"The greatest public servant in the country" - The Jefferson Award

About Stacey

Stacey Bess - International Keynote SpeakerStacey Bess is an award-winning educator with great insight into the hearts of children in need. She believes that the way to most effectively teach children any subject is to treat them with love and kindness. Audiences around the nation have discovered the treasure of Stacey Bess and the magic she works with children.

Bess began her teaching career at The School With No Name located inside the Salt Lake City shelter where she taught math, reading, and self worth to homeless and transient children.

By the end of her first term she was discouraged and often distraught by the circumstances facing the children who were so easy to love, but whose lives were so insecure. Often she wanted to give up, but decided the children deserved her best efforts.

While working at The School With No Name, Bess chronicled the heart-wrenching stories of her students so she would never forget how far these children had come. After reviewing the stories, she discovered profound life-lessons and eventually published a book, Nobody Don’t Love Nobody.

Stacey Bess Rocking ChairAfter Bess published her first book and gained the support of the Utah community, people began to notice Bess and her unusual success with “hopeless” children. She has won prestigious local and national awards. A highlight came when she was honored with the esteemed National Jefferson Award, along with First Lady Barbara Bush, Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackman and Ambassador Walter Annenberg.

A dynamic keynote speaker, Stacey Bess engages groups large and small, sharing the lessons she learned that changed her life as she taught hundreds of homeless children. Her story continues to change lives as her audiences are inspired to become involved in their communities.

Bess and her husband Greg have been married 43 years and have six children. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Utah. She continues to be a leading advocate in the nation for the educational rights of impoverished children.


Distinguished Awards

Jefferson Awards

  • National Jefferson Award, Greatest Public Service By Someone 35 Years or Younger
    The Jefferson Award winner represents the best of what America has to offer in the fields of Public and Community service. Stacey was presented with this award for her dedication to teaching children.
    (Other Jefferson Award recipients that year were first lady Barbara Bush, Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackman, and Ambassador Walter Annenberg)
  • Dedication To Homeless Youth, Golden Deeds Award
  • Delta Kappa Gamma Educator’s Award
  • Rescuer of Humanity, Project Love
    (Other award recipients included Jimmy Carter)
  • Distinguished Woman of the Year, American Association of University Women

Other Awards

Outstanding Service To Children, Utah Children’s Award, Creative Community Leadership Award, University of Utah Unsung Heroine Award, Ladies’ Auxiliary Veterans of Foreign Wars, Modern Pioneer Award, Geneva Steel Community Hero, Children’s Miracle Network, Huntsman Awards for Excellence nominee


Stacey in the Media

Stacey has made numerous TV appearances and has been the subject of articles in local and national publications. A few of those are listed below.

TV Appearances

  • Good Morning, Texas, Channel WFAA
  • The Phil Donahue Show
  • Dan Rather, CBS evening News

Stacey Bess People Magazine

Magazine Articles

  • “People” Magazine
  • “Salt Lake City Magazine”
  • “Continuum” University of Utah Magazine
  • “NEA Magazine”

Newspaper Articles

  • Boston, MA (National), Christian Science Monitor –
         “A Superstar Helps A ‘Bad Boy’ Shine”
  • Wasatch Parent (Regional), –
         “Teacher Gives Loving Identity to School With No Name”
  • (Regional) Intermountain Catholic –
         “School With No Name Teacher Tells Students Stories In Book”
  • Salt Lake City, UT, Deseret News –
         “Teacher Gives Hugs, Hope to Homeless”
         “Homeless, But Not School-Less”
         “4 Good Months Were A Big Deal to 3 Youngsters”
  • Salt Lake City, UT, The Salt Lake Tribune –
         “S.L. Teacher of Homeless To Receive Jefferson Award”
         “Homeless Children teach the Teacher Lessons of Love”
         “Teacher Leaves a Lasting Mark On S.L. ‘School With No Name’”
  • Park City, UT, The Park Record –
         “Utah Woman Writes Moving Book on Love”
  • Ogden, UT, Standard Examiner –
         “Speaker To Focus On Kids”
         “Teacher For Homeless Children Found Job Wrenching, Crucial”
  • San Francisco, CA, San Francisco Examiner –
         “On the Front Lines – SLC School with No Name”
  • Northern UT, Davis County Clipper –
         “School With No Name Visits Boulton”
  • Seattle, WA, South County Journal –
         “Child’s Prize is Lesson In Love”
Book Stacey

"It was a pleasure for our campus to host the Midwest premier of Beyond the Blackboard. It was an inspirational movie and our community and campus audience were treated to a great evening. Beyond that, Stacey appeared in several campus venues with students and faculty. She is an effective communicator of the values and techniques of great teaching. She has been where the toughest educators labor, and did it with skill and passion. Southern Nazarene University would welcome her again as she shared values of genuine care and concern for students that we try to teach. I highly recommend her to any audience who wants to understand the challenges of education today, and who wants to hear from a person who knows how to get it done, even in the most difficult circumstances." -Southern Nazarene University

"Stacey was phenomenal! I have never seen students so engaged and attentive during an event. She captured their attention and they never let go. She spoke with such poise, passion, and emotion that it was hard not to be intrigued by her journey. The students that had dinner with her were also so excited to meet her and really felt like she was real and laidback—basically, she met them where they are! She was so wonderful that I have recommended her to another friend so I hope they are able to work with her/you!" -Wingate University

"I would personally like to thank you for coming to speak at my school last night. I was truly inspired by your story after recently viewing your movie Beyond the Blackboard and getting to hear you firsthand was a testament that no matter the circumstances one starts out with, there is always a bright light to be illuminated if one is dedicated and passionate enough to make the best out of their situation. I will definitely use your experience as motivation when I have a classroom of my own to let my students know that I have compassion and care for each and every one of them, no matter what background they may come from." -Student, St. John’s University

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