Deidre Gilley Selected to Receive a 2023 Outstanding Student of the Year Award
Arlington, Va., February 27, 2023 ― Deidre Gilley, a doctorate student at Florida State University (FSU), was selected as a recipient of a 2023 Outstanding Student of the Year Award by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). This award recognizes CEC's outstanding college and university student members—undergraduate and graduate students—who make outstanding contributions to CEC and to children and youth with exceptionalities.
Deidre Gilley is currently a doctorate student at Florida State University (FSU) who has been involved with CEC since her master’s program. She was president of her undergraduate school’s pre-service teacher organization for three years, president of Florida State’s Council for Exceptional Children (FSU CEC) organization for two years, is going on her third year of co-advising FSU CEC’s organization and is on her second year of being Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD) Student Representative. When Deidre isn’t busy with her studies or volunteering, she’s spreading knowledge by presenting. Over the past five years, Deidre has hosted 17 presentations to the CEC community. Her posters and presentations have been viewed at CEC convention, division conferences, and more.
Deidre has a long-standing passion for supporting the lives of students and individuals with exceptionalities. She was a peer tutor from 5th to 12th grade and a Sponsored Leader within Knox County’s Special Olympics Organization and a Unified Sports Representative. She even lead the “Rid the World of the R-Word” campaign in her high school. During her undergraduate studies, she became president of the Special Education Teacher Organization for pre-service special education teachers. She led multiple campaigns and events in the community, volunteered for North Carolina’s Special Olympics, and raised money for special education programs.
Her nominator, Dr. Jenny Root, Associate Professor of Special Education at FSU, is proud to watch and support Diedre as she shines. Dr. Root says “Deidre is a highly thoughtful scholar, special educator, mentor, and leader. She will be a leader among the next wave of national experts in supporting students and young adults with exceptionalities to transition from the K-12 to post-secondary settings.”