A pair of retiring educators is receiving a going-away present.

Cathy and Jeff Parrott have been nominated for the 2020-21 Lifechanger of the Year Capstone Award, a national accolade reserved for retiring teachers and other school staff. The two have been in education for 50 years combined.

The nonprofit National Life Group Foundation recognizes outstanding educators from around the country with the Lifechanger of the Year awards. The organization has a set of prizes for active teachers, but it also gives away the Capstone Award to honor a lifetime dedicated to education.

Nominees must be K-12 educators or school district employees. According to the foundation’s website, they must show that they “make a positive impact in the lives of students and enhance their school or district’s atmosphere, culture and pride,” among other qualities.

Colleagues from within Teton County School District No. 1 nominated the Parrotts for the award. Jackson Hole Middle School Principal Matt Hoelscher nominated Cathy Parrott, who taught sixth-grade social studies.

“Even after 25 years in education, her teaching is always fresh, innovative, and above all, helps her connect with students,” a press release about the nomination said. “Cathy never hesitates to step up to help improve the school community.”

Jeff Parrott’s nominator asked to remain anonymous, but Parrott’s educational resume speaks for itself. He worked for decades as a teacher, coach and administrator before moving on to the district’s transportation department and driving a bus for the past four years.

“He is an absolute asset and will leave a huge hole when he leaves,” his nominator said, according to the release. “He will be missed, but our department is very grateful for the time we have had with him. Our staff, students, district, and community are much better off because of Jeff’s legacy.”

The Parrotts are not the first Teton County educators to be nominated for the Lifechanger awards. Jackson Hole High School Registrar Mary Tisi and Food Services Director Wes Clarke were up for the awards last year.

The winner of the Capstone Award receives $3,000 to be shared with their school district. The nomination deadline for the awards is Dec. 31. Winners will be announced next year.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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