Jeannette E. Fleischner Career Leadership Award Winners

The Jeannette E. Fleischner Career Leadership Award honors those who have advanced the field of learning disabilities through direct services, policy development, community service, research or organizational leadership throughout their career. Up to three awards may be given annually to recognize a variety of contributions. The award consists of (a) a $500 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 for this award are due 15 October of each year.

Mary Brownell — 2017

Mary Brownell, Ph.D., is a professor in the College of Education at the University of Florida who has influenced policies and practices of educator preparation, professional development, and doctoral scholarship both locally and globally.

Dr. Brownell has outstanding work ethic and passion for students with LD.  She has been endowed professorships, directed multple OSEP funded natioanl centers on special education personnel policies and proactice (COPPSE, NCIPP, CEEDAR), and has led efforts that have generated more than $65 million in grant funding.  Dr. Brownell frequently publishes in top journals on the topic of LD and presents at national and international conferences for teachers, administrators, policymakers, and researchers.

Further, Dr. Brownell is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of special education teacher educators and researchers as evidenced by her two decades of mentorship of junior faculty at the University of Florida and other institutions.  She has designed and directed multiple research and training projects that have provided funding for over 50 Ph.D. students in Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction, School Psychology, and Educational Psychology.  Dr. Brownell is passionate about mentoring others to her own high standards, and has attracted many young scholars to join her training and research projects.  A former student described Dr. Brownell as embodying “respect for the doctoral students, ethics as a researcher, rigor in the research process, and an appreciation for the impact and importance of the research she conducts.”

Joanna Williams–2016

Joanna Williams, PhD.,is Professor Emerita of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interest centers on reading instruction for struggling students, especially those with learning disabilities. She has developed and evaluated, in random controlled trials, a decoding intervention that emphasizes phonemic awareness training as well as interventions designed to improve the comprehension of narrative and informational text via instruction on text structure. She was an Editor of the Journal of Educational Psychology and the founding editor of Scientific Studies on Reading.

Rollanda O’Connor–2015

Rollanda O’Connor, Ph.D., is a Professor and Eady/Hendrick Chair in Learning Disabilities at the Graduate School of Education at the University of California at Riverside. She has worked to advance the field of learning disabilities as a special education teacher, scholar, professor. As a scholar, she conducted ground breaking work in: Early identification of reading disabilities, early intervention, phonological awareness instruction, reading instruction, response to intervention, and reading fluency. As a professor, she has prepared teachers to serve children with learning disabilities, guided and mentored graduate students in Ph.D programs, and worked to create a new generation of scholars. As a leader in the field, Randi has served as an officer in the AERA special education SIG and as president of DLD.  She has also developed widely used instructional programs and practitioner texts on teaching reading to struggling students.

Chris Espin–2014

Christine EspinPh.D. is a Professor at Leiden University in the department of Education and Child Studies / Special Education, Learning disabilities (LD). Prior to her appointment at Leiden, Christine was a Professor at the University of Minnesota in the department of Educational Psychology / Special Education. Christine’s research interests include examining teachers’ use of progress data for decision-making; developing Curriculum-based Measures (CBM) to monitor progress of secondary-school students with LD in reading, writing, and content-area learning; developing reading and reading comprehension interventions for elementary- and secondary-school students with LD; and examining the ability of college-age students with disabilities to learn from lectures. 

Charles Hughes–2014

Charlie HughesPh.D.,i s professor of special education at Penn State University and Adjunct Senior Scientist at the University of Kansas Center for Research.  He has worked in special education since 1971 working in schools for 12 years before moving to higher education. His research centers on developing, validating, and implementing instructional approaches designed to help students with learning and behavior problems succeed in school settings.  He has published over 100 articles, books, and book chapters and made over 300 presentations in over 30 states and 10 countries.

Barbara Bateman–2013

Barbara Bateman, PhD, JD
Dr. Barbara Bateman’s passion for excellence, vigilance for what is best for children, and unfailing intellectual integrity highlight an exemplary lifetime of achievement in the field of special education. Across five decades, Dr. Bateman’s career has enhanced our profession in through the development of new concepts, publications, and leadership. She is Professor emerita at the University of Oregon and the author of over 110 publications, including several seminal works related to special education and the law. 

