Getting to Know SDCOE: Allison Wootton Special Education Teacher of the Year
Allison Wootton believes that all of her students can be successful both inside and outside of the classroom when given the right tools and taught the essential skills needed to gain independence.
As a teacher for students of all ages with visual impairments, Wootton works hard to give her students those tools and skills. She works for the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education and serves students in schools in North County.
“Being a positive influence in the lives of my students and helping them grow is the best part of my day,” she said. “I am a firm believer that self-determination is a key component to foster independence and academic success.”
He dedication to students has earned her the title of the San Diego County Office of Education Special Education Teacher of the Year.
Trevor Venomon-Holt, a former student of Wootton, said she was his most memorable teacher because of the meaningful and fun time they spent together.
“I'm a better person, college student, and independent blind man because of you,” he said about Wootton in a letter of recommendation. “I have gained the confidence and independence to travel and go to school in my community.”
Vernomon-Holt said Wootton was his strongest advocate at school, making sure he had all of the materials needed to thrive.
“You fought for me when I needed it, and the lessons of self-advocacy are priceless,” he explained.
Wootton understands why it’s important to fight for independence and resources for people with disabilities. When she was a senior in high school, she was in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down.
“In one split second, my entire life plan changed, leaving me confined to a wheelchair,” she said. “I had dreams of playing Division 1 college basketball at the University of Louisville, where I earned a scholarship, but that dream was no longer a reality.”
While trying to figure out what to do after graduating from college, Wootton decided to try substitute teaching at her former high school, where she learned that she loved teaching students with special needs. She decided to go back to school to get a master’s degree and teaching credential. From there, she took a job at an elementary school in Kentucky, where she worked with a student with a visual impairment.
“This student would change my life and lead me toward a new career path,” she said.
That path led her to Oceanside 15 years ago to accept her current job at the San Diego County Office of Education. She says she still loves her job after all these years.
“Each day is different and exciting, which is why I love my job so much,” she said. “I have a passion for teaching because everything I teach also teaches me something important about life.”
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