We at AWS Foundation often talk of those we serve overcoming barriers to achievement. Our support lifts our grantees over their barriers. Those grantees help individuals with disabilities overcome their barriers. Now, were taking on a new barrier: having enough specialized licensed teachers in special education in Northeast Indiana.
Through a fund at Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, we now offer an annual scholarship to special educators seeking additional licenses to better serve their school districts. Lets meet our first two scholarship recipients:
Kimberly Luke-Scherer is a Functional Life Skills teacher at East Noble High School. With 13 years of experience, she has several education licenses and a Masters in Intense Intervention. Her dedication to inclusive practices shows in her extensive effort to co-teach in the general education setting where peers are partnered with special education students to assist with social skills, mentoring, and instruction. She has great aspirations to make an impact in the special education world and this scholarship will go to her obtaining a Special Education Directors certificate.
As a Director, I will be able to mentor those in the Special Education field, guide decisions and programming, and above all touch the lives of a greater number of students, Scherer says. These students have stolen my heart and inspired me to advocate for their needs, rights, and to forge new opportunities.
Jennifer Poses passion for special education comes from her own experiences with her teachers as a low vision student. They empowered her to do things that she was often told she would never be able to do, including learning to drive. Dedicated to reaching her career goals, she overcame her fear of driving as someone who has been declared legally blind, during her undergraduate years in order to prepare for student teaching.
From the very beginning my low vision teachers encouraged me to be an advocate for myself, says Pose. With the help of our scholarship, she is pursuing her Blind and Low Vision license to pass that encouragement on to students like her. I have a passion for special education because I have always wanted to assist my students and their parents to feel empowered.