Buddies Program, which connects school police officers with elementary students to create a buddy system. They experience several events together, including back-to-school shopping, family Thanksgiving dinner, and a bike giveaway.

Arellano is now looking to form an Honor Guard of outstanding police officers in the district. The Honor Guard would assist other police departments as requested, and will mentor students in JROTC programs within the district. He is also looking to establish a student explorers program for high school students interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement. The goal is to give students a glimpse of police training, while teaching them related skills – from writing reports to computer work.

Arellano was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

"Officer Arellano is a proven leader in his department," the nominator said. "He takes his position very seriously, and it shows in every interaction with him. I truly believe he should be honored for his daily commitment to students and their families, his dedication to his profession, and his service to our schools."

To view the LifeChanger of the Year nominee profiles, or to nominate someone from your school community, visit www.LifeChangeroftheYear.com. 

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 2018-2019 school year.

Winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals. Nominees must be K-12 teachers or school district employees. A resource page with ideas for how to celebrate nominees can be found at http://lifechangeroftheyear.com/showspirit/.

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