Teacher Consultant Katrina Fitzpatrick named Michigan’s only 2019 award recipient.
Amid a gathering of 2019 Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) Young Adult graduates and WISD staff at their annual graduation dinner, Superintendent Scott Menzel made a surprise announcement recognizing Katrina Fitzpatrick as one of the winners of the 2019 Outstanding Special Education Teacher Award. Fitzpatrick is Teacher Consultant for WISD, and is the only educator in Michigan recognized for this year’s award presented by the National Association of Special Education Teachers.
“Our special education educators do incredible work, and for Katrina to be recognized nationally is a true testament to her dedication, care, and effective approach working with students with disabilities in Washtenaw County. As an organization, we are extremely proud of Katrina and her commitment to students,” said WISD Superintendent Scott Menzel.
“Katrina has been a mentor and role model of mine for nine years. I met Katrina as we worked together, in my second-year teaching, with a student who had Autism Spectrum Disorder,” writes Fitzpatrick’s nominator, Kalli Nowitzke, WISD Teacher for the Young Adult Program. “Katrina teaches others that by thinking outside the box and trying what others are afraid to try, one can help make dreams come true.”
The Outstanding Special Education Teacher Award is bestowed on special education teachers who have demonstrated exemplary achievement as a teacher in the field of special education. It recognizes and rewards the special skills and excellence of special education teachers throughout the United States annually.
Fitzpatrick has been with the WISD for over 38 years and has worked with students and staff throughout Washtenaw County ranging from early childhood through Young Adult. Her greatest impact is supporting students with disabilities in the Young Adult Program who transition to living independently, which includes learning how to use public transportation, obtaining and maintaining a job, and financially supporting themselves.
“Katrina has created opportunities for students who may not have had an opportunity to be part of a community,” Nowitzke states at the closing her nomination. “By using her determination and distinctive approach to teaching, she has transformed students and the changes have lasted.”
WISD’s Young Adult Program serves over 125 special education students ages 18-26 years old at nine community-based sites across Washtenaw County. For more information on WISD’s Young Adult Program, click here.
The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) is a national membership organization dedicated to supporting and assisting teachers and future teachers of special education.