CCLD Awards

The Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities has awarded the distinguished 2015 Professional of the Year Award to Dr. Margarita Bianco. Each year, the award is given for outstanding performance and commitment by a professional who works in the field of learning disabilities in a role outside of the classroom. Dr. Bianco went on to compete for and was awarded the Floyd G. Hudson Outstanding Service Award. As the recipient of the Floyd G. Hudson Award, Margarita will be recognized in October at the Council for Learning Disabilities International Conference in Las Vegas, NV.


The 2015 Colorado Professional of the Year Award and
Floyd G. Hudson Outstanding Service Awards Recipient Margarita Bianco

The Council for Learning Disabilities awarded the distinguished 2015 Floyd G. Hudson Outstanding Service Award Professional of the Year to Dr. Margarita Bianco. Dr. Bianco is also the recipient of the Colorado Professional of the Year Award.

Dr. Margarita Bianco

Dr. Margarita Bianco received her doctorate in 2003 from Florida Atlantic University. She is currently an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Special Education Program, School of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado Denver. She received multiple awards and recognitions including the Rosa Parks Diversity Award and the university wide Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2004, she was the recipient of Outstanding Researcher of the Year presented by the Council for Learning Disabilities. Dr. Bianco’s research is published in Gifted Child Today, Intervention in School and Clinic, The Journal of Negro Education, Psychology in the Schools, Theory into Practice, Teacher Education and Special Education, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, and Learning Disability Quarterly.

Pathways2Teaching, a pre-collegiate program designed to encourage students of color to enter the teacher workforce, was created by Dr. Bianco and is identified as a model program in the legislative declaration of a current House Bill before the Colorado legislature. The bill encourages other institutions of higher education to replicate her program design that addresses some of the most critical issues currently faced by the public schools.

“With her leadership, we are (The School of Education and Human Development in Special Education) designing programs that explicitly integrate a cultural perspective with a social justice commitment to push back against deficit-oriented thinking and practices that leave many children behind. Dr. Bianco is a true champion of students and teachers.” - Rebecca Kantor, Professor and Dean, University of Colorado Denver

“Dr. Bianco is a talented scholar, teacher, and leader. Her work has had an important impact in the fields of urban education, special education, and teacher education. Dr. Bianco works at the intersection of oppression and opportunity; recognizing that structural inequality and racism/classism shape the life experiences and opportunities afforded many students. These inequalities contribute to the likelihood that they will be identified with a disability and lead to inadequate and even inferior educational experiences. In working along these lines, Dr. Bianco has recognized the need to influence both the structural conditions that shape students’ lives as well as work directly with students.” -Barbara Seidl, University of Colorado Denver

From some Pathways2Teaching students:

“P2T has taught me many skills I will find of use in college, but the best part of P2T is the difference I have made to my school Adams City, our partner elementary school—Hanson Elementary, and for my own field experience students.”-Mario Noriega

“Pathways to teaching has put my dreams in action with the hands-on-training with the children in our community; this program is not only shaping our futures, but also those of the kids we are reaching out to.” –Paty Hernandez

“Pathways to teaching has been my gateway to not only walking across the stage and earning my diploma, but to be the one handing a diploma to my future students; this program has given me the confidence, the inspiration and the will to change another student’s life through the art of education.” – Aleena Delgado

“Dr. Bianco is a fearless warrior in the battle for equity and high expectations for students marginalized in our education system.” - Madhavi Tandon Doctoral Candidate, University of Colorado Denver

The Council for Learning Disabilities is honored to recognize Dr. Bianco as the 2015 recipient of the Floyd G. Hudson Outstanding Service Award.


2015 CCLD Teacher of the Year Award

Norine Green

The Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities (CCLD) has awarded the 2015 Teacher of the Year to Norine Green. Norine is currently a special education teacher at Beaver Valley Elementary School in Brush, Colorado.

Norine states that to help all learners in the classroom, she focuses on the four C’s: Caring, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity. The first thing is to care for all students in the class. Communication with colleagues and collaboration is an ongoing process, and creativity builds access to resources for the district. Parents and colleagues shared the comments below.

