This award is given by the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children to honor parents of students with exceptionalities. The Nominee/Candidate:
- Should have a child that is currently receiving or has received special education services.
- Should demonstrate outstanding contributions to the growth of their child through effective home/school collaboration.
- Examples of personal effort should illustrate the benefits of parental support toward achieving quality education for the child with exceptionalities.
2020 Exceptional Parents Winner:
David and Deb Hadley, Valley Center School, Kalamazoo RESA
David and Deb Hadley are the parents of Christian Hadley, a 16 year old young man with emotional and cognitive impairments and a medical condition called bilateral gray matter heterotopia. Christian attends Kalamazoo RESA’s Valley Center School. Both parents are extremely involved with the school and supporting Christian’s education. They actively participate in Parent Education Nights, School Awards or Celebration events and any meeting related to supporting Christian’s emotional of behavioral needs at school. It is common to see David and Deb mulling around after an event has dismissed, supporting other parents through communicating their own personal experiences. David and Deb have always sought outside resources for Christian to provide a full spectrum of support for his special needs and they willingly bring these perspectives and knowledge to the school staff. This supports a collaborative approach during IEP meetings and parent-teacher conferences. In addition, they have made it a priority to engage Christian with social activities including swimming lessons, TOPS soccer and Special Olympics. Through their support of the school, collaboration with professionals and initiative to involve Christian socially, David and Deb are truly exceptional parents.