Grace College Student, Professor, Alumna Recognized by Indiana’s Council for Exceptional Children
Grace College student Johannah Siers, adjunct professor Dr. Tara Rinehart and alumna Hannah Maschino, were recently recognized by Indiana’s Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) for their outstanding commitment to special education. The CEC is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the success of children and youth with disabilities.
“It is always exciting to have a Grace student or faculty recognized at the Focus on Inclusion Conference, but to have a student, faculty and alumna recognized this year is an absolute honor and really illustrates the way we value special education at Grace,” said Dr. Cheryl Bremer, dean of the School of Education at Grace.
Siers, a senior elementary education and special education major from Elgin, Illinois, was awarded the “Littlejohn Scholarship.” The $500 scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student who has chosen to pursue licensing in special education and is dedicated to the principles and high professional standards of Dr. William Littlejohn, a special education researcher, teacher and advocate.
Siers student taught the last session in a self-contained classroom at Jefferson Elementary School in Warsaw, Indiana, and is currently student teaching first-grade at North Webster Elementary School in North Webster, Indiana. Siers hopes to teach in a self-contained classroom when she graduates this May.
“Johannah’s compassion and commitment to students with disabilities were evident from the first day I met her, first as an advisee, then as a student and finally as the president of the Grace CEC chapter,” said Bremer. “In the classroom, Johannah demonstrates academic excellence and continuously strives to learn and seek out opportunities that enlarge her knowledge about the field of special education.”
Rinehart, an adjunct professor for Grace’s online intense intervention licensure from Zionsville, Indiana, was awarded “Outstanding Administrator of the Year.”
Rinehart has been the director of special services at the MSD Wayne Township school district in Indianapolis since 2011. Formerly, she was an elementary principal and district director of exceptional learners in North Montgomery School Corporation. She has also worked at the Indiana Department of Education, served as a special education department chair for the Brownsburg Community School Corporation and taught special education K-12 in Arizona and Iowa.
Rinehart graduated with her Ph.D. and Education Specialist from Indiana State University. She also holds a K-12 mild intervention license, an intense intervention license, a building level administrator license and a superintendent license.
“Our students learn so much from Dr. Rinehart’s diverse experience in her Policy and Practices in Intense Intervention course,” said Bremer. “She is an outstanding administrator and professor. This award is very well deserved.”
Also from MSD of Wayne Township, Maschino, an Intermediate THRIVE teacher at Robey Elementary was awarded the “Special Educator Rising Star of the Year.”
The CEC award is a second for Maschino, who won the CEC “Student Member of the Year” in 2019 while a student at Grace. At the 2019 awards ceremony, Maschino met and was offered a job by Dr. Jeff Butts. She took him up on the offer and continues to teach in his district today.
“Maschino’s exemplary leadership as a student has spilled over into her teaching, as she inspires her students to set high expectations despite their disabilities,” said Bremer.
One of Maschino’s colleagues said of her, “If you are looking for a rising star in special education, there is no star shining brighter than Hannah Maschino.”
Learn more about Grace College’s School of Education at www.grace.edu/academics/