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Meet CEC’s 2023 Professional Award Recipients

Award next to text "2023 Professional Award Recipients"

The Council for Exceptional Children extends a hearty congratulations to the recipients of our 2023 professional awards! These individuals will be recognized during an Awards Luncheon at 2023 CEC Convention and Expo in Louisville on March 2, 2023 from 11am – 1pm ET.


2023 Special Education Teacher of the Year

Dr. Kristie Jo Redfering Dr. Kristie Jo Redfering, a special education teacher at Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center in Pinellas Park, Florida, knows her students inside and out, and strategically creates the ideal learning environment for all. She inspires and mentors fellow educators to make an impact on countless lives in her district and state. Learn more.  

2023 Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. William K. (Bill) Bogdan During his nearly 50 years of membership, Dr. Bogdan has leveraged CEC in truly unique ways as a platform to impact special education and special educators. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to individuals with exceptionalities. Dr. Bogdan works tirelessly to promote the dignity and worth of all individuals, regardless of disability, family status, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background. He is a true visionary leader who never stops dreaming of what can be.  Learn more. 

2023 Outstanding CEC Leadership Award

Dr. Mikki Garcia Dr. Garcia, with her extensive CEC volunteer resume, has held numerous CEC leadership positions, from the state unit level as President of Georgia CEC, to serving as CEC President in 2017. Her steadfast commitment to equitable opportunities for diverse leaders bodes well for the future leadership of not only CEC, but within special education. Learn more.

2023 Special Education Researcher Award

Dr. Tim Lewis Tim Lewis, Ph.D., a Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Special Education at the University of Missouri, has made significant contributions to the area of emotional and behavior disorders. Impressively, he has secured over $80 million in grants to support his work, plus additional federal leadership training grants and has chaired over 25 doctoral dissertations.  Learn more.

2023 Rising Star Special Educator of the Year Award

Angela Miller, M.Ed. Angela Miller, M.Ed., a support facilitation teacher at Chisholm Elementary School in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, works with a team of 19 exceptional student educators (ESE), 11 of whom are either new to ESE, new to the state, or new to the school. There are an incredible number of moving parts to what special educators do, and Angela has singlehandedly ensured, of her own accord, every one of her team has what they need. Learn more.

2023 Outstanding Student Chapter Advisor Awards

Dr. Shamby Polychronis Dr. Polychronis has been a special education teacher, professor, instructor, and advisor over the past 24 years. Her volunteer resume is extensive, having held leadership positions in her state CEC unit, as well as various committees and boards. Now, as the University of Utah’s Student CEC Chapter Advisor, she has grown the membership from 1 student to an impressive 42 in just 3 years. Learn more.

Dr. Jonté “JT” Taylor Dr. Taylor has been helping shape the future of the profession, serving the Pennsylvania State University Student CEC Chapter Advisor, for the past seven years. He embraces his advisory role, going above and beyond what is required to ensure his chapter members get the most out of their experience. Dr. Taylor also currently serves as co-chair of CEC’s Leadership Development Committee. Learn more.


Posted:  23 January, 2023

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