2015 Annie Sullivan Award

Doug DennisonA Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU) physical therapist was selected as one of 29 educators in the state to receive the 2015 Annie Sullivan Award. Doug Dennison of Bloomsburg received the award for going beyond his job duties to help people with disabilities gain acceptance in the school or community.

A CSIU employee since 2011, Dennison is noted for his innovative classroom adaptations, which enable students to fully participate in classroom activities with their peers. 

"Doug puts in extensive time and preparation to customize solutions for each student," said CSIU Special Education and Early Childhood Services Director Jennifer Williams. "When a parent, student or teacher brings up a concern, Doug returns to the next session with new ideas and materials, and often times with self-made devices and adaptations that can be used immediately to advance the student's progress."

Teachers also have noted the contributions Dennison brings to the classroom. "He is very quick to come up with new ideas and implement strategies that meet the individual needs of each student," added Sharon Russell, CSIU Early Intervention Teacher. 

He understands not only the importance for children to build relationships with each other, but he also is committed to building trustworthy relationships with his students.

Middle school student Gregory Fleck forwarded his support of Dennison in a letter attached to the nomination. He wrote, "Doug (thinks of) brand new ideas in order for me to do things better than I have before. Thank you so much for helping me to do more things for myself." 

The Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units sponsors the award, which is named for Helen Keller's teacher and friend. Locally, educators are nominated by their colleagues and a committee of area educators selects the finalist.

Recent Annie Sullivan Award recipients have included Joanne DiFrancesco, CSIU special education teacher; Gwen Utt, Millville Area autistic support teacher; and Chrysti Pontius, CSIU employment transition teacher.