Special Education Instructor Works with Students with Autism
Special Education teacher Marsha Cornwell isn't used to having many adults in her classroom, but on May 22, it was filled with administrators and colleagues bearing balloons, flowers, and good news—that she had been selected as the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) 2016 Teacher of the Year.
A resident of Sacramento, Cornwell was one of 15 SCOE teachers nominated to compete for the honor. She teaches 7th- and 8th-graders with autism at Wilson C. Riles Middle School, in the Center Joint Unified School District. She has been employed by SCOE since 1980 and has been honored three times as a SCOE Employee of the Month.
"Teaching is an awesome career. We bring hope to the next generation," says Cornwell. "Teachers make the difference in the lives of children, as advocates and role models."
Joining Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon in making the announcement was Special Education Principal Lauren Roth. "Marsha is calm and encouraging to all of her students with autism," said Roth. "She is a 'teacher-leader' who not only works collaboratively with the students and their families, but also with general education teachers at the Wilson C. Riles site."
Cornwell has a B.A. in Psychology/Child Development and an M.A. in Special Education, both from Sacramento State. She has served as a visiting educator in Uganda, Belize, and Ethiopia, and has tutored ESL (English as a Second Language) adults for the Sacramento Literacy Foundation.
Since 1988, SCOE has celebrated its teachers and the important work they do by selecting a SCOE Teacher of the Year. SCOE teachers are nominated to compete by parents, staff, management, or their peers. The nominees go through a selection process, answering written questions and being formally interviewed. Teachers report that this process helps them see their many accomplishments and they come away with a renewed sense of dedication and a reminder of why they entered the teaching profession.
Cornwell will be honored August 14, 2015, along with teachers representing other Sacramento County school districts, at the annual Teachers of the Year Awards banquet. During the ceremony, two teachers will be named the 2016 Sacramento County Teachers of the Year and will become eligible to compete in the California Teachers of the Year Program.