Carlisle’s Jonathan Buffalo has been nominated for the 2017-18 national LifeChanger of the Year award.


Buffalo, girls basketball coach and physical education teacher for grades 7-12, was nominated by a colleague who asked to remain anonymous.


“In the years I’ve known Coach Buffalo, I’ve witnessed him building his athletes and students up,” the nominator wrote. “He motivates them in a positive way, trying to help them make good decisions both on and off of the court. Coach Buffalo makes sound decisions, and he is careful to weigh the impact of his decisions on all stakeholders.”


According to a press release, LifeChanger of the Year, sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, “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.”


Buffalo said he was honored to be one of only two nominees from Arkansas.


“It’s great to have the respect of my colleagues and the people in the community to be nominated for such an important award,” he said. “Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good, but it does feel good to be recognized. I’m not one to take individual credit. Everything we do around there is a team effort.


“It just shows the respect I have for my peers and that we have for each other.”


Brad Horn, CHS principal and athletic director, said the nomination was appropriate.


“The guy works his tail off,” Horn said of Buffalo. “In the five years I’ve been there, anything I need, he’s there in a heartbeat, from filling in, driving a bus, covering duty, going the extra mile helping people out. Anything that’s needed, he’s willing to step up.”


The nomination continued: “Coach Buffalo maintains a positive attitude and demeanor, even during difficult times. He maintains a structured and disciplined classroom and team.”


Horn said as part of the school’s leadership team, Buffalo gives input academically as well.


“I wouldn’t trade him,” Horn said.


According to the release, 17 LifeChanger of the Year awards will be given among the hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia: one Grand Prize winner, four Grand Prize finalists, 10 LifeChanger Award winners, one Spirit Award winner and one Spotlight Award winner. Cash prizes to be shared with the school district range from $3,000 to $10,000.


Winners will be chosen by a selection committee comprising former winners and education professionals. According to the release, several criteria are required for nominees 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


Winners are announced via surprise award ceremonies at their schools. The grand prize finalists will also be honored at a national awards ceremony in spring 2018 in Bermuda, where the Grand Prize winner will be revealed.