In 2010, only two special education teachers in the country were named Teacher of the Year for their states. One of them was Virginia's Catherine Webb who helped start a remarkable countywide program in Giles County for students with autism. Known for her ability to recognize a need and fill it, Catherine also opened the first licensed daycare and preschool in her county.
When she first began working with students on the autism spectrum, Catherine already had a master's degree in speech pathology. But when a supervisor told her about the graduate certificate in autism studies from Regent University, she decided to enroll. Catherine says the principles and strategies she learned while earning her post-graduate certificate at Regent are still the benchmark standards she uses today.
Despite the challenges of teaching in today's classroom, she is quick to share that the role of a teacher is "mission possible." "There was and always will be a challenge in education," Catherine says. "But teachers of excellence possess these three qualities: passion, optimism and possibility. And I believe those qualities abound in Virginia teachers."
Always an advocate for her students, Catherine says that one of the greatest honors of being named Teacher of the Year was her trip to the Oval Office and chance to talk about the education needs of students with autism.
"My credentials helped earn me the respect of parents and the confidence of school leaders. I'm so pleased that I could go one step further and share on a national level." Catherine's other community service includes her role as past president of the Junior Women's Club as well as of the local Parent Teacher Association (PTA).
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