One of the highlights of each LDA Conference is the presentation of awards to our members who have accomplished outstanding feats in fulfilling the mission of the Learning Disabilities Association of America on behalf of all individuals with learning disabilities. The awards presented in Chicago at the 2015 52nd International Conference continued this practice. The following individuals were the recipients of this year’s awards.
LDA President’s Award
This award is given annually to the individual who has shown outstanding service to LDA during the year. The recipient this year is Bob Broudo, a person who deeply cares about people and the passion of those who volunteer for LDA of America. Throughout her first year as President, Nancie Payne indicated Bob was a mentor and guide to her, providing much wisdom and leadership to LDA of America’s generative planning processes. He is truly a forward thinker who clearly understands how to support growth and development. Some people have “head” knowledge, which is the information and data. Others have “heart and soul,” meaning passion and a driving thirst to ensure the right things are done. Bob has all three – head, heart, and soul – and uses those abilities to bring out the best in people.
Harrison Sylvester Award
This award honors and recognizes an adult with learning disabilities who has shown a strong dedication and commitment to advancing the issues of adults with learning disabilities. Congratulations to Kayla Wilson for winning this year’s Harrison Sylvester Award. Kayla is currently serving on the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), which is the advisory board for the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Program and also serves as a board member for High School/High Tech. She has been very active throughout the state of Georgia making presentations to students in the Georgia High School/High Tech Program to encourage them to remain in school, advocate for themselves after graduation from high school and to pursue post-secondary education or a career of their choice. Congratulations from the LDA Community.
Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award
Each year the LDA of America selects an outstanding educator to receive the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award. It is named in honor of Dr. Samuel A. Kirk, psychologist, scholar, humanitarian and pioneer in the field of learning disabilities. This year the award was presented to Dr. Richard Owens an Iowa LDA candidate. Dr. Owens began his career as a classroom teacher, teaching at the grades K-12 level. He moved on to being an administrator and then for over 20 years he taught at the college level at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. He also worked as the professional development coordinator and in the recent years as Director of Special Projects. He was responsible for offering graduate credits for educators attending our LDA National Conferences.
He has been a member of LDA for over 20 years, is a long time board member of LDA Iowa and has had 4 terms as President of LDA of Iowa. Dr. Owens has dedicated his life to teaching and training and serving others. It was an honor to present the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award to him, as he was exactly the kind of dedicated teacher who recognized the students whom Sam Kirk spent his life informing the world about learning disabilities, students’ needs, and how to teach and train them. Dr. Owens let us know in his address about the work of Sam Kirk and his importance in the field of education. Congratulations, Dr. Richard Owens.
The LDA Award is the highest honor given by LDA. It is presented annually in recognition of and appreciation for outstanding leadership at the national level in the field of learning disabilities.
The honoree for this year has maintained a vital and active role in major organizations that support children and adults with learning disabilities. She is a major force in teacher education in the state of Maryland as well as an advocate at the state and national level for individuals with learning disabilities. The LDA Award Honoree is Robin Church, the vice president for educational programs and the executive director of Kennedy Krieger, where she administers education programs at the two campuses of the school and the four public/private partnership schools. Dr. Church was a colleague of Dr. Gil Schiffman and through their collaboration technology was introduced to special education and in particular to students with learning disabilities. She has continued to carry the torch for the movement of getting access to technology for students with disabilities in and out of the classroom. Dr. Church understands the importance of quality teacher education in understanding LD in both special and general education. She was an early recipient of the Office of Special Education technology grant (2002) – this entailed a training model for the career cluster high school for students with learning disabilities. She has presented the idea and model of a career and technology center in the high school environment nationally and worked with school districts for the last 10 years on integrating technology into a comprehensive instructional program.
Robin has served in many capacities for LDA including Chair of the PAB and Program Committee Chair for a number of our national conferences. She truly is an inspiration to peers and anyone who works with her.