Jennifer C. Nelson received the Outstanding Early Career Professional Award from the Neag School of Education Alumni Society of the University of Connecticut. Nelson was recently recognized at the 16th Annual Awards Dinner of the Neag School of Education Alumni Society.
Nelson received her BS in special education in 2009 and MA in special education in 2010 from the Neag School of Education. Nelson currently serves as a special education teacher in Ridgefield Public Schools in Ridgefield, CT.
“Teaching students with special needs is truly Ms. Nelson’s passion,” said Mark Solomon, principal of Scotland Elementary School of the Ridgefield Public Schools. “Any progress made by one of Ms. Nelson’s students, no matter how small, makes her day, and any shortcoming is an accepted challenge that Ms. Nelson can and will overcome.”
Working in the RISE program at Scotland Elementary School, Nelson’s responsibility includes creating and initiating a specialized program for students with autism, oppositional defiant disorder, speech and language impairment, hearing impairment, visual impairment, developmental delay and multiple disabilities. She also collaborates with administrators, teachers, related service providers and students in designing and implementing district and school wide programs and interventions to promote positive student behavior.
Nelson’s family said that teaching has been her life passion. “Throughout her high school career, Jennifer took every opportunity to immerse herself into the life of a teacher, through volunteer work, school clubs and jobs all pertaining to teaching and helping children,” said Elisabeth Johnson, Nelson’s sister.
Nelson’s extensive experiences from student teaching, summer internship, paraprofessional and clinic placement brought her to schools in varied districts in the state, including Montville, Hartford, Willington, North Windham and Willimantic.
“You have to be an amazing person with a caring nature, positive attitude and above all patience to work with a group of children with intensive special needs,” said Stacey Grijns, a mother of a RISE student. “We often call Ms. Nelson our guardian angel watching over our son, our family and everyone in the RISE program. She does this with a never ending smile and love for her job.”
Nelson is expected to graduate from the Applied Behavior Analysis Professional Development Program at Florida Institute of Technology. She holds a positive behavior supports certification gained from Neag School of Education in 2010.
For more information about Neag School of Education or the Neag School Alumni Society Awards Dinner, visit www.education.uconn.edu.