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January 15, 2003

ECISD director up for award

From: Odessa American, TX - 15 Jan 2003

By Raechal Leone
Odessa American

One of Ector County Independent School District’s own will be recognized in Austin today as a nominee for a statewide award.
Gay Jenkins, director of special education, is the Region 18 nominee for the Director of the Year Award for the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education.
TCASE officials are expected to name a winner today at the organization’s statewide meeting.
“I’m extremely honored that my peers nominated me,” said Jenkins, who has worked in her current position for about 12 years.
Special education directors throughout the 19-county region voted to nominate Jenkins. That in itself was an honor, Jenkins said. Winning the state award would be “icing on the cake,” she said.
Jenkins oversees about 60 employees in the special education office and another 250 employees who work at schools throughout the district.
“I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t have people who are supportive of what I do,” said Jenkins, who has worked in special education for 30 years. “This is reflective of the whole team that we have.”
Parent Nancy Hussey said the dedication of Jenkins and others in the special education department has made a difference in her daughter’s life.
Hussey’s daughter, Alicia, is deaf. A senior at Odessa High, Alicia has an interpreter provided by the special education department accompany her to classes —all of which are advanced or AP.
“Mrs. Jenkins has always been very accommodating,” Nancy Hussey said. “Anytime we have made a request, she has always worked with us.”
With the help of the special education department, Alicia Hussey has been able to work at a challenging academic level, Nancy Hussey said.
Under Jenkins, the special education department received a grade of 100 percent on a review by the Texas Education Agency last year.
The department has many successes like that, but it often has to celebrate them quietly because of the nature of its work, Jenkins said.
Awards such as the one Jenkins has been nominated for are nice because they publicly recognize the department, Jenkins said.
“It reinforces the fact that you have done what you’re supposed to do,” Jenkins said.

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