Specialized Education Services, Inc. Unveils 2023 Staff and Teacher of the Year Winners

Annual awards program recognizes commitment and excellence in special and alternative education

PHILADELPHIA, May 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI), a division of FullBloom, a premier provider of education services for K-12 students who require additional educational and positive behavioral supports to overcome challenges that impede success in a traditional school setting, today announced Kristi Hoffman as its 2023 Teacher of the Year (TOY) and Ashanti Brooks as its 2023 Staff of the Year (STOY). The designations were officially made last week as SESI celebrated Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week.

SESI’s second annual STOY designation honors teachers who exemplify high-quality, evidence-based instruction and the importance of equitable education for all SESI students. New for 2023, full-time employees including social workers, behavior specialists and paraprofessionals, were eligible for nomination. The STOY program recognizes exemplary staff who demonstrate unparalleled dedication to supporting all students.

“SESI is delighted to celebrate Kristi and Ashanti, regional and campus level winners, and all nominees on the heels of this important week devoted to honoring the exceptional professionals in education,” said Dawn Thomas, president of SESI. “Our compassionate staff and teachers work tirelessly to unlock the potential of every student, a mission that has become increasingly crucial as the number of students receiving special education has grown over the past decade. Their passion for fostering student growth is evident in every classroom, therapy session and special activity.”

A teacher at Missouri’s High Road School of Wright City since 2019, Hoffman has made a significant difference in the lives of numerous students. Her dedication to creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment and emphasis on collaboration with colleagues and families have helped distinguish Hoffman as an outstanding special education teacher. Her unwavering commitment to students serves as a testament to the exceptional work happening within the SESI community of schools. Hoffman’s colleagues call her the “the light of the school.”

“I am so humbled to receive this honor,” said Hoffman. “My philosophy of learning and education is that once the foundation of a trusting relationship is built, then vulnerabilities can be expressed. Real learning and life lessons take place in everyday conversations.”

Marking over a decade of service as a key founding member of the Excel Academies of Chicago community, Brooks demonstrates exceptional dedication and skill in her multifaceted role as regional enrollment and recruiter coordinator. A familiar face known by students and staff, Brooks said the impact she makes on young people keeps her motivated year after year. Her reach extends far beyond the classroom, going out of her way to answer texts from students after hours and weekends, ensuring she is a continuous source of support. Brooks even coaches the boys basketball team.

In describing her personal philosophy, Brooks said: “Your story may be their story.”

"You never know what someone may be going through, or what may be hindering them from making the academic gains we know they can,” she said.

With more than 2,800 educators and staff members at almost 200 private day schools and in-district classrooms for students with diverse academic, behavioral and social-emotional learning needs, SESI is one of the largest employers of teachers nationwide. Hoffman and Brooks were selected, along with campus, regional and divisional winners, by a SESI leadership panel.

The program’s goals include enhancing the visibility and importance of supporting teachers, promoting the value of quality education and learning for the future, recognizing and honoring educators and staff who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence, and building an effective professional learning community.

To learn more about SESI’s Staff and Teacher of the Year program and see the full list of divisional, regional and campus winners, visit: www.sesischools.com/teacher-and-staff-of-the-year.

About Specialized Education Services, Inc.
Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI), a division of FullBloom, is a premier provider of education services for K-12 students who require additional educational and behavioral supports to overcome challenges that impede success in a traditional school setting. SESI partners with school districts to run classrooms, on-site, within district boundaries and standalone schools that meet the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs of special education students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Emotional Disabilities, Learning Disabilities, and other challenges. Partnering with over 600 school districts nationwide, SESI serves more than 7,000 students in day schools and in-district classrooms. SESI is accredited by Cognia.


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