Making a difference
The results are in for the annual KCSOS You Make a Difference Awards that recognize outstanding service to education
Every summer, KCSOS solicits nominations for its annual You Make a Difference Awards that recognize Outstanding Service to Education, Innovation in Education and Distinguished Service. Final selections were recently made by a committee consisting of office employees who judged nominees on “dedication and contributions to the success of the overall mission of the organization.”
This year’s four distinguished honorees are Stacy L. Inman, Simona Othart-Rohten, Karlyn Farber, and Pam Sanders.
Karlyn Farber (Innovation in Education Award)
Karlyn has worked diligently and passionately for two years on a SELPA-wide project to improve its members ability to help kids with the most severe social and behavioral barriers to learning. She spearheaded the revising of the Behavior Intervention Case Manager (BICM) training series that is provided by the SELPA for member districts and KCSOS’s Special Education Program.
The new training and support format allows educational personnel to better support students with behavioral challenges and, in the end, reduce placements in more costly and restrictive settings.
Her synthesis of best practices, current research and re-tooling of forms and content earned her an invite to speak and share her work at the statewide Behavior Support Training Network and the California Department of Education.
Stacy L. Inman (Distinguished Service Award)
Stacy is a woman of action in her career as a school attorney focusing on special education issues, so it comes as no surprise that the same can be said of her in her personal life. Because of her efforts on behalf of those afflicted with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (also known as “ALS”), Kern County residents suffering from this progressively debilitating disease and their families now have local resources to turn to in learning to live with this condition.
When Stacy’s husband was unexpectedly diagnosed with ALS, Stacy found that local resources were very limited. She and her family had to travel to Ventura County to access resources and a support group. Stacy and her husband wasted no time in organizing an annual “Walk to D’Feet ALS,” which has to date generated significant funds to provide research and support through the nonprofit ALS Association. They were instrumental in the establishment of a local chapter, support group and equipment loan program. Stacy serves as an Advisory Trustee for the ALS Association’s Golden West Chapter, serving 31 California counties.
The Distinguished Service Award recognizes those who promote diversity in the community as well as community service. Our community at large, and those with ALS and their families in particular, are much better off thanks to Stacy’s efforts. She has demonstrated that action and hard work can change lives.
Simona Othart-Rohten (Larry E. Reider Outstanding Service to Education Award)
Simona had taught special education for the county office for more than 30 before retiring last spring.
Her colleagues agree that she demonstrated what it meant to be a great teacher, every day. Her heart was in it for all the right reason.
“I cannot express just how much she has impacted my view of teaching and working with children,” said fellow special education teacher Amber Forzetting, who nominated Simona for the honor. “She is a great mentor and I am very sad to see her go.”
She added: “It’s so great to see her go out with an award reinforcing just how appreciative we are of all she has taught each and every one of us.”
Pam Sanders (Larry E. Reider Outstanding Service to Education Award)
Pam Sanders, who recently retired from KCSOS after 15 years, definitely made her mark on the organization. This was apparent by the volume of nominations she received for this year’s Larry E. Reider Outstanding Service to Education award. She was humbled by the recognition, but was quick to acknowledge KCSOS made an equally big impact on her.
“The thing that I have absolutely most enjoyed about working at KCSOS has been the opportunity to get to know so many wonderful people,” she said. “I am so proud to have been part of this organization and hope I have left a legacy of passion for service and leadership.”
Pam and her husband Greg have moved back to their home state of Virginia, but will spend the winter months in Los Osos, Calif.