The Bill Ellis Award is presented annually to an educator or other professional who demonstrates excellence in practice and a commitment to all students, including those with learning and attention issues.

Established in 1996, the award honors Bill Ellis, a great humanitarian, educator and visionary who served as NCLD’s director of professional services from 1991 until his death in 1995.

It was Bill’s vision in the field of learning disabilities that framed much of what NCLD has become. He led the organization by collaborating with other learning disabilities organizations and establishing a growing presence on a national level; he recognized the importance of early intervention for children with learning disabilities; he valued the roles that general educators play in the lives of children with learning disabilities; and he helped create the first of NCLD’s highly respected national summits: The 1994 summit, an event that presented learning disabilities to the highest levels of government.

In May 1996, Bill’s last great undertaking was realizing NCLD’s National Summit on Teacher Preparation. Although sadly, Bill was not able to attend the summit, it was his idea and dream to establish a forum where general and special educators could join together to shape the future of teaching.

Bill saw beyond the world of learning and attention issues and recognized the need to reach all educators.

For more information about this award, please visit FAQ.

Past Winners of the Bill Ellis Award:

2016 – Claudia Koochek 
Head of School, Westmark School
Encino, CA

2015 – Dr. Nikolai Vitti
Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools
Jacksonville, FL

2014 – Candace Cortiella
Director of the Advocacy Institute
metropolitan Washington, DC

2013 – John Carruth
Assistant Superintendent of Special Programs and Projects for the Vail Unified School District
Tucson, AZ

2012 – Dr. Lydia Carlis
Chief of Research and Innovation, AppleTree Institute
Washington, DC

2011 – Karin Lewis
Reading Specialist, Hill Elementary School
West Aurora, Illinois

2010 – Thomas Komp
Principal, Boulevard Elementary School
Gloversville, New York

2009 – Evelyn Rivera, M.Ed.
Professional Development Resource Teacher
School District of Lee County, Florida

2008 – Judy Elliott
Chief Academic Officer, Los Angeles Unified School District
Los Angeles, California

2007 – Kimberly Weber
Principal, Chavez Elementary School
Long Beach, California

2006 – Joyce Bannerot
Popham Elementary School
Del Valle, Texas

2005 – Jennifer Combs
Whitney Elementary School
Boise, Idaho

2004 – Cathy Graf
Charlotte Park Elementary School
Nashville, Tennessee

2003 – Brian Coffey
William H. Kelso Elementary School
Inglewood, California

2002 – Francine N.K. Cummings
Scottdale Child Development Center
Scottdale, Georgia

2001 – Sandi Apuna
Superstition Springs Elementary School
Mesa, Arizona

2000 – Mary Hailes
Seaton Elementary School
Washington, DC

1999 – Lisa Mosier
Frances Starms Early Childhood Center
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1998 – Peggy Couch
Antioch Middle School
Overland Park, Kansas

1997 – Luis Velazquez
Roger C. Sullivan High School
Chicago, Illinois

1996 – Carolyn Denise Witcher Sessoms, Ed.D.
Rudolph Elementary School
Washington, District of Columbia

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