PBSC teacher’s teacher honored for work with exceptional children
Palm Beach State College’s Teacher Certification Program thrives on the quality of its instructors. What better way is there to prepare for a teaching career than to learn from the best in the field?
Dr. Jagathy Nair, a TCP adjunct instructor, was honored Wednesday evening as the 2015 Special Education Teacher of the Year by the Palm Beach Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children. An expert in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Nair has 21 years of teaching experience and currently serves as the elementary ASD classroom teacher at Royal Palm School in Lantana. She is also the school’s department chair for K-12 ASD/Dual Diagnosis classrooms.
“I feel humbled and honored to be appreciated for my efforts in the field of exceptional children education,” says Nair. “This award gives me an extra boost—it motivates me to be at my best every single day.”
TCP helps individuals who hold non-education bachelor’s degrees obtain the professional certification required to teach grades K-12 in Florida, and Nair also has significant experience training teachers. She guides the Royal Palm teachers as the school’s teacher liaison and professional development coordinator. In India, she taught at the college level, and as a guest lecturer at Florida Atlantic University, she has shared her strategies and research in behavior management and learning disabilities. Her effective practices for teaching exceptional children have been covered by local television. Nair received her master’s degree from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore and her Ph.D. from the University of Mysore in India. She also has a Specialist in Educational Leadership degree from NOVA Southeastern University.
A longtime ASD advocate, Nair’s reputation is growing. Earlier this month, she also was chosen as one of four nominees for the prestigious statewide Council for Exceptional Children Marjorie Crick Award, named after the special education pioneer who was a founding member of the organization.
PBSC’s Teacher Certification Program is building a roster of award-winning instructors, including Dr. Ana Armbrister Bland, who was named Palm Beach County Hispanic Teacher of the Year in June, and Professor Carolyn Slygh, who has won various awards, including the 2014 Science Hall of Fame Award for her accomplishments as a science teacher in the county for almost 30 years.
“TCP is one of the highest rated Educator Preparation Institutes in the state,” says Jennifer M. Johnson, program director for Palm Beach State’s Institute of Teacher Education. “Without the knowledge and experience that our instructors bring to the classroom, we wouldn’t have the success we do. They’re the backbone to our program.
“Dr. Nair brings extensive experience working with exceptional students, especially those who have been diagnosed with autism. This is a growing problem and so to have this type of expertise available to our teacher-candidates is a huge asset to help prepare them.”
Nair, who joined PBSC this term, is excited about her first class, The Teaching and Learning Process. “I’m definitely looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience with the new generation of educators and motivating them to be at their best.”