Outstanding Educator of the Year Award Winners

Outstanding Educator-of-the-Year Awards are designed to recognize outstanding professionals who serve students with learning disabilities. Nominees may be special educators, general educators, administrators, or other educators who have spent at least 5 years serving students with learning disabilities at any grade level. The award consists of, (a) a $200 stipend, (b) up to $500 in travel expenses for presentation of the award at the DLD business meeting, held during CEC’s annual convention, and (c) a commemorative plaque. Nominations are due 15 October annually.

  • Cecilia Hampton: 2017 Outstanding Educator Award

    DLD is proud to name Cecilia Hampton of Metro Nashville Public Schools, Tennessee as the 2017 Outstanding of the Year Award recipient.

    Ms. Hampton has dedicated herself to the special education field for 31 years.  She has taught across settings and service models, always placing students first.  She has used her experiences as a teacher to support novice instructors in the field, serving as a special education coach at all tier levels.  Ms. Hampton supports her students with learning disabilities (as well as other disabilities) through her use of evidence-based practices.  She is dedicated and embodies what it means to be an excellent special educator.

  • Angela Rogers: 2016 Outstanding Educator Award

    Angela Rogers of Columbia Public Schools in Columbia, Missouri

  • Amanda Giorgi: 2015 Outstanding Educator Award Recipient


    Amanda Giorgi, is a special education teacher in the Bristol-Warren Regional Unified School District in Rhode Island where she has worked to successfully implement intensive intervention for students with learning disabilities. She also serves as a leader on her school’s Response to Intervention team, helping to develop staff capacity to support students with severe and persistent learning and behavior challenges. Her colleagues describe her as a collaborative and dedicated team player who has been instrumental in bringing about improvement for all students, including those with disabilities.

  • Frankie Norris: 2013 Outstanding Educator Award

    Frankie Norris from the Birdville Independent School District in Forth Worth, Texas

  • Maria Jurgielewicz: 2011/2012 Outstanding Educator Award

    Maria Jurgielewicz from the Shawnee Mission School District, Shawnee Mission, Kansas

  • Tyson Schoeber: 2010 Outstanding Educator Award Recipient

    Tyson Schoeber, a teacher of students with learning disabilities in the Thrive program at Nootka Elementary in Vancouver, Canada, received DLD's Outstanding Educator Award in October of 2010 in Baltimore (MD, US) at DLD's conference, "Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice." Professor Linda Siegel nominated Mr. Schroeber for the award and her nomination was supported by enthusiastic letters of parents, a classroom volunteer, and his school principal.

    The nominating materials cited Mr. Schoeber's understanding of individual differences, commitment to fostering students’ strengths, efforts to help them improve in their areas of need, and dedication to promoting their self-esteem. His THRIVE program incorporates individualization, technology, Orton-Gillingham methods, and more.

    In notifying him of the award, Kristen McMaster, chair of the Professional Development Standards and Ethics Committee, which oversees the award, wrote, "Mr. Schoeber's efforts exemplify the characteristics of outstanding educators that this award seeks to recognize. The award committee was especially impressed with your use of evidence-based practices and technology to not only improve students’ academic performance, but also to engage them in learning, foster their creativity, and celebrate their accomplishments."

    A parent who wrote a letter of support for his nomination stated, "Not only has he succeeded in helping our daughter make great academic progress but—and perhaps most importantly—he restored our daughter’s self-esteem and understanding of her special learning needs. Mr. Schoeber understands dyslexia and is a caring and empathic teacher and leader, who truly believes in the potential our kids hold waiting to be unleashed."

    Learn more about the THRIVE program

  • Steve Wheless: 2009 DLD Outstanding Educator of the Year

    Steve Wheless
    COOK Education Center
    San Diego, CA 92108


    Steve Wheless and Kristen McMaster, San Diego 2009 DLD conference

    Steve Wheless is recognized for his commitment to providing students with disabilities with effective instruction and positive educational experiences, as well as his leadership and overall professionalism as a teacher and mentor at the COOK Education Center. His nomination letter, submitted by Carol Nielson (Program Coordinator), stated that, “Steve takes action to promote excellence in serving students with Specific Learning Disabilities. He is a hands-on problem-solver, and both students and staff members consult with Steve when they need guidance. He takes initiative to be where he is needed.”