2023 Awards for Excellence in Deafblind Education

A young boy enjoys relaxing in the pillows with a book.
A young boy enjoys relaxing in the pillows with a book.

Each Symposium year the Texas Deafblind Project asks for nominations for groups and individuals who demonstrate excellence in deafblind education as well as support and advocacy for individuals who are deafblind and their families. 

We greatly value the contributions of family members, professionals, paraprofessionals and community members who do so much to improve the educational outcomes for individuals who are deafblind. We encourage you to nominate someone (or more than one) for any of these categories by going to our online nomination form.

Nominations must be submitted by Friday, February 3, 2023 to be considered.

Trail Blazer Award

Given to a family member(s) who has, through their advocacy or efforts on behalf of their family member with deafblindness, blazed a trail that has made it easier for other families who follow.

Previous winners include:

      •  2000 Pat McCallum, Bud & Lynne Freeman, Celeste & Riley Rand, Larry & Clarke, and all the families who pioneered services in Texas for their children with deafblindness.
      • 2003 Norm McCallum
      • 2005 Paul, Susie, and Leo Welch  
      • 2007 Cathy Springer
      • 2009 Melanie and Gary Knapp
      • 2011 Rubina & Fareed Khan
      • 2013 Brownie Shott
      • 2015 Molly Roberts
      • 2017 Kathi & David Barksdale
      • 2019 Jacquline Izaguirre
      • 2021 Becky Harmon

Educational  Intervener Award

Given to an intervener who has demonstrated excellence in their role of support to a child with deafblindness and whose efforts have contributed to the success of the intervener model in the educational setting in Texas.

Previous winners include:

      • 2000 Ann Bielert, Houston, TX
      • 2003 Mercedes Brown Killeen, TX
      • 2005 Helen Porter, Amarillo, TX
      • 2007 Kristen Riggs & Tasha Vaughn-Brittain, Regional Day School Program for the Deaf, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
      • 2009 Gloria Authement
      • 2011 Irma Lopez, TSD, Austin, TX
      • 2013 Laura Cornell, Granbury ISD and Chelsea Dean
      • 2015 Ruthanne “Mimi” Garcia
      • 2017 Geri Ortiz
      • 2019 Annie Waugh & Rusty Alford
      • 2021 Melody Rogers

David Wiley Home and Community Intervener Award

Given to an intervener who has demonstrated excellence in their role of support to a child or adult with deafblindness and whose efforts have contributed to the success of the intervener model in the community setting in Texas.

Previous Winner:

      • 2021 Luis Miranda

Ann Silverrain Award

Given to an individual who has made an extraordinary commitment to improving the lives of individuals who are Deafblind in Texas.

Previous winners include:

      • 2000 Randy Feille, TCB, Austin, TX
      • 2003 Steve Schoen, TRC, Austin, TX
      • 2005 Gay Bellamy, San Antonio, TX
      • 2007 Fran La Ware, Behavior Specialist TSBVI, Austin, TX
      • 2009 Vivecca Hartman 2011 C. Colman Davis, (“C.C.”) DARS, Dallas TX
      • 2013 Deanna Peterson, TSBVI
      • 2015 Susan Starnes, DARS, Austin, TX
      • 2017 Carolina Gonzalez, TSBVI, Austin, TX
      • 2019 Marina McCormick
      • 2021 Elaine Robertson

Marty Murrell Excellence in Education Award

Given to a professional in education who has made a long-term commitment to excellence in education for Texas students who are Deafblind.

Previous winners include:

      • 2000 Karen Buchine, RDSPD, Houston, TX
      • 2003 Mary Scott, ESC Region 3, Victoria, TX
      • 2005 Tish Smith, TSBVI, Austin, TX
      • 2007 Sharon Parham, Supervisor, Sandy Chance Lead Teacher, Johanna Borg, Classroom Teacher, and Lisa Moore, Parent Infant Advisor, Regional Day School for the Deaf, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
      • 2009 Matt Schultz, TSBVI, Austin, TX
      • 2011 Susan Lawrence, Region 10 ESC, Richardson, TX
      • 2013 Jennifer Lester, Luis Miranda, Johanna Borg, Elsie Rao, Vicki Cole and Karen Lampkin-Johnson; Spring Branch ISD
      • 2015 Cecilia Robinson, ESC Region 4, Houston, TX
      • 2017 McNeil RDSPD, Round Rock, TX
      • 2019 Kaycee Bennett
      • 2021 Susie Tiggs