Naomi Zigmond–2013

Naomi Zigmond has been an active special education researcher and teacher for nearly 50 years; her focus has been on the organization of special education services for students with disabilities in elementary and secondary schools and the impact of program organization on student achievement. Her work has focused on the various roles of the special education teacher (consultant, co-teacher, resource teacher, self contained class teacher, etc.) and how best to improve academic and social outcomes for students with disabilities in public schools.  For the last decade, Dr. Zigmond has also led a team of researchers and practitioners in the development, production, distribution, scoring, reporting, and validation of the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment, the statewide alternate assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Dr. Zigmond has published many articles, book chapters, and books. She spent 5 years as Editor of Exceptional Children. In 1997, Dr. Zigmond received the Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children in recognition of research that has contributed significantly to the body of knowledge about the education of exceptional children and youth. In 2003, her scholarly work was recognized in the inaugural James M. Kauffman Publication Award in Special Education, And, in 2008 she was promoted to the rank of Distinguished Professor of Education, the first faculty member in the 100-year history of the University of Pittsburgh, School of Education to achieve this rank.Naomi Zigmond of the University of Pittsburgh (emerita).

Jim Chalfant–2013

James Chalfant, Professor Emeritus, University of Arizona. In 1958 Jim organized the first joint agreement SPED program for 10 rural school districts in Illinois. In 1964 he joined the U.S. Office of Education to assist in implementing the first federal granting programs for funding special education research, personnel preparation, and state planning. Jim headed three national task forces for NIH and OSEP and prepared monographs addressing LD research and policy issues for identifying and serving LD students. He createdand researched innovative assessment-intervention procedures for children with cognitive learning and language disorders; learned helplessness; and visual impairment. Jim also pioneered building based teams (Teacher Assistance Teams). His work resulted in 71 publications. He prepared master LD teachers and doctoral administrators for leadership positions in local, state, and federal education agencies. Jim assisted 39 states and 12 countries institute and evaluate cutting-edge general and special education programs.

Marjorie Montague–2012

Marjorie Montague of the University of Miami (deceased).

Sharon Vaughn—2011

University of Texas Professor Sharon R. Vaughn received the Jeannette E. Fleischner Award for Outstanding Contributions to the field of Learning Disabilities at the annual convention of the Council for Exceptional Children in Washington, DC, 26 April 2011. The Fleischner Award, presented by the Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD) of the Council for Exceptional Children, honors those who advance the field through a combination of direct services, policy development, community service, research and organizational leadership.

“Shari Vaughn fits our idea of a recipient of the Fleischner award to a T,” said Michael Gerber, President of DLD. “Not only has she served as a president of the organization and an editor of our journal, but she’s an eminent researcher who has addressed some of our discipline’s most thorny issues.”

Asha Jitendra — 2018

Asha K. Jitendra is a Professor and Peloy Chair in Learning Disabilities in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside.  She previously served as Rodney Wallace Professor for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at the University of Minnesota for 10 years and on the faculty of Lehigh University for 14 years.  Jitendra is the recipient of the Special Education Research SIG’s Distinguished Researcher Award from the American Educational Research Association; the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Oregon; the Excellence in Research Award and the President’s Distinguished Faculty Mentor Recognition from the University of Minnesota.  She is a Research Fellow of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities.  She has recieved several grants, totaling approximately $9 million, from federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support her scholarship.  Her scholarly contributions include over 100 publications in high impact outlets (e.g., Exceptional Children, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Remedial and Special Education, Elementary School Journal, Journal of educational Psychology, Journal of School Psychology, Learning and Instruction, Journal of Research on Educational Effectivness).  She has published two research-based mathematics curricula and the IES Practice Guide, Imporving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 through 8.

Jitendra has been the associate editor of the Journal of Learning Disabilities.  Her research focuses on instructinoal design, specifically mathematics problem solving and reading interventions for students with learning disabilities; assessment; and textbook analysis.  Jitendra is best known for her research on schema-based instruction (SBI) for solving word problems.  Specifically, her work on SBI has evolved over the last 25 years to incorporate curriculum design theory and combine best practices in special education and contemporary mathematics education to improve mathematics outcomes for a wide range of learners (e.g., students with learning disabilities, students at risk and not at risk for learning difficulties).