ILLINOIS EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION AWARD FOR 2017
The Illinois Excellence in Education Award has been designed to acknowledge the work and dedication of an educator who has positively impacted the lives of persons with visual impairments as well as the profession in Illinois.
Kirstin began her career as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist upon her graduation from Western Michigan University in December 2003, the first year DuPage/West Cook was managed by SASED.
Kirstin has been a strong force in driving the orientation and mobility program to solid accountability. She began by modifying the New Mexico School for the Blind inventory and has continued to refine the assessments to be able to provide progress monitoring information as well as data across time.
Kirstin currently works with the preschool in assisting students to develop concepts with activities such as going to a fabric store to feel corduroy when the preschool is working on the story “Corduroy.” She also works to teach all of the basic concepts needed for independent travel at an age appropriate level and also as a foundation for independence. Kirstin supports the high school students and has been successful in getting students to travel independently including utilizing a variety of transportation alternatives. The proof of the success is when our high school students can independently meet one another and “hang out” on the weekend. As you know our students come from 93 different districts so travel can be quite complex, especially when driving is not an option!
In the words of one our recent graduates, Aziz Zeidieh, about Kirstin, “she taught me how to cross streets, plan routes, use public transportation, and advocate for myself as an independent, legally blind traveler; but the most important thing she showed me was freedom to live my life, the freedom to get up and go wherever I want, whenever I want, without being dependent on anyone”.