Lori Haggerty was pleasantly surprised to find when hired as a preschool teacher nearly 20 years ago in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 that inclusion was already taking place in the district and that her students would include those with disabilities.
“This district was ahead of others back then, and inclusion has grown here even more since then,” said Haggerty, who teaches in the Tiny Tots preschool program offered at Rahn Elementary School through District 191 Community Education.
Haggerty’s inclusive classroom and instructional practices have resulted in her being named as the recipient of the 2014 Inclusive Education Practices Award. She received her award at a District 191 Board of Education meeting in December from Stephanie Corbey, the executive director of individualized student services.
The award was created by the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) to recognize staff members who are fostering meaningful inclusion of students with disabilities in classrooms and extracurricular activities. SEAC, comprised of parents, community members, school staff and administrators, advises the special education department on policy and program planning.
“Lori is the epitome of the teacher who claims all of her students as hers. She takes it upon herself to make sure that each student, including any child receiving special education services, feels a part of the classroom community,” said those who nominated her. “Lori does this with her huge smiles, warm greetings, compassionate care, and genuine enthusiasm for opening the world of learning to all children.”
Others nominated for the award this year were Beth Mortinson, special education resource teacher at Eagle Ridge Junior HIgh; Genevieve Kappel, special education teacher at Nicollet Junior High; Jean Jaeger, early childhood special education teacher; Jennifer Bordonaro, behavioral interventionist/assessment coach at Vista View Elementary, and Katie Nelson, special education teacher at Sioux Trail Elementary.
Previous recipients of the award are Mark Riggs of Burnsville High School in 2011, Leanne Banks of Eagle Ridge Junior High in 2012 and Barbara Gierada of William Byrne Elementary in 2013.