Great teachers change lives, and in so doing, they change our world.

We all have certain teachers we remember. If we're lucky, we have a teacher who we can honestly say changed our lives. For me, that was Mrs. Koss, my third-grade teacher. 

It's hard to overstate the impact Mrs. Koss had on me. She saw potential worth nurturing -- a young girl who needed encouragement, mentorship, and someone to believe in her. When Mrs. Koss saw that young girl struggling, she reached out, and together with my principal, Mrs. Baines, they removed roadblocks to get me back to where I thrived, school. These educators changed the trajectory of my life, and I will be forever grateful. 

Other educators supported me along the way, but it was Mrs. Koss who empowered me and ignited my determination to pursue opportunities my parents could not have envisioned.

I was so excited to get a note from Mrs. Koss earlier this year, wishing me luck in this election and expressing confidence that I will make a "great difference for Tustin children." All these years later, her encouragement continues to shape my life. What a gift!

Today ends Teacher Appreciation Week. All across the nation, families have used this annual week to acknowledge our teachers with drive-by parades, thank you cards, yard signs, and many virtual tokens of appreciation. We thank them because there are countless children whose lives may not have been successful if it wasn't for a teacher, bringing them through the gateway of education. 

Join me in thanking the amazing teachers of TUSD.  Just like Mrs. Koss, they are changing lives every day.

All my Best,
Allyson Damikolas

P.S. Happy Mother's Day to everyone tomorrow when we celebrate our children's  first  teachers. I hope you will be showered with love, gratitude, and a good dose of pampering!