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Pam Erwin gets to make a difference in the lives of children every day.

As the Learning Difference Coordinator at Shannon Forest Christian School, Erwin works to help children overcome challenges and reach their potential. She started teaching in 1978 and traveled to different schools working with speech and language pathology needs. After staying at home when her own children were young, she came to Shannon Forest in 1994.

“We really enjoy our students,” she said. “With early intervention, I’ve seen the benefits. It makes a huge difference.”

Students work with a tutor individually through fifth grade, in groups in middle school and on a case-by-case basis in high school.

“The learning difference doesn’t go away,” Erwin said. “I’m passionate about what I do. These kids are bright. They can learn.”

Erwin’s focus is always on what her students can accomplish, even if they need a different approach to get there.

“If I can help them reach their maximum potential, it is so worth doing what I do,” Erwin said.

Erwin said working with and for the students’ goals is a team effort, with the students, faculty, administration and the parents working together.

“We partner with the home,” she said. “I tell them often, I am the mama at school. If I see something’s not right, I am going to go to bat for them. I’m their cheerleader.”

Erwin is the mother of two adult children and she served as a foster parent during the time when she was a stay-at-home mother. Her dedication to improving the lives of young people continues. Erwin said small successes reap big rewards.

“It’s a safe place – a safety net,” she said. “Their confidence grows. Once they see with just me, one-on-one, that they can do this, it carries over to the classroom.”

Sometimes, part of Erwin’s work is knowing when to help a student over an educational hurdle by finding a new path. If something isn’t working well, she tries to find what will make a difference.

“I have them in 45-minute sessions, but plans change,” she said. “You have to be flexible. We do whatever it takes to help them get it.”

Nomination excerpt

“Pam, quite simply, is a life changer. She is literally changing the lives of her students with special needs. She is their advocate, their confidant and their biggest cheerleader. She has worked with my son, who has ADHD and dyslexia, for three years. Andrew has drastically improved in school under her guidance.”

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