Home » News » Winners of 2016 Cain Sczepanski Awards For Excellence In Special Education Announced

Cain Sczepanski was a Lewisville ISD student who who took great pride in his school! His family says that’s because of the great educational experience and the inspiring LISD educators who worked with Cain. In the hopes of paying forward the great things done for their son, the Sczepanksi family established the Cain Sczepanski Award for Excellence in Special Education. The award is given each spring in Cain’s memory and honors Special Education personnel in LISD. Honorees are chosen from nominees submitted by parents of students in LISD’s Special Education programs and LISD staff. Congratulations to the 2016 winners!

IMG_3458Lillian Gilbert, Old Settlers Elementary: Lillian is known as an educator who goes above and beyond to make sure each student learns and grows academically, emotionally and socially. She holds students accountable but gives consequences in loving ways, always reminding students “tomorrow is a new day.” Students feel loved, safe and secure in her care, with one student writing on the nomination form, “She helps me calm down when I am upset.”

IMG_3489Tina Taylor, Briarhill Middle School: Tina is described as approachable, collaborative, and flexible in thought and strategy. She’s appreciated for her ability to think outside the box to accommodate individual student needs. Her students know she counts on them to do their best and they thrive because of her confidence and support. She is a valued colleague in her field because she cares about what happens in every aspect of students’ lives. Her students know this. “She helps me with EVERYTHING,” one 6th grade student said.

IMG_3859Kari Wiggins, Flower Mound High School: Kari is known by her peers as the “go-to” expert on Special Education. She works to do what is best for each student, and has an uncanny ability to know when to challenge a student, and when to hold their hand. She works to create independence by teaching students to advocate for themselves and set goals for themselves.


IMG_3692Denise Tooch, Marcus High School: Denise was described as an educator with a vision rarely found among teachers outside Special Education. She believes all students benefit when special education students are included in the theater program. Her approach gives special education students a chance to shine with their “typical” peers. She has goals and a vision to implement a program that would allow more special education students the chance to grow through musical theater.

Walter Jimenez, Focus on the Future: Walter works with students to create opportunities, such as the Comic Expo. He also created street hockey tournament for students with Dallas Stars players, which enabled students to gain skills by teaching other special needs students about street hockey. He started the print shop at Focus on the Future, which has given students marketable skills and led to job placements. He is described as an inIMG_3435novative and dedicated educator who instills leadership skills in students through comics, hockey, and print programs.

William Miller, Focus on the Future: William is instrumental in changing students’ focus from being a good student to becoming a good employee as they age out of program. He respects students and expects them to communicate for self as much as possible and inspires students to take pride in their appearance and maintain an organization system. He is known for his dedication and commitment to making sure everything is done with the students in mind, and is said to be always in the midst of students, working hands-on to direct their day in a patient and flexible manner.

More pictures from each presentation are posted in our Facebook album!