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SELPA Teacher Named Braille Institute's Teacher of the Year

SELPA Teacher Named Braille Institute's Teacher of the Year

Lauren Ingersoll, special education teacher in the South County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) who works with students who are visually impaired, was named the Braille Institute’s 2024 Teacher of the Year.

The prestigious award is part of Braille Institute's annual Braille Challenge competition, the only academic competition of its kind in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia for students who are blind or visually impaired.

Teacher Lauren Ingersoll sitting in a classroom with student

With over 21 years of experience as a teacher of the visually impaired, Ingersoll has serviced five school districts in the South County SELPA, catering to students across all grade levels who have visual impairments. She works with students teaching braille from preliteracy through college-level classes.

"My passion is working with children and finding engaging and enjoyable ways to foster a love for braille reading and writing,” Ingersoll said in a press release. "I want to thank Braille Institute for this honor, and it is a privilege to be recognized for something I love doing.”

In 2023, Ingersoll was SDCOE’s Special Education Program Teacher of the Year. She was also the recipient of the Outstanding Service in Special Education in 2017 and 2012 by the San Diego Council of Administrators of Special Education.

"There is no one more deserving of this award than Lauren,” said colleague and fellow teacher of the visually impaired in San Diego, Lizbeth Green. “Her students and families benefit immensely from the hard work, dedication, and innovative teaching she brings to her role every day."

Jim (Dimitri) Kales, CEO of Braille Institute, lauds Ingersoll as a beacon of inspiration and support for her students, emphasizing her role in imparting not only academic knowledge but also essential life skills. "The unique and profound connection she fosters transcends the classroom, leaving a lasting impact on her students' lives," highlights Kales.

Despite the significant benefits of braille literacy, statistics from the American Printing House for the Blind indicate that only 8% of students meeting the definition of blindness are primary braille readers. Braille literacy is a cornerstone for long-term success and professional opportunities, with Braille Works highlighting that 90% of employed individuals with blindness can read and write braille.

Ingersoll will be recognized at Braille Challenge Finals, which will be held June 22 on the University of Southern California campus.

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