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SEF News & Success Stories

Announcing the Starfish Award Recipients!

adults standing and holding an award certificate

We are thrilled to share with you the winners of the Special Education Foundation’s Starfish Awards!

The SEF staff, SEF board members, our Women Leaders, and friends of the foundation embarked on a journey to each winner's school to deliver the thrilling news in person. Accompanied by superintendents, principals, fellow teachers, parents, and the families of our recipients, we turned each visit into an unforgettable experience as the surprised winners were greeted with cheers and applause as they entered the room. Witnessing their reactions, ranging from stunned disbelief to tears of joy, was an incredibly touching experience for all involved.

In these moments, we were reminded of these individuals' profound impact of dedication and compassion for the students they serve. Each visit became a celebration of resilience, kindness, and the transformative power of making a difference, leaving a lasting impression on everyone involved.

So grab some tissues and watch our emotional surprises for each winner!

David Peterson, Teacher - North Technical High School, SSD Schools

Dana Meinecke, Teacher of North Glendale Elementary, Subdistrict Five (Brentwood, Kirkwood, Lindbergh, Valley Park, Webster Groves)

Mallory Hurt, Teacher - Walker Elementary, Subdistrict One (Hazelwood, Jennings, Maplewood-Richmond Heights)

Katie Dowd, Teacher – Oakville Senior High, Subdistrict Two (Affton, Bayless, Hancock Place, Mehlville)

Kari Frazier, Teacher Barretts Elementary Subdistrict Three (Parkway)

Mary Reich-Hernandez, Teacher - Michelle Obama ECC, Subdistrict Four (Ferguson-Florissant, Pattonville, Riverview Gardens)

Kerry Bennett, Teacher – Ladue Horton Watkins High, Subdistrict Six (Ladue, Normandy, Ritenour, University City)

Marsha Davidson, SSD Substitute Paraprofessional - Green Pines Elementary, Subdistrict Seven (Clayton, Rockwood)