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Award Recipients



Dr. Deborah Ziegler: Recipient of DISES International Leadership Award

Dr. Deborah Ziegler has made extraordinary contributions and accomplishments in her leadership and advocacy work to promote inclusive education for individuals with disabilities and their families throughout the world over the past several decades. Dr. Ziegler has demonstrated strong leadership skills in her roles as Assistant Executive Director and Director of Policy, Advocacy and Global Services at the Council of Exceptional Children for the past 20 years. In these roles she has initiated several global projects and policies that have contributed greatly to improving services for individuals with disabilities in Kuwait, Russia, the Ukraine, and other Eastern European countries in need of the knowledge and professional development for teachers and parents to advance their education agenda for individuals with disabilities. Dr. Ziegler is recognized for her impact and global efforts to advocate for the rights of individuals with disabilities at the international level. Her work on the boards of several international disability organizations has focused on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is reflected in her work as Editor of the book, Inclusion for ALL: The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities- one significant voice to advocate for inclusive education throughout the world. Therefore, we, as members of the Division of Special Education and Services do proclaim the DISES Distinguished International Leadership Award be named the Dr. Deborah Ziegler DISES Distinguished International Leadership Award.



Beckett Haight: Recipient of DISES Distinguished International Teacher's Award

Beckett Haight serves as a Learning Support Teacher as well as the English Language Learner Coordinator at the Canguu Community School in Bali, Indonesia. Beckett holds a Master's Degree in special education as well as in Educational Technology. He has been involved in the field for 20+ years as a volunteer, teacher and teacher assistant. Additionally, it is noted that Beckett is a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Exceptional Needs.



Katherine Brendli: Recipient of the DISES Student Research Award

Katherine Brendli is a doctoral candidate in Special Education and Disability Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University expected to complete her work in May 2020 with a Dissertation on the Effects of a self-advocacy intervention on the ability of college students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to request academic accommodations.

Katherine presently serves as a Research Assistant within her department where she is the lead member of the Teacher Retention and Transition Lab involving her in grant work, administration, curriculum development, research, and much more. She is active in her scholarly work to include writing and presentations and is the co-founder of the soon to be Cross-cultural Student Association in partnership with the Asian-American Education Studies. The goal of the Cross-cultural Student Association is to encourage international and interdisciplinary collaboration between graduate students across cultures and areas of study. Dr. Xu, a professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education at Virginia Commonwealth writes in her letter of nomination that Katherine has been an outstanding doctoral student from all aspects, and her leadership and service on international collaborations and projects make her an exceptionally strong candidate for this award. As a student leader, special education researcher, and cultural ambassador, Katie has made significant and meaningful contributions to our international projects in China.




View past award recipients here!