YOUNGSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) - A Niagara County special education teacher praised for her collaboration with parents and drive to improve has been named the state's 2014 Teacher of the Year.
Ashli Dreher, who teaches students with developmental and intellectual disabilities at Lewiston-Porter Senior High School, received the award in Albany on Tuesday from state Education Commissioner John King Jr. and Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch.
"What I find most impressive about Ashli is her drive to continuously improve her practice," King said.
Besides earning National Board Certification, an advanced, voluntary teaching credential that goes beyond state standards, Dreher is a doctoral student at the University of Rochester. She also has served as a regional coordinator for the New York State United Teachers Education and Learning Trust, which promotes training and professional development for teachers.
"It really is an honor and a privilege, and my message this year really is that we are aiming higher ... all across our state," Dreher said by phone.
Dreher, who's in her 18th year teaching, directs her school's life skills special education program. As part of the program, she places students in internships with local businesses to better prepare them for the workplace, colleagues said.
"Her focus on community and volunteerism and her close collaboration with parents make her a sterling example of what happens when great teachers and concerned parents work together on behalf of our children," NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi said.
Dreher said what she really wants people to know is that "great teachers possess an unending belief in the potential of their students."
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