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ESE Program Specialist Elizabeth Lewis Receives “Making a Difference” Award

Provided by Pupil Support Services

SARASOTA COUNTY, May 9, 2019 – The Florida Division on Career Development and Transition (FDCDT) has recognized five individuals, organizations, businesses, and/or agencies from across the state who are “Making a Difference” and supporting the successful transition of persons with disabilities from school to post-school. Congratulations to our very own Elizabeth Lewis, exceptional student education program specialist within the Pupil Support Services department of Sarasota County Schools, for receiving this award! She was recently recognized at FDCDT’s VISIONS XXVI: Charting the Course, a transition planning institute and conference held in St. Augustine.


Brief Rationale for the Nomination:

Mrs. Elizabeth Lewis, a Sarasota County Schools Exceptional Student Education Transition Program Specialist, is recognized as one of the most dedicated, knowledgeable and effective members of her field. She is admired by many individuals within her school district, community and across Florida. 

Mrs. Lewis consistently links school-based staff members, families, community members and resource providers to ensure that students with disabilities and their families have access to available services. Her communication skills and willingness to build relationships continue to benefit students in high school and post-secondary transition employment programs.

Mrs. Lewis has recently updated district procedures and guidelines while maintaining the fidelity of a thriving transition program. The program focuses on providing varied levels of employment student programs, while upholding the philosophy of the importance of understanding students’ abilities rather than disabilities. 

In an effort to build capacity, Mrs. Lewis also conducts professional development trainings for staff members across the district, providing explanations of various career assessments and career exploration activities, along with appropriate curriculum programs. She assists in providing staff development opportunities to school-based teams with a focus on work preparation training for students with disabilities (including opportunities in the school and community for job shadowing, onsite work training, and work study placement). 

Ms. Lewis frequently assists other districts in Florida with transition-related questions and program development, along with participating in many organizations. She maintains her membership in the Council for Exceptional Children and she contributes much time as an active board member of FDCDT. In addition, Ms. Lewis is a member of the Sarasota Developmental Disabilities Committee and actively participates in building a strong community for individuals with disabilities.