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Current Awardees

2020 Award Winners

Jennifer Nichols

Jennifer Nichols

 

2020 Outstanding Administrator of the Year Award Winner

 

MSD Wayne Township

Jenny Snyder

Jenny Snyder

2020 Outstanding Advocate of the Year

AWS Foundation

Nancy Zemaitis

Nancy Zemaitis

2020 Distinctive Service of the Year Award Winner

Indiana Department of Education - Retired

Dr. Cheryl Bremer

Dr. Cheryl Bremer

 

2020 Outstanding Professor of the Year Award Winner

 

Grace College  

Hannah Rose

Hannah Rose

 

2020 Outstanding Student Member of the Year Award Winner

 

Grace College

Emily Alaimo

Emily Alaimo

 

2020 Special Education Teacher of the Year Award Winner

 

MSD Washington Township  

Kyndal Gary

Kyndal Gary

 

2020 Yes I Can! Award Winner

 

Columbus East HS Graduate

2019 Award Winners

Learn more about the Indiana Council for Exceptional Children (INCEC)'s 2019 award winners by watching the 2019 Award Ceremony video and reading more below!

Todd Sheely

Todd Sheely is a Social Studies teacher at Elkhart Memorial High School and co-teaches with his special education colleagues. In addition to being a teacher, he is a high-school coach, the Director of Olympic/Player Development for Indiana Youth Soccer, and the Unified Track coach of the Elkhart team that were state champions last year. Todd is an outstanding advocate for students with exceptional needs. He raises money for Special Olympics and, in so doing, advocates for students with exceptional needs in a variety of public forums. He graduated from Center Grove in 1997 and IUPUI in 2001, where he is very well-known for his soccer career. He was named the Indiana High School Girls Coach of the Year in 2007 and Center Grove High School Teacher of the Year in 2009. Todd has two sons, Mayson (11) and Brennan (9). He holds a National Youth License and NSCAA Premier Diploma.

Tamra Ummel

Tamra Ummel is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Professional Development for Goshen Community Schools. Tammy has been a leader in the field of education for many years. As Tammy has moved into various administrative roles, she continues to use her areas of responsibility to influence the general education environment to support children with disabilities and to employ and train educators to serve ALL students. Tammy has been a positive, influential administrator and a leader in the field of special education. 

Amanda Lessick

Amanda Lessick is a senior at Grace College completing her B.S. degree with a dual licensure in Elementary Education (K-6) and Mild Intervention (P-12). Amanda has served on the Executive Board of the Grace College Student CEC Chapter for the past two years. She played an integral role in creating and implementing an annual, community-wide dress drive for the Tim Tebow Foundation Night to Shine Event. Amanda was also actively involved in hosting a Transition Exploration Day in which area high-school students with disabilities  were invited to participate in a campus-wide event that included Tim Tebow as the keynote speaker, a Transition Expo, lunch, and other events throughout the day. Although Amanda's involvement outside the academic realm has been remarkable, she maintains academic excellence in her college courses. This has been reflected by being on the Dean's List each semester, and most currently on the Honor's List. She was recently inducted into Alpha Chi Honor Society for her academic achievement and character, and has also done a remarkable job as a student teacher. 

Austin Freeman

Austin is a ninth grade student at Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center in the MSD Wayne Township. Austin is an amazing student. He never lets any task intimidate him. Whether it's his class work, access to the community, or sports, Austin attacks it with gusto. He never lets failure get in his way. If he doesn't succeed the first time, he doubles down and tries harder the next time. He is a star in the classroom but also in our entire community. Austin asks for no alterations when completing activities and very rarely asks for help. Whether it is wrestling or dancing, he gives it his all and genuinely has fun doing it. He comes every day to the Ben Davis High School wrestling practice and greets every member of the team as they enter the door with a smile and a high-five. He then works hard to overcome physical barriers in order to practice a sport he loves. His attitude shows that he loves being part of the wrestling team, and the team is happy to have him be a team member. He is internally motivated to better himself every day and a positive force for his peers and teachers. He is such a kind, happy boy who is always willing to give you hug. He is empathetic towards others and wants to see his peers succeed. Austin is type of person that brightens your day just by being in his presence. You can't walk down the hall with him without one of his friends stopping to talk with him. Austin demonstrates his traits as a Yes I Can student everyday.

Jennifer Volheim

Jennifer Volheim is a paramedic for Wayne Township Fire Department. Jennifer is passionate and responsive to our students with disabilities as well as those who sometimes struggle with challenges in their lives. One example of that was when she responded to a suicide threat of one student late at night. When she found out that non of his family members were willing to go with him to the hospital, she spent the entire night with him so he wouldn't be alone. During this time, she learned how special he was and how difficult his home life was. She rallied her family around him and they all pitched in to provide a wonderful Christmas for him. She regularly checks on him and has made such a difference in his life! This emulates what our 2019 Distinctive Service of the Year Award is about.

Dr. Denise Whitford

Dr. Denise Whitford was nominated on behalf of the Awards Committee for the Department of Special Education at Purdue University. Dr. Whitford is an exceptional professor. She specializes in school discipline disproportionality as it related to underreported student populations. She is particularly interested in a) investigating patterns of disproportionality, b) examining the effects of disproportionality on student achievement, post-academic outcomes, and emotional well-being, and c) determining methods for decreasing disproportionality in K-12 settings. As a co-advisor for the Purdue Chapter and previous treasurer for INCEC, she has not only lead at the state level, but also serves as part of the Diversity Committee at a National level. She is an outstanding professor advocating for our mission and vision. Dr. Whitford received her Ph.D. in Special Education with an emphasis in Emotional and Behavioral Disorders from the University of Arizona. She's also received two masters—one in Special Education from San Francisco State University and one in Social Work from the University of Hawaii—and her Bachelors in Psychology from University of California, Riverside.

Julie Brummett

Julie Brummett is a developmental preschool teacher at Eastside Elementary in Edinburgh, IN. As an employee of Earlywood Educational Services Interlocal Cooperative, Mrs. Brummett has served preschool children with disabilities and their families for over eighteen years. Mrs. Brummet consistently demonstrates her knowledge, skill, and sensitivity in teaching students with exceptional needs. Step through the door to her classroom and one will instantly observe the implementation of evidence-based practices to support her students' learning. Mrs. Brummett consistently goes above and beyond what is expected of a proficient professional in the field. Mrs. Brummett is sensitive to the needs, questions, and concerns of families who are new to special education services. Additionally, Mrs. Brummett is a role model and inspiration to others. She's hosted many visits to her classroom and patiently shares her methods for planning, implementing, and evaluating preschool instruction. Mrs. Brummett readily volunteers to assist new teachers with the IIEP system, navigating ISTAR-KR, and just generally being available to answer questions and offer support. Two years ago, Mrs. Brummett requested that we re-engage a professional learning community for the special education preschool teachers within our member districts. She felt that the need of these teachers was different from other educators and that they could benefit from professional development unique to their students. The Preschool PLC has been active for two years and is greatly valued by the members. Julie is an outstanding educator who quietly works to ensure her students have an exceptional early childhood education in order to prepare them to be integrated into a general education kindergarten. 

Last Updated:  9 November, 2020

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