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School of Education honors students, faculty and alumni

An annual banquet held May 3 celebrated the achievements of students and faculty, as well as the accomplishments of a distinguished alumna.

Elon's School of Education honored its best and brightest during a May 3 awards ceremony that highlighted the achievements of students, faculty and alumni.

The program was attended by family and friends of the honorees as well as members of the School of Education, whose input helped determine the 2013 award recipients. Honored were:

Long-Term HHP Adjunct Awards
Given in recognition for years of excellent service as part-time instructors of wellness courses offered by Health & Human Performance.

  • Miriam Stratton
  • Jeff Milroy
  • Alec French
l-r: Alec French, Carol Smith, Jean Rattigan-Rohr, Jeff Carpenter and Amanda Tapler

Excellence in Scholarship Award
Given in recognition of a faculty member who exemplifies the Elon University teacher-scholar and whose research advances our knowledge of education and supports that faculty member’s teaching.

  • Jeff Carpenter

Excellence in Service Award
Given in recognition of a faculty member whose service makes Elon a better institution.

  • Carol Smith

Excellence in Teaching Award
Given in recognition of a faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding teaching, mentoring and advising in the previous three years. Engaging students in active learning and applications of theory to practice in substantive and meaningful ways are critical factors in selection.

  • Amanda Tapler
  • Jean Rattigan-Rohr
l-r: Jaclyn Wood and Jill Padfield

Outstanding Physical Education and Health Major of the Year
Given in recognition of an outstanding student in the physical education and health major with a minimum GPA of 3.3 who has distinguished herself in academics, service and scholarship.

  • Jaclyn Wood

School of Education Arnold Strauch Award
Presented to a senior education major with an outstanding academic record, superior student teaching performance, high level of professionalism and potential for contributing to the field of education.

  • Jill Padfield
l-r: Angela D. Leonard '89 and husband Alan S. Leonard

School of Education Distinguished Alumna of the Year
Given in recognition and celebration of accomplishments and service to the profession and to the community, as well as for distinction as a partner, advocate and investor in the work of the School of Education.  

  • Angela D. Leonard '89
    Executive director at Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center, Virginia

Although her career began as an elementary school teacher, Leonard's role has evolved into a leader in her community and champion for  special needs education.

After teaching for 10 years in public education, she and husband Alan had a son, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2. Leonard quickly realized there were no resources in her community for families dealing with autism, something that led her to create the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center in 2002. What she began with a $25,000 budget and two employees at a local church is now a center that serves more than 150 students across three locations in Virginia and local public schools.

Her efforts have paved the way for other community programs in the Ronoake area and earned her recognition, including being appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to represent individuals with special challenges on the Virginia Interagency Coordinating Council. In 2012, she was featured in The Roanoker magazine as an "unsung hero" in her community. The article, titled "No Cape Required," read:

When Angie Leonard’s son was diagnosed with autism, she had difficulty finding intervention and schooling for him in the Roanoke Valley. She later learned about the Virginia Institute of Autism in Charlottesville and the school’s use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to work with autistic children, and wanted the same for her son.

“I set up my basement as a classroom and worked with Roanoke College to have psychology majors come and work with him,” she says.

While searching for other parents of autistic children, Leonard met Sue Crenshaw, and the two started a chapter of the Autism Society of America. The chapter met as a parent support group. Upon learning of Leonard’s makeshift classroom and seeing her son’s progress in communication, other parents encouraged her to start a school. She approached her pastor at Rainbow Forest Baptist Church, where they formed Blue Ridge Autism Center. In 2009, the school merged with The Achievement Center and serves children with learning disabilities as well.

The most rewarding part of Leonard’s job? “Giving families hope and the kids the opportunity to be successful,” she says.

Keren Rivas,
5/7/2013 3:00 PM