Position: Speech-Language Pathologist
School: Reeths Puffer Middle and High Schools
School District: Reeths Puffer Public Schools
City, State: Muskegon, Michigan
About the Nominee: Julie Raynor is a school speech-language pathologist who knows no limits when it comes to helping young people become better communicators. She has worked tirelessly to help children not only in her school district but throughout her community, region and state. Within her school district, she is known as a creative implementer of novel programs. For example, in order to increase 'buy-in' from high school students receiving speech therapy services, she decided to create 'Communication Cafe'. This cafe is set up like a coffee shop with comfortable seating and a hot chocolate machine. Having this space has led to increased attendance of her students and provides a more relaxed, natural environment for communication. Even students who do not receive speech therapy attend sessions as typical peer models. This is just one of the brilliant ideas and programs Ms. Raynor has brought to her school community. To help those beyond her district, Ms. Raynor spearheaded, co-founded, and co-directs Camp Shout Out on a volunteer basis. Camp Shout Out brings together youth with fluency disorders, speech-language pathologists, and graduate students, guided by Board Certified Specialists-Fluency to learn, teach, and empower each other to become more competent communicators and therapists in a safe, fun, and natural environment. There is no other program like it in the world where kids who stutter can work on improving their communication skills while at the same time having a traditional summer camp experience.
Ms. Raynor is constantly sharing her experience with other professionals. She recently organized funding for a 4 day workshop for local speech language pathologists on the topic of stuttering. Her ability to connect and work with experts, colleagues, families and students continues to change the world for kids with communication difficulties.