[Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] LDA honored teacher Warren Schoepfer with the Samuel Kirk Educator of the Year Award for his outstanding work with students. The award is named in honor of Dr. Samuel Kirk, a pioneer in the field of learning disabilities, and is given annually to an outstanding educator who has made significant contributions to the field of learning disabilities. 

Schoepfer is a certified special education teacher at Benway School in Wayne, New Jersey, a private, state-approved special education school serving students grades 1-12 with social/emotional, behavioral, and academic challenges that make it difficult for them to succeed in their district school. 

Schoepfer works with students with learning disabilities, mental health issues, behavioral struggles, and high absenteeism. His innovative teaching prepares these students for bright futures by establishing executive function, self-regulation, and employability skills, while holding high expectations for all students. 

“Mr. Warren is one of those teachers you come across once in a great while.” Elizabeth Alves, a colleague of Schoepfer, said, “He is popular with students, families, and colleagues. He develops his programming based on the needs and interests of his students with laser focus.”

Schoepfer is well-known for building a growth mindset and character in his students, and for inspiring mutual respect within the classroom. 

One student shared, “He is always teaching me how to fight my battles without disrespect. He believes I can be so much more than what I am.”

Schoepfer also created a hands-on STEM program that gets students excited to learn, and an Everyday Law class that educates students with specific learning disabilities or complex trauma to enable them make informed decisions. These innovative programs have inspired and empowered hundreds of students, including those with a higher risk of dropping out and being incarcerated. 

Schoepfer attributes listening to his students as the key to his teaching success. 

“I am deeply honored and grateful to have been chosen as the Sam Kirk Award recipient for 2023,” Schoepfer said. “Teaching isn’t just about the lesson. It’s about becoming a better listener. By listening to what my students have to say, it enables me to have a greater understanding of their needs.”

Schoepfer will be presented with the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award at LDA’s 60th Annual International Conference in Las Vegas. 

LDA is a national, member-based, nonprofit organization committed to advancing opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities through support, education, and advocacy.