UC Santa Barbara Gevirtz School alumna Sally Delyser received the June Downing Outstanding Educator Award at the 2018 Cal-TASH conference in Sacramento in March. Cal-TASH is the California chapter of TASH, the international leader in disability advocacy. Founded in 1975, TASH advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs. TASH works to advance inclusive communities through advocacy, research, professional development, policy, and information and resources for parents, families and self-advocates.
The June Downing Memorial Outstanding Educator Award is given to an educator who demonstrates leadership in promoting and facilitating inclusive options for students with severe disabilities (preschool age through 22 years) in collaboration with families, general and special educators, support staff, and other members of the education team. This award is given in honor of June Downing, a long time TASH member, Board of Directors member, author and beloved friend and colleague. June Downing had a profound impact on families, young professionals, educators and individuals with disabilities and her contributions to inclusion will be felt for many years to come. The purpose this award is to honor the important and courageous contributions of individuals and school districts in advancing inclusive education and equitable opportunities for students pre-school through grade 12, particularly those with the most significant disabilities and support needs. TASH recognizes the path to full inclusion can be challenging, depending on the local community, state and local leadership and other factors. Nominations are requested for individuals, schools and districts that are consistent with TASH’s mission regarding inclusive education.
Sally Delyser began her career as a Special Education teacher over 10 years ago after earning her credential and M.Ed. from UC Santa Barbara’s Teacher Education Program. She is currently a teacher at Monroe Elementary in Santa Barbara and serves as a Cooperating Teacher for UC Santa Barbara’s Education Specialist Credential (ESC) candidates. She consistently provides ESC candidates with a rich context where they can learn about the joys and challenges a special educator will face in the real world while simultaneously learning to implement real world solutions and strategies within a complicated system without having to compromise their values. Delyser was nominated by Natalie Holdren, President of Cal-TASH, who is also an alumna of UCSB’s Teacher Education Program. Holdren currently works as a lecturer and supervisor in the Gevirtz School.