I can never express in words all the support Norine Green has given. She is a one-of-a-kind teacher. She doesn’t come to get a paycheck. She generously loves and cares about each one of her kids. She has helped me learn how to deal with my daughter’s epilepsy and school issues. She is an inspiration to my daughter and myself.
– Ashley Arroyo, parent of former student

Mrs. Green spends her own hard-earned money on books for the classroom and on materials to send home with her students to help them understand homework. She goes above and beyond when helping her students.
- Erika Johnson, parent of former student

Norine persists! She presses on with new strategies and ideas to serve students on her caseload when students are not making the growth she expects. She embraces the idea that “no student will fail” under her watch. She has high expectations for her students and expects nothing but the best. She brings in engaging instructional strategies and supports to keep kids from failing and to keep kids learning. She showcases much passion and dedication to the lives of the students she serves.
- Jocelyn Walters, Director of Special Education

The Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities is honored to recognize Norine Green as our 2015 Teacher of the Year.


2014 CCLD Teacher of the Year Award

Annemarie Dempsey

The Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities is proud to recognize Annemarie Dempsey as the recipient of the 2014 Teacher of the Year Award. Annemarie is a Learning Specialist at Campus Middle School in the Cherry Creek School District in Englewood, Colorado.

She provides leadership on a building and district level, serving as a co-facilitator of the district-wide SLD Literacy Study Team and providing building-level coaching and professional development on effective co-teaching strategies.

Annemarie is committed to the craft of teaching. Through most of her teaching career, Annemarie focused on literacy instruction and is highly qualified in reading. She is currently working towards highly-qualified in math and is the recipient of an award for outstanding research for her project on math intervention.

Annemarie is not done learning and perfecting her teaching craft. She is a leader in our district and a model teacher for those around her. It is her attention to detail and her dedication to students and to teaching that makes Annemarie simply one of the best teachers I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
Mark Semmler, District Special Education Coordinator

One of the greatest assets in the academic realm is a teacher who fosters excellence and inspires success. Annemarie is one of these extraordinary teachers. She gives of herself to the students at Campus Middle School in a way that is heroic. Dedication, enthusiasm, passion, selflessness, and innovation hardly scratch the surface in describing her character. Annemarie cares for her students both academically and as young adults in a way that is inspiring and motivating. She changes lives and does it with grace and humility second to none.
Kristina Kontny, 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher

While most of us take our lunch breaks with colleagues, Annemarie spends hers with a few students who need a calmer environment than the cafeteria. Throughout this hectic, selfless day, she is always smiling and happy to be with her students.
Kerry Sheedy, Mathematics Teacher

Congratulations to Annemarie!


2013 CCLD Teacher of the Year Award

Icaro Mardones

The Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities is honored to recognize Icaro Mardones as the 2013 Teacher of the Year. Icaro is a special education teacher at Lincoln High School in Denver Public Schools.

Icaro Mardones constantly affirms and encourages his high school students. Throughout his social studies and science courses, he integrates technology, hands-on learning, and real world applications in his pervasive efforts to infuse his lessons with purpose and relevance. Teaching students of many different skill levels and behavioral issues, Mr. Mardones also reflects deeply regarding his efficacy as a teacher and modifies his instruction accordingly, as he seeks to help all of his students learn. As noted by his special education department chair in Denver Public Schools, Mr. Mardones’ “passion for the field does much to raise the level of the teaching environment.”

Mr. Mardones also strives to help all students learn; he advocates for them and establishes a safe and welcoming classroom atmosphere where all students are valued. One parent wrote about how painfully shy her daughter is and how Mr. Mardones’ patience and humor had resulted in her daughter actively participating in class. This parent also stated, “As a parent we want our kids to learn and be successful in life. Mr. Mardones cares for our kids and teaches them in a way that the kids with disabilities understand.”

For his passionate dedication to instruction and student learning, his advocacy for his students, his crafting of a safe and encouraging classroom environment for all students, and his deep and deliberate self-reflection regarding his instructional practices, the Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities is proud to announce Mr. Icaro Mardones, “Teacher of the Year.”