CLD Outstanding Educators/Teachers of the Year

Three teachers from around the country received the Outstanding Teacher Award 2019. Below is a brief description of each teacher and their roles in special education.


Each year, the Council for Learning Disabilities recognizes outstanding teachers who are CLD members and who consistently provide quality instruction to students with learning disabilities. The Teacher of the Year award recipients selected by local chapters, provide direct services to students.  The CLD 2019 Teacher of the Year Recipients are:


2019 Colorado CLD Teacher of the Year Award Recipient — Julia Mackay

Julia has been a Special Education teacher at Chipeta Elementary School in Colorado Springs School District 11 for 8 years.  She is passionate about meeting the social, emotional, and academic needs of all of her students and all others with whom she interacts.  Julia has a bias towards action.  She analyzes strengths and weaknesses in our learning systems, explores and learns different strategies, and implements them.  For example, her second-grade students are engaged in project-based learning to set up a marker recycling program and her fifth graders engage in flipped learning for math.  This drive and passion to meet student needs exemplifies Julia as a Special Education Teacher.  Prior to teaching, Julia was a Special Education Aid at Chipeta Elementary School for many years.  She volunteered extensively in her children’s classrooms and throughout the school.  She was a troop leader for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts.  Julia believes in supporting communities and engaging deeply with those around her.  She is an asset to any organization or group with whom she works.



2019 Texas CLD Teacher of the Year Award Recipient – Veronica Twining

Veronica is an enthusiastic and motivated mathematics educator with a passion for working with at-risk youth, students with varying learning disabilities, and diverse language abilities.  She achieved her Texas teaching certificate in Math 4-8 and earned her B.A. in Mathematics from The University of Texas at San Antonio (2007).  Veronica is seeking National Board Certification in EA Mathematics.  She is entering her 9th year in the classroom and she continues to aspire to develop a strong foundation of language acquisition in order to help her students cultivate deep connections between grade-level and future concepts and skills.  She is in constant pursuit of learning best teaching practices to spark and foster students’ curiosity in learning.



2019 Virginia CLD Teacher of the Year Award Recipient – Jessica Draper

Jessica is a Special Education teacher at Galax Elementary School in VA.  She serves as an RTI specialist not only for the school but for the county as well.  Her academic credentials include two Master’s degrees, the most recent being an Administrative Leadership in Special Education.



2018 CLD Outstanding Educators/Teachers of the Year

Samantha Bos – Texas

Janice Converse – Virginia

Santosh Kamalakar – Arizona

Hydeemaria Parker – Colorado


2017 CLD Outstanding Educators/Teachers of the Year

Clark Stukey – Colorado

Jennifer Ozuna – Texas

Janeen Dofflemyer – Virginia


2016 CLD Outstanding Educators/Teachers of the Year

Lesli Raymond – Texas

Katrina Williams – Virginia

Robert Schaefer – Nevada

Heather Creech – Colorado

2015 CLD Outstanding Educators/Teachers of the Year

Norine Green – Colorado

Araminta Sorrell – Texas

LuAnn Morrow – Virginia

2014 CLD Outstanding Educators/Teachers of the Year

Annemarie Dempsey – Colorado

Blake Sammons-Texas

Nancy Schwab-Virginia

2013 CLD Outstanding Educators/Teachers of the Year
Icaro Mardones – Colorado
Lily Ailabouni – Minnesota
Nicole Park – Texas