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Professional Awards

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About CEC Professional Awards

CEC's Professional Awards provide a unique opportunity to recognize and honor the outstanding achievements and exceptional contributions of our colleagues who have dedicated themselves to advancing the field of special education and improving the quality of instruction and supports provided to individuals with disabilities. Through their efforts, they have also helped move CEC forward in significant ways.

Questions? Contact the staff liaison to the Honors Committee 

A list of past award recipients can be found at the bottom of the page for each individual award.

Professional Awards Categories
The CEC Teacher of the Year Award
This award recognizes a CEC member teacher who currently provides instruction to students with exceptionalities and is an outstanding member of the profession. His or her work exemplifies the best in special education teaching and reflects significant, documented positive outcomes for students, continued professional development, and the highest standards of educational quality.
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The CEC Outstanding Student Chapter Advisor Award
This award recognizes a college/university CEC Student Chapter Advisor who has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to engaging students in their CEC Chapter and guiding their educational, personal, and professional development in the field of special education.
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The CEC Special Educator Rising Star Award
This award recognizes a CEC member teacher who is in the first five years of their special education career who has shown exceptional potential for leadership in teaching, service, and/or scholarship.
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The CEC Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award
This award recognizes an individual who has made continued and sustained contributions to positive outcomes for children and youth with exceptionalities.  
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The CEC Special Education Research Award
This award recognizes a CEC member* whose research has had a direct impact on practice, programs, or policy needs and has improved positive outcomes for children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.
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The Outstanding CEC Leadership Award
This award honors a CEC member who has made significant contributions to the Council’s programs and activities at the local, state/provincial, and national/international level over an extended period of time.

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The CEC Outstanding Paraeducator Award
This award is intended to honor CEC paraeducator members who are currently involved in direct or related services to students with disabilities and provide exemplary service to students and special educators.
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Questions? Please contact Sharon Rodriguez at

Last Updated:  29 August, 2023

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