Sussex Central High School chemistry and physics teacher Kristen Ables was nominated for the 2017-18 national LifeChanger of the Year award.

Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, LifeChanger of the Year recognizes and rewards the K-12 educators and school district employees across the U.S. making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.

Ables was nominated by a family member, Joan DeMilio. She has served as science department chair since 2002 and organizes every aspect of the science department. This includes ordering supplies for the department and running the department meetings. Her position of prom coordinator also enabled her to be involved with students’ lives.

In 2015, she had a student who wanted to go to her senior prom, but had financial troubles. Ables asked a former student for any gowns to lend to this student in need. She also enlisted students from the beauty academy to come in and help other students with makeup and hair, free of charge. She bought the student a wrist corsage to match her dress.

Ables has been a student council adviser since 2015. In 2017, Ables joined forces with a special education teacher from a special needs school in the district. She partnered regular education students with special education students. They participated in a bowl-a-thon at the local bowling alley.

“She loves her job and working daily with her students,” said DeMilio. “She always says that every day is different, exciting and rewarding. As a young girl, she always wanted to be a teacher like her grandmother. To see her fulfill her dreams and being so wonderful at her job is truly an inspiration.”