Earlier this week, the Wayne County Board of Education recognized Sarah Jensen, an Exceptional Children teacher at Meadow Lane Elementary. She received a Board Spotlight because she was recognized in November by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction as a 2021-2022 Exceptional Children Educator of Excellence. One Exceptional Children teacher or related service provider from each of the state’s 115 school districts received the award.
To become an Exceptional Children Educator of Excellence, nominees must be a full-time school employee, provide direct instruction or therapy to students with disabilities, and be recognized as a leader in service to the school and/or school district through innovative instructional programs or methodologies that have demonstrated positive outcomes for students with disabilities. An Exceptional Children Educator of Excellence must also demonstrate a positive reflection on the education profession.
Ms. Jensen began her teaching career with Wayne County Public Schools in 2006 as a separate setting classroom teacher in an elementary school, providing instruction and support for cross-categorical students in her classroom. In 2013, Ms. Jensen changed her focus as an Exceptional Children’s Teacher as she became the teacher of the first district elementary classroom for students with Autism. Ms. Jensen continues to support students with Autism across our district as the teacher of the district’s second classroom for ASD students. She also provides district-level support to middle and high school ASD students as a member of the district’s Autism Support Team.
Ms. Jensen has supported many students, their families and community agency representatives in her role as an Exceptional Children’s teacher over the past 15 years. As the IEP Chairperson at her current elementary school, Ms. Jensen provides leadership and direction to her peers and her colleagues ensuring that compliance and programming information is communicated with all stakeholders. Additionally, Ms. Jensen supports the district as she accepts additional responsibilities during after-school and summer time periods facilitating eligibility and reevaluation processes for students with disabilities. During the year, Ms. Jensen supports the district’s Autism Support Team through monthly meetings and professional development.
As an Educator of Excellence, Ms. Jensen received a paid registration to the Exceptional Children Division 70th Annual Conference, attended a special ceremony honoring the Educators of Excellence, and had her photo displayed in a prominent location throughout the conference.
On Monday evening, Board of Education Member Craig Foucht presented a certificate of recognition to Ms. Jensen for her achievement.
Foucht closed the presentation with the following comment, "Ms. Jensen, on behalf of the Board, we congratulate you on your achievement, and thank you for your contributions to the Exceptional Children Program, our schools, and most importantly the students and families who are in need of your educational support and services."