The St. Louis Public School District has presented the 2012 Dorothy R. Moog Special Education Teacher of the Year Award to Ms. Rhea Willis from Beaumont Career and Technical (CTE) High School.
A third generation educator, Ms. Willis has broken down education barriers by teaching students with and without disabilities together as the chair of the school’s Science Department.
“I pondered how to get students to engage together in a cooperative learning activity and decided to have them participate in a kinesthetic lab rat dissection activity,” said Willis.
“There were 35 students, some with disabilities and some without, working together as a team with differentiated worksheets and instructions that met each individual’s learning ability. You couldn’t distinguish which students had disabilities and which students did not. It was a wonderful experience.”
Willis joined the district in as a Special Education teacher in 2003; previously she worked eight years at the St. Louis County Special School District. She was recommended by Michael Brown, principal of Beaumont CTE High School; Ms. Linda Harding, Special Education Department Chair at Beaumont CTE High School; and Ms. Alverta Mooney Smith, RN and Health Careers Specialist/Health Sciences/Certified Nurse Assistant at Beaumont CTE High School.
As the 2012 Dorothy R. Moog Special Education Teacher of the Year Ms. Rhea Willis was honored with an awards reception and presented with a $500 award from the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation. In addition, she was presented with a trophy, a plaque, and a $500 award for classroom supplies and/or professional development through the Parsons Blewett Memorial Fund.