LifeChanger of the Year Second Runner Up 2012-2013
Position: 7-12th Grade Special Education Teacher
School: Harwood Union High School
School District: Washington West Supervisory Union
City, State: South Duxbury, VT
About the LifeChanger: Maureen Charron-Shea, a speech-language pathologist with over thirty years of experience, has redefined what inclusion means in classrooms around her school district, Vermont, and the country. She sees inclusion as a social justice issue and her work has lead to greater access to learning opportunities and higher self-esteem for students with disabilities. Mrs. Charron-Shea once taught students with special needs in basements and in closets. Six years ago, she began a service-learning project on top of her daily work load, which challenged the status quo. The national award winning project is called Speak Out For Understanding and it offers young people the opportunity to speak out for social justice. Students, educators, parents, and community members are asked to share personal stories to promote understanding and tolerance. These stories are conveyed in books, music, poetry, public service announcements and two documentaries. They expose problems with discrimination, stereotyping, learning, and social isolation. Through this important work, students with disabilities no longer accept labels, but rather become empowered as they share stories publicly and with great pride. This project has rejuvenated Mrs. Charron-Shea's energy and belief in public education becoming the great leveler -- whereby everyone is valued as an individual and a learner. Her school is to have such an influential and dedicated educator, who is a wonderful resource for colleagues, parents, and students.
As a top three finalist, Mrs. Charron-Shea attended the awards ceremony in Key Biscayne, Florida, on March 8th, where she was announced as the 2012-2013 LifeChanger of the Year 2nd Runner Up.
Earlier this spring, we surprised Mrs. Charron-Shea at her school to let her know that she was a 2012-2013 LifeChanger of the Year Top 3 Finalist!Watch it happen on WCAX or read about it on The Valley Reporter, Waterbury Record, and Burlington Free Press.
We also took pictures, click to enlarge them: