Special education teacher receives award
Shannon Waller recognized for positive impact on young children with disabilities
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.