June 10, 2008
For immediate release
At a ceremony at the UC Santa Barbara campus on June 2, the Special Education, Disability, and Risk Studies emphasis at the Gevirtz School presented the 2008 Thomas G Haring Memorial Awards honoring achievement in special education. This year’s winners were: the Haring Memorial Fellowship – April Regester; the Distinguished Parent Award – Brian Kelly; the Distinguished Teacher Award – Brent Elder; the Distinguished Researcher Award – Russell Gersten; the Distinguished Career Award – Steve Minjarez. Gevirtz School Dean Jane Close Conoley, welcoming attendees to the event, said, “I’m delighted to see the awards given to make note of how many people have to do well to make the difference for children with special needs.”
The Thomas Haring Fellowship was established by the Haring family as a memorial to their son who was a beloved professor at UC Santa Barbara. Haring was an extraordinarily creative researcher and an advocate for people with disabilities as well as an excellent teacher and mentor and the award is presented to a doctoral student who embodies his enduring principles. April Regester – this year’s recipient – will graduate in June with her Ph.D. “She has been an extraordinary contributor to our teacher education program,” Professor George Singer said at the ceremony. “She assisted direct supervision, taught key courses, and has helped educate us as to what is new in the field.”
Brian Kelly, himself a father of six children, received the Distinguished Parent Award for his generous donations of funds and time in the fight against autism, both as a donor to UC Santa Barbara’s Koegel Autism Clinic and to the national organization Autism Speaks! Gevirtz School alum Brent Elder, a teacher in the Goleta School District, was lauded for his incredible support of the Gevirtz School Teacher Education Program and his passion for the social integration of special education students. Dr. Russell Gersten, winner of the Distinguished Researcher Award, is executive director of Instructional Research Group, a nonprofit educational research institute, as well as professor emeritus in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. His main areas of expertise include instructional research on ELLs, reading comprehension research and evaluation methodology. Steve Minjarez’s distinguished career began with him as a classroom teacher in LA Unified, but he became the Director of Pupil Personnel and Special Services of the Goleta School District where he worked on taking federal laws about inclusion and turned them into real working systems.
[April Regester is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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Photo caption from left to right: Brent Elder, Distinguished Teacher Award Winner, April Regester, Thomas Haring Fellowship Winner, Cathy Breen Haring, Professor George Singer, and Steve Minjarez, Distinguished Career Award Winner.