April Regester receives Special Ambassador Award from St. Louis Special School District

April Regester, Special AmbassadorAward

The Special School District of St. Louis County presented UMSL Associate Professor April Regester (at left) with its Special Ambassador Award on March 8. She’s pictured here with her husband, Mark Regester (in back), and nominators Michelle Levi Perez (center) and Debra Fiasco. (Photo courtesy of April Regester)

Collaborating with the Special School District of St. Louis County is nothing new for University of Missouri–St. Louis Associate Professor of Special Education April Regester – but being honored by its leaders is.

As thanks for seven years of innovative and inclusive work on behalf of students, families and community partners, SSD recently chose to celebrate Regester by presenting her with its highest accolade, the 2017 Special Ambassador Award.

Presented at the annual SSD Salutes banquet March 8, the Special Ambassador Award is meant to honor individuals and organizations who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to the students and staff of SSD. It’s an accolade Regester says she’s deeply humbled by.

“They have been great collaborators from the minute I moved to St. Louis,” she says. “I’m so excited and honored by this award.”

According to Michelle Levi Perez, SSD’s administrator of parent education and diversity awareness, Regester is a model recipient.

April Regester, SSD Special Ambassador

“She sees the potential in all of us. It’s an honor to work with such a dedicated, passionate and committed professor,” says SSD’s Lisa Powers (at left) about UMSL’s April Regester.

“Dr. Regester’s work touches so many different people in our organization,” said Levi Perez. “We were all thrilled to support her nomination. She embodies, lives and breathes the SSD vision of partnering for student success.”

For Regester, who has been working with SSD since joining the UMSL College of Education’s Department of Educator Preparation, Innovation and Research in 2010, that partnering has taken on many different forms.

She’s an active and engaged member of SSD’s Inclusive Education Stakeholders Committee, has worked with SSD to develop scholarship opportunities so that parents and students can attend education-related conferences and events, and has invited SSD employees to be a part of the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform (better known as CEEDAR) – a federally funded initiative that Regester helped bring to UMSL.

She is also a regular presenter at parent groups and meetings on topics related to inclusive education best practices and has built partnerships between UMSL and SSD that provide further education and training opportunities for SSD staff. In short, Regester is always on the lookout for new ways to share her expertise and passion when it comes to equitable education opportunities for all students.

Her Special Ambassador Award nominators say it’s those very students – whether at SSD or UMSL – whom she never loses sight of during her many other efforts.

“In addition to instructing new teachers, she also instructs young adults with developmental disabilities and utilizes SSD professional learning opportunities to offer the students access to broad topics and new thinking,” says Levi Perez. “Believing that all students can learn and walking the walk of inclusive teaching are hallmarks of her enormous impact.”

“Communities and schools are transformed by Dr. Regester’s work,” adds Lisa Powers, SSD’s area coordinator for planning and development. “She has changed the trajectory of many children, youth and their families’ lives in a positive direction forever.”

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