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Counselor nominated for national LifeChanger award

Kristina Younkman, Garden City Achieve counselor, has been nominated for the 2022-2023 national LifeChanger of the Year award.

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.

Younkman was nominated by Glenda Gibson, Special Education teacher at Garden City Achieve, the alternative high school in Garden City, which provides instruction for students from ninth rough 12th grades. The facility also houses the district’s Therapeutic Education Program and the Virtual Academy.

“I think Kristina is the very definition of a ‘LifeChanger,’” explains Gibson. “She is always working hard to make sure every student is included and has opportunities to thrive in our school. 

“We work with extremely at-risk students, and she has gone above and beyond to find ways to provide extra food, toiletries, and opportunities that can level the playing field for these students. She has put numerous hours into fighting for and creating alternative curriculum that will better serve the life needs of our students, as well.  She is always here working early and late to provide our students with a safe space to grow and learn, and they love her for it!”

Younkman has been in the district for 13 years.  This is her fourth year as counselor at Garden City Achieve.

Each school year, the LifeChanger of the Year program receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Winners are announced via surprise award ceremonies held at their schools.

Winners will be chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals. Nominees must be school district 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

To view Kristina Younkman’s LifeChanger of the Year nominee profile, visit