Stanley Middle School, 2011 Winner
Brian Mangold is a special education teacher at Stanley Middle School. As a special education teacher, Brian works with students who have moderate and severe disabilities. Some of his students are autistic. Some are in wheelchairs. Almost all are several years below grade level, and some are still working to acquire skills that are typically mastered in kindergarten and even preschool.
Because his students have a wide range of unique needs, Brian first establishes an environment where all of his students feel safe and supported. Relying on his graduate training as a behaviorist, Brian analyzes each of his students to determine which motivational strategies will work best. He then develops individual plans to promote success in the classroom. Brian also manages as many as ten adult classroom aides, which includes staff development, scheduling, and performance monitoring.
More than anything, Brian cares about his students. One of his supporters told us: Brian has “unrelenting patience and love” for his students. Another wrote, “Brian is the kind of teacher that every administrator dreams of finding and that every parent dreams of having for their child.”
For several years, Brian worked with one child who had aggressive and violent tendencies. The child ultimately was accepted into another program that could better meet his needs. But Brian didn’t stop caring even then. He met with the new teachers and helped them work out a plan of action. Knowing that the transition would be difficult, Brian rode the bus with him and was there for his first week in the new class.
Brian integrates his students and involves the whole school. He uses general education students as “lunch buddies” and helpers. He integrates his students into mainstream classes and makes it possible for them to participate in extracurricular activities such as the karaoke club, school dances, and even athletics. This has encouraged understanding and respect for special needs students throughout the entire Stanley Middle School community.
Brian’s methods are successful. Brian had one student who was severely autistic. He was painfully shy and withdrawn and communication was a real challenge. The child was under Brian’s guidance for several years. He blossomed, and recently was selected as one of the three student speakers chosen for 8th grade promotion. This student got up, with Brian at his side, and spoke to over 1000 parents and his peers thanking Brian for “being nice and supporting me.” He received a standing ovation.