Spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teacher re­ceives award

Shan­non Waller rec­og­nized for pos­i­tive im­pact on young chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties

The Progress-Index Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - —Kelsey Re­ichen­berg may be reached at kre­ichen­berg@progress-in­dex.com or 804-722-5109. Kelsey Re­ichen­berg Staff Writer

COLO­NIAL HEIGHTS — Shan­non Waller, a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teacher at Wes­ley Preschool, re­ceived the Phyl­lis Mon­dak Award at Wes­ley United Methodist Church on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 4.

The Phyl­lis Mon­dak Award hon­ors a teacher who has im­pacted the lives of young chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties uti­liz­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tive and in­clu­sive ap­proach.

Waller tran­si­tioned sev­eral years ago from a self-con­tained class­room to the in­clu­sive set­ting at Wes­ley Preschool, and ac­cord­ing to her col­leagues, she tran­si­tioned won­der­fully. Among the many to no­tice her pos­i­tive im­pact was the Colo­nial Heights Pub­lic Schools Di­rec­tor of Sup­port Ser­vices, Christy Ge­orge.

Ge­orge nom­i­nated Waller for the award due to her suc­cess in us­ing peer mod­el­ing to help Early Child­hood Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tion (ECSE) stu­dents gain so­cial and aca­demic skills that are sim­i­lar to their peers.

She also col­lab­o­rates with the spe­cialty ther­a­pists to ob­tain ideas to help her stu­dents progress. She uses the ideas with her stu­dents and em­beds them in their daily ac­tiv­i­ties.

Ge­orge also noted that Waller is al­ways open to lis­ten to sug­ges­tions and to make adap­ta­tions to teach­ing as needed for the in­di­vid­ual stu­dent’s needs.

“Mrs. Waller is an ad­vo­cate for the stu­dents she serves. She’s a team player who is truly ded­i­cated to the stu­dents and fam­i­lies of Colo­nial Heights Pub­lic Schools,” said Ge­orge.

The award is named for the Vir­ginia De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion's for­mer early child­hood spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion co­or­di­na­tor, Phyl­lis Mon­dak, who re­tired in 2015, and is pre­sented by the Vir­ginia Cross-Sec­tor Pro­fes­sional De­vel­op­ment Team, which pro­vides pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment to early child­hood prac­ti­tion­ers who serve chil­dren and fam­i­lies in home, school and com­mu­nity set­tings.


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