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Wagner secretary nominated for national LifeChanger of the Year award

The city of Wagner's water tower. (Daily Republic file photo)

WAGNER—A Wagner School District employee is gaining recognition as a nominee for the national LifeChanger of the Year award.

Marilyn Zylstra, a 50-plus year employee of the Wagner district, was recently named one of the nominees for the 2017-18 award, which honors a kindergarten through 12th-grade school employee who makes a "difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership," according to a press release.

Zylstra is the first- through- fourth-grade secretary in Wagner, and students are often greeted with her positive reinforcement at the beginning and end of each school day, the press release states. She also serves as a trusted colleague for anyone seeking advice.

"I have worked with her as a teacher, parent and principal, and I have watched her interact with the students," said the unidentified person who nominated Zylstra. "She knows every student by name, and they truly trust and love her."

The National Life Group Foundation, which sponsors the award, will grant one grand prize winner $10,000 to be shared with their school. Sixteen smaller awards will also be distributed.

In April 2016, Mitchell School District's Shane Thill won the grand prize, chosen out of a pool of more than 600 candidates from 50 states and the District of Columbia.