Meet CEC's 2012 Professional Award Recipients
CEC presented the 2012 Professional Awards at its CEC 2012 Convention & Expo in Denver. These recipients represent the highest standards in special education and are to be commended for their devotion to the field and their outstanding contributions to the education of children with exceptionalities.
Louis C. Danielson
American Institute for Research
Originally trained as a teacher, Louis C. Danielson had a career in higher education before joining the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) in 1976. He served in several roles within the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in DOE, including directing the Research to Practice Division. He was responsible for setting priorities for research funding and as such for determining the direction of much of the research and development related to the education of children and youth with disabilities.
Among Danielson’s more notable contributions was his early recognition of the central importance of including all students with disabilities in national, state, and local assessments.
Through his leadership within OSEP, Danielson established several funding priorities focused on students with disabilities and large-scale assessments, including funding the National Center on Educational Outcomes.
As a result of Danielson’s advocacy, and leadership in funding research and development efforts to support implementation, the 1997 amendments to IDEA required states to include students with disabilities in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), with appropriate accommodations when needed.
Another major landmark in the assessment of students with disabilities occurred in 2003 when Congress included provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that actually held states and districts accountable for the performance of students with disabilities. The need for additional research and development and technical assistance to support implementation of the regulations was critical.
“Dr. Danielson provided leadership in designing investments that would help states and districts assess up to one percent of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities based on alternate academic achievement standards and up to two percent of students with disabilities against modified academic achievement standards under NCLB, thus making it possible for states to appropriately assess all students with disabilities, and to be held accountable for their performance,” said Patricia Guard, former deputy director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
Read more about Danielson.
The CEC J. E. Wallace Wallin Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has made continued and sustained contributions to the education of children and youth with exceptionalities.
Hannah F. Ehrli
Pre-K Autism Teacher
Dr. Phillips High School
Hannah F. Ehrli is a National Board Certified teacher who has been teaching in the field of special education for 10 years. She is described by her nominators as a passionate leader, collaborator, and learner whose positive energy and knowledge of curriculum and strategies has earned the respect of her students, their parents, and her colleagues.
"You will not find a more dedicated, bright, and hard working advocate for students with disabilities and their families," said Suzanne Martin, professor, University of Central Florida, and a past president of CEC. Ehrli's leadership, Martin says, has been recognized throughout her career, and most recently by being named Florida Council for Exceptional Children Teacher of the Year.
Ehrli is currently teaching a Pre-K class for students with Autism in a pilot program at Dr. Phillip's High school, which allows for collaboration with high school students. Prior to the pilot program, Ehrli provided services to children with a variety of disabilities at Dr. Phillips Elementary School in Orange County Public Schools (OCPS). She is also pursuing her doctoral degree full time at the University of Central Florida.
Her former principal at Dr. Phillips Elementary School, Daniel Merchant, says that Ehrli "has a positive and upbeat attitude and believes that every student has the right to learn regardless of social, racial or economic standing. Consequently she sets high standards for the students and expects them to rise to those standards rather than lowering the bar. She has what we would hope to find in all teachers."
Partnering with families is one of the cornerstones of Ehrli’s teaching philosophy. "If I have not developed that partnership with family, I am missing the key element for my student’s being successful in all learning environments," Ehrli says, a process that she attributes to her personal understanding of what it is like to be a parent of a student with exceptionalities.
Read more about Ehrli.
The Clarissa Hug Teacher of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding teacher of children with disabilities or gifts and talents. The award honors a CEC member whose work reflects significant educational success for students, continued professional development, and the highest standards of educational quality.
Howard S. Muscott
Director, New Hampshire Center for Effective Behavioral Interventions and Supports
The Southeastern Regional Education Service Center
Howard S. Muscott’s dedication to CEC goes back to his days as a graduate student, and continues on to this day through his affiliation with The Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (CCBD) and the CCBD Foundation, which he helped to create.
The CCBD Foundation was founded in 1997 by the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (CCBD), to support its mission of improving the education of children and youth with emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD).
The Foundation awards annual grants to special educators in the area of EBD research, with an increasing number of projects and professional development opportunities every year, most notably the Classroom Practitioner Support grants, graduate and undergraduate student scholarships, and professional development support opportunities.
“Howard gave literally thousands of hours of his own time and generous donations of his own money to create and invigorate the CCBD Foundation. This service to CEC lasted more than a decade, and was one of the most remarkably selfless gifts I have ever seen a CEC member contribute,” Peck said.
Read more about Muscott.
The Outstanding CEC Leadership Award honors a CEC member who has made significant contributions to the Council’s programs and activities at the local, state/provincial, and national/international level over an extended period of time.
H.E. Hartfelder/Southland Corporation Regents Chair
Executive Director, Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk
University of Texas, Austin
For the past 30 years, Sharon Vaughn’s research has significantly expanded the knowledge base in special education and has been instrumental in developing educational interventions and practices that improve the outcomes for students with disabilities. The high quality of her research has also been instrumental in expanding the implementation of research-based practices in the nation’s classrooms.
"Her work has been central in helping to identify defining attributes of individuals with learning disabilities, as well as in specifying some high leverage variables and instructional protocols used to improve outcomes for students with disabilities," said Donald Deshler, director of the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas.
"Sharon's work is widely quoted and recognized well beyond the field of special education," Deshler said. "She is considered to be among the leading scholars in conceptualizing and researching tiered models of instruction and the underlying instructional dynamics that lead to positive student outcomes within such models."
Vaughn's early research focused on studies that documented the extent to which educators provided research-based services and instruction to students with disabilities, as well as those student’s social characteristics.
The second phase of her research career addressed effective instructional interventions as well as contributions to response to intervention (RTI) frameworks. Vaughn and her colleagues have conducted some of the most significant initial research on multi-tiered approaches to reading interventions, documentation of students’ responses to intervention, and frameworks for the application of RTI in reading.
Most recently, Vaughn's work has included syntheses and meta-analyses that organize and report the extant research so that findings can guide future research and practice and can identify the interventions associated with improved outcomes for students with disabilities. She has published research syntheses in numerous areas, including early reading, reading in the upper elementary grades, graphic organizers, and reading interventions at the secondary level.
Read more about Vaughn.
The CEC Special Education Research Award recognizes an individual or research team whose research has made significant contributions to the education of exceptional children and youth.