Individuals who are involved in special education often are overlooked by the general public. Fortunately, they often are rewarded for their accomplishments in the field with awards and honors from their peers. The following list of teachers, parents and professors all recently were rewarded for their work with special-needs people, mostly children. You might be amazed, if you research further, by how much music has become part of the educational process, especially for special-needs children.
The following individuals are listed in no particular order, as we have not ranked these individuals by accomplishments.
- Kim Mercer: Mercer, a 1986 graduate of Southwestern College, has provided social work services to Winfield youth and families since 1986. She is the school social work program coordinator for USD 465. She offers direct social work services at Lowell Elementary and Country View Elementary as well as being involved in district activities and was the recipient of the 2010 2010 Marilyn McNeish Special Education award.
- Dr. David Lazerson: Dr. Lazerson is a special education and music director, pre-kindergarten – 22 years, The Quest Center, Hollywood, Florida. David uses individualized instruction, hands-on materials, and a multi-modality approach, along with adaptive technology and the motivational power of music in his classroom. He has won numerous awards, dating back to 1981 when he was Teacher of the Year, Buffalo, New York Public Schools.
- Deanne Perkins: Perkins is a teacher and serves as chair of the Department of Special Education at Kingsley Junior High in Normal. She is a National Board certified teacher and is an enthusiastic supporter of the vital partnerships — fieldwork and student teaching — between Illinois State’s Department of Special Education and colleagues in her department.
- Carolyn Reid Bond: Bond received her BA in special education in 1963 at the University of Kentucky. She is a former first lady of the state of Missouri who led a multi-million dollar campaign to restore the Missouri Governor’s mansion in the early 1980’s. Bond has remained active in support of special education. In 1973, she initiated and organized a day for persons with disabilities at the Missouri State Fair, an event that continues to this day. She was named to the UK Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002.
- Larry Statler: Larry helped create the Discovery program that is a model of successful collaboration between special and general educators. The program enables students of all ability levels to work in an environment designed to empower every child to achieve his or her maximum potential while fostering self-esteem and an understanding and acceptance of individual differences. He has received several awards, among them the California Council Of Administrators Of Special Education Award and Walt Disney’s American Teacher Award.
- Liza Lee, EdD: Lee is an associate professor in the department of early childhood development and education at Chaoyang University of Technology in Taichung, Taiwan. Dr. Lee conducts research in both early childhood music education and music therapy in the treatment of special needs children. She currently is conducting workshops with early education and special needs teachers in the Hudson Valley, teaching SUNY Ulster students and visiting agencies that work with children.
- Alice-Ann Darrow: Alice-Ann Darrow, Irvin Cooper Professor of Music Therapy and Music Education, came to Florida State University in 2003 from The University of Kansas. She received her BM, BME, MM, and PhD degrees at Florida State University, and taught in music programs for students with and without disabilities in Miami, Florida before going to the University of Kansas. She has been the recipient of over twenty federal, university, or corporate grants, and published numerous monographs, research articles, and book chapters.
- Lynn and Doug Fuchs: The Fuchs have developed an early screening process, which screens all children using a host of standardized tests, reading and math assessments and oral skills to determine their risk of learning disabilities. They found 20 percent of children are at risk for severe difficulties, but all but five percent of these respond to their brand of intensive tutoring and return to typical classrooms. Their approach has reduced the number of kids enrolled in costly special needs classes.
- Mary Beth Bruder: Dr. Bruder is professor of pediatrics and director of the University of Connecticut A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service. She was the 2009 recipient of the Mary McEvoy Service to the Field Award from the Division for Early Childhood, part of the Council for Exceptional Children, in Missoula, Montana. The Division for Early Childhood recognized her contributions to the fields of early intervention and early childhood special education.
- Judith J. Carta, PhD: Judith J. Carta, Ph.D., is director of early childhood research at the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, a Senior Scientist in the Institute for Life Span Studies, and Professor of Special Education at the University of Kansas. Winner of several awards, she also is responsible for over 100 publications in peer- reviewed journals. She is currently the Co-Director of the IES-funded Center for Response to lntervention in Early Childhood.
- Joan Smith and Dawn Fabbro: Although not educators, these mothers of Down’s Syndrome adult children blazed a path for inclusive education for children with special needs in the Montclair Public School System, New Jersey. With perseverance, the support they received from other parents of children with disabilities and the support of some teachers and administrators, they accomplished their goal of inclusive education for their children at a time when it was not fashionable.
- Deborah L. Voltz: Voltz is the first black dean in University of Alabama’s history to head the university’s School of Education. A Birmingham native who has taught at UAB since 2003, Voltz was, previously, a Birmingham public schools teacher. She will also continue in her position as the director of UAB’s Center for Urban Education. Voltz received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education at the National College of Education in Evanston, Ill., her master’s degree in education at UAB and her doctorate of education from the University of Alabama.
- James McLeskey: A lifetime of research productivity, masterly teaching and inspirational leadership has earned UF special education professor James McLeskey the prestigious 2010 TED/Merrill Award for Excellence in Teacher Education, awarded by the Council for Exceptional Children. McLeskey, director of the College of Education’s new Center for Disability Policy and Practice, was the college’s chairman of special education for 10 years through 2008.
- Linda Mason: Mason is associate professor of special education at Penn State’s College of Education, and was recently named the recipient of the Distinguished Early Career Research Award for the Council of Exceptional Children. This award recognizes Linda’s research in effective writing instruction for students with disabilities.
- Stephanie Al Otaiba: Al Otaiba is an associate professor in the Florida State University School of Teacher Education and researcher with the university’s Florida Center for Reading Research. She is the 2010 recipient of the Distinguished Early Career Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children Division for Research. Al Otaiba’s research relates to the prevention of early reading difficulties through early literacy intervention.
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