Mike Mentzel Nominated for Life Changer of Year

Michael Mentzel, director of bus transportation at the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, has been nominated for the 2015-2016 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.

Mentzel was nominated by colleague Robin Talarzyk.

Mentzel has the responsibility of making sure the district's more than 23,000 children get to and from school safely every day. His first and primary concern is the safety of the children, the more than 180 bus drivers, the 60 contract drivers who drive exclusively for the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation, the 58 bus attendants, the garage staff and the office staff. He is a manager who cares deeply about his department and shows his appreciation every day. He is always singing a song or has a smile for anyone who comes to see him.

“He will get on the radio to let the drivers know that they are important and doing a great job,” said Talarzyk. “Mentzel has earned the respect of other managers and the superintendent of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation for how well he runs the Office of Transportation.”

By keeping the school buses in good running order and having safe drivers, Mentzel has become a valued member of the community. In addition, he volunteers as a high school baseball coach and mows the grass at a country cemetery.

Each school year, the LifeChanger of the Year program receives hundreds of nominations. For 2015-2016, 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 at http://lifechangeroftheyearnominees.com/showspirit/.

To view Mr. Mentzel’s LifeChanger of the Year nominee profile, or to nominate someone from your school community, visitwww.LifeChangeroftheYear.com.