SEPTA annually bestows two awards to recognize outstanding individuals in Arlington who have made a positive difference in the lives of our children.
The Eileen K. Crawford Outstanding Educator Award
Given to an educator or county services professional who in his/her professional capacity has made outstanding achievements that improve the lives of Arlington’s special needs children and youth.
This award is named in honor of Eileen K. Crawford, who passed away in 2012, whose 25 years as an educator included work as a special education coordinator, Parent Resource Center coordinator, who specialized in helping older APS students flourish and successfully transition to adulthood.
Dr. Kelly Krug has spent the last 16 years in APS, 9 of them as a special education and general education Elementary School teacher. In 2008 she moved to the Office of Special Education as the Instruction Specialist where she worked with schools supporting instruction and intervention across special and general education settings including Functional Life Skills and MIPA. She also trained teachers on Dyslexia, ADHD and several established interventions related to reading, math, and spelling. Dr, Krug worked with teachers to write Standards-based IEPs.
Following a recommendation from an independent study of special education in APS, last year, APS embarked on developing the Arlington Tiered System of Support. ATSS is a structure designed to identify the needs of each student. Dr. Krug was tasked with the development in 2014 and the implementation over the next 5 years. While ATSS is designed to support all students, it is clear that students with special needs will benefit from the consistent delivery of services across the district. We appreciate all that Dr. Krug has done for our children over the past 16 years, and look forward to seeing her complete the implementation of ATSS.
Former Arlington Parks and Recreation Therapeutic Recreation supervisor, for her distinguished achievements to meaningfully include special needs individuals, particularly children and youth, in county-based recreational camps, classes and other activities.
Under her leadership, Arlington offers inclusion services in any county class, camp or other activity. She applied for and won a $10,000 grant from the National Inclusion Project to provide additional inclusion training for Parks and Rec staff. Her staff also provides inclusion support input and training to Extended Day programs at APS schools.
Longtime Parent Resource Center special education coordinator (1999-current) and former APS teacher and Child Find Coordinator, was the first recipient of this award for her years of tireless work works closely with families, APS and organizations on behalf of Arlington’s special needs children. In particular, Donovan works hard to support parents of special needs students by giving them the tools to better understand how they could help their children thrive and learn.
At the PRC, Donovan and her colleagues run parent workshops, oversees collaborative initiatives such as the Super Sibs Club and ADHD Parent Support Network, and spearheaded resources such as the Arlington Public Schools Special Education Family Resource and Information Guide.
Parent Volunteer of the Year Award – The “Howie” Award
Named after its first recipient, Howard Kallem, this award is given jointly by SEPTA and the leadership of the APS Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee (ASEAC) to parent volunteers who have shown exceptional contribution and commitment to helping Arlington’s children and youth reach their potential.
In 2010, Theresa initiated and became the first President of Arlington Special Education PTA – the first PTA of its kind in Virginia. Chris served as SEPTA president from 2012 – 2014. In Theresa’s words, “We started SEPTA to build a community where parents and teachers can connect and come together to help our kids. We have been and still are active members of several parent support groups, locally and nationally, and they do a great job to help parents know and feel that we’re not alone, but, without input from the professionals who work with our kids on a day-to-day basis, they don’t always help us solve the challenges faced by our families. The idea of a SEPTA was to bring everyone who is involved in our children’s education together and be on the “same side of the table.”
But the Waddells’ contributions go way beyond their SEPTA leadership. While Chris served as president of the Autism Society of Northern Virginia, the Waddells began several community annual events including their most popular event, sensory friendly movies. Inspired after their middle son was asked to leave a theatre for walking up and down the stairs, that program has since become a national partnership with AMC theatres. Chris & Theresa began helping families like theirs by raising money and awareness for the Organization for Autism Research. With the help of many friends, they began an annual Casino Night Fundraiser in 2009. After son Paul required assistance from the Arlington Police following an elopement, they donated Project Lifesaver® -Lojack ® for your loved ones – to Arlington County in 2009. So far the county has conducted two successful rescues.
They have been nominated for the Investment News Community Service Award and were named by the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation as DC Autism Heroes. The family was profiled on ABC World News Tonight, the Washington Post, and made the cover of Exceptional Parent Magazine. Congratulations to Theresa and Chris on their well deserved recognition!
Parent organizer for more than 15 years, ran a parent support group at Taylor Elementary School, including running popular family social events and launched the Arlington-based Asperger Syndrome Information and Support (AS IS) listserv for parents of children with Asperger’s, high-functioning autism, and nonverbal learning disabilities. She suggested an event to the country which became the Family Fun Night events.
Most recently, Lucia worked with the Arlington Career Center to try to fill the gap in programming for graduating youth with autism that better meet this population’s needs and strengths. Her efforts helped launch the Program for Employment Preparedness (PEP) in September 2014.
Former SEPTA secretary and longtime APS parent, special education advocate and community activist, was the first recipient of this award. He earned this honor because of his service and counsel to SEPTA in its early years, especially his advice special education and civil rights; his decades of service as a leader at several APS school-based PTAs; and his 14 years of co-chairing the APS Minority Achievement Advisory Committee.
His commitment to social justice was also evident in his career as well. Howie worked for 15 years as Chief Regional Attorney for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in the D.C. Enforcement Office, and previously an attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for 14 years. Howie currently serves as the Director of Title IX Compliance at Duke University.