By Tim Ashley
SYRACUSE — During a virtual awards ceremony on Zoom Wednesday morning, Feb. 3, Traci Henn, a special education teacher at Wawasee High School, was named 2021 Special Education Teacher of the Year by the Indiana Council for Exceptional Children.
She was one of six people to be honored by INCEC during the awards ceremony. Henn teaches in the resource classrooms and also the inclusion courses at WHS.
She noted INCEC sends out nomination forms to all members asking for nominations. The recipient of the award must be a licensed special education teacher who has demonstrated their knowledge, skill and sensitivity in teaching students with exceptional needs, often goes above and beyond what is normally expected in their profession, serves as a role model and inspiration to their colleagues and has been an active member of the Council for Exceptional Children for at least five years, even if non-consecutive years.
“Traci is the ultimate team player, always putting others first,” said Geoff Walmer, principal of WHS. “She has been a wonderful mentor for teachers within her department and is loved by her students. Traci has always gone above and beyond to ensure her students are set up for success.
“I am grateful the committee not only considered Traci for this award but noticed these intangibles and selected her as the Teacher of the Year.”
Walmer said he is not aware of any other Wawasee teacher receiving this particular award since he arrived at the school in 2007. “I would venture to say no teacher has ever earned this particular award during their time here at WHS,” he said. “This is a big deal!”
As provided by Henn, INCEC “is a community of educators and partners in learning dedicated to advancing the success of students with exceptionalities in Indiana. As a local CEC unit, INCEC’s mission is to improve, through excellence and advocacy, the education and quality of life for children and youth with exceptionalities and/or special needs and to enhance engagement of their families.”
CEC is the largest professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.