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 Teachers, Community Members Recognized for Contributions to Special Education

​For years, the Community Advisory Committees (CAC) for the San Diego County Office of Education's four special education local plans areas (SELPAs) have recognized individuals from school districts and communities who make notable contributions to the field of special education. 

David HamiltonThe East County SELPA recently held its recognition ceremony to honor individuals or organizations in East County school districts for service above and beyond their normal responsibilities and who have made outstanding contributions to students with disabilities. The special education department in each district selected the individual or organization to represent their district. 

"Each of the over 11,000 students with disabilities served in the East County SELPA has a variety of special education providers, general education teachers, support staff, and community members working hard on a daily basis to make a positive impact on their education," said Heather DiFede, East County SELPA executive director. "The CAC awards are an opportunity for us to honor and thank them for their dedication and continued support of our students."

This year's awardees are below, along with a comment from their nomination form:

Kathryn Abruzzo, Grossmont Union High School District
Lisa Aguilar-Williams, La Mesa-Spring Valley School District
Ina Campos, Cajon Valley Union School District
Brandy DeLyser, Lakeside Union School District
Nevilyn Evans, Mountain Empire Unified School District
David Hamilton, Alpine Union High School District (pictured)
Christopher "CJ" McCoole, Grossmont Union High School District
Charlene Russell, Jamul-Dulzura Union School District
David Selbe, Santee School District
Shilo Vandine-Salacup, Lemon Grove School District
 

Kathryn Abruzzo, Grossmont Union High School District
"Katy provides leadership and support with teacher teams that benefit the students and the community of Grossmont High School. Her expertise and drive to meet students' needs are based on data-driven decisions with a heart. Katy's positivity and smile reflect the warmth of her character that overflows to students and colleagues."

Lisa Aguilar-Williams, La Mesa-Spring Valley School District
"Lisa has improved the lives of countless students in La Mesa-Spring Valley. Whenever a child or family is in need, she rallies the staff members in collecting goods and/or services needed by the family. Lisa has such a positive rapport with her students that when they come to the office with their parents, they often times rush to her office door to peek in or to say hello."

Ina Campos, Cajon Valley Union School District
"Ina truly cares about all students and ensures that her assessments are accurate and truly reflect the student's abilities and needs. She makes students feel comfortable and respected. By listening and demonstrating true compassion for others, she quickly gains the trust of others. Whether leading a team meeting, working with a parent, or intervening in a student crisis, Ina maintains a student's wellbeing at the center of all decisions."

Brandy DeLyser, Lakeside Union School District
"Brandy continues to make a major impact in the lives of all her students. Her students leave her classroom more prepared for middle school and the opportunity to be mainstreamed. Her understanding of what students need and the skills they must have to be successful in middle school is evident."

Nevilyn Evans, Mountain Empire Unified School District
"As a special education classroom assistant (SECA) in our special day class, Nevilyn works with our most vulnerable students with some of the greatest needs. Nev is one of the SECAs that as a parent you hope will be working with your child as not only does she work tirelessly to help and improve her students' skills and abilities; she loves them like her own. Nev loves our students, and our students love her."

David Hamilton, Alpine Union High School District
"David's kindness shows through his interactions with all the students in his class. He shows concern for others and is quick to offer help to students in need or to other staff members that need support. He has a natural ability to communicate with all the students. His growth mind set makes him an excellent role model. David's calling is to become a Special Education teacher."

Christopher "CJ" McCoole, Grossmont Union High School District
"Students' academic success and social emotional well-being are at the forefront of his work as an advocate teacher. In a short time, CJ has built a cohesive team that is working to support all students, through increased co-teaching, improving study skills classes, and building relationships with students, parents, and staff at Mount Miguel."

Charlene Russell, Jamul-Dulzura Union School District
"Charlene goes above and beyond her daily duties to ensure the highest quality of education for our students and continuously works to improve the quality of instruction for our students with disabilities. She treats each student with dignity and respect, no matter the situation, which helps students feel not only supported and encouraged, but respected."

David Selbe, Santee School District
David's extra effort and caring has improved the comfort, stability, and opportunity for the students with disabilities at Carlton Hills to experience productive interactions with their general education peers both in and outside the classroom. Many students would not be able to mainstream effectively without support. David bounces between several classrooms caring and guiding our students with disabilities so they may have this important experience. He is encouraging, supportive, kind, and always professional."

Shilo Vandine-Salacup, Lemon Grove School District
"Shilo knows the families she works with. She has their trust. Students respect her quick wit, sensibility, and thoughtful nature. She has a passion for supporting students with disabilities and has made a positive change in the lives of the students at her site."