Judy Sorrell, who coordinates special education services for students in six Virginia counties, says she first knew she wanted to be a special educator when she saw how a younger cousin with Down syndrome was isolated from other students at her school.
Sorrell, who is now the director of the Shenandoah Valley Regional Program for Special Education has spent 33 years in the field. Among her achievements is expanding the capacity of her districts to provide therapy to students with autism by partnering with a state organization that provides teacher training. That work, which was recognized by the state as an example of a successful collaboration, also led to Sorrell's selection as one of Education Week's Leaders to Learn From for 2013.
Sorrell's story, written by my colleague Nirvi Shah, offers other examples of how she is working to meet the needs of students with low-incidence disabilities in her region. The full report features 15 additional district-level leaders around the country who have been chosen for their innovative practices. This report will be a annual effort for the newspaper, so please think of other leaders to learn from who you think will be worth featuring next year.
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