Project ACCESS would like to introduce and welcome Tammy Gunter, Ed.S., our newest Autism Resource Specialist, to staff! Tammy brings valuable experience and knowledge to our team of professionals serving Missouri students with autism and the educators that guide them. Let’s learn a bit about her:
Tell me about your experience in Special Education:
I have 14 years teaching experience in Specific Learning Disabilities and Cross Categorical Classrooms at the middle school level. I was Process Coordinator for 4 years and a Special Education Director/Process Coordinator for 11 years.
You’ve served as a school district’s Special Education Director. How do you see that position as benefitting you in your new role at Project ACCESS?
As a previous Special Education Director, I am aware of compliance standards as well as district needs and challenges faced by districts serving students with special needs.
What inspired you to work at Project ACCESS?
Autism has always been of interest to me. I view it as one of the most complex and challenging disabilities. We’ve come a long way in research and development of programs for Autism, but districts still struggle to provide good solid evidenced based programs for students with Autism.
Is there an accomplishment in your life of which you are especially proud?
I graduated with my Specialist in Education Administration in May of this year through Lindenwood University.
The best piece of advice for new Special Education teachers is…..
- Build relationships with students, parents, teachers and your community. Team approaches bring the best opportunities to students. Read evaluations and IEPs on your students. Look at their goals and how your school and community resources might help meet those goals. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and brainstorm with colleagues.
- Capitalize on opportunities to learn about research based programs and intervention models.
- Keep your data to determine progress and needs for change.
- Be flexible. Every day will present its own challenges and you will need to be able to roll with it.
- Make a list of IEP and Evaluation due dates, and get organized to stay ahead of the game.
- Find a way to balance your work and personal life, so you don’t get burned out.
Remember why you wanted to be a special education teacher! Yes, there is a lot. The paperwork is endless and you are going to have failures. Just remember to let your failures be an opportunity to learn and improve. There is much joy in watching a child with special needs overcome obstacles and be able to achieve their life goals.
Tammy may be reached by calling 417-836-5751 or via email at email@example.com