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Eileen L. Corcoran Education Award

A well-known teacher and educator, Dr. Eileen L. Corcoran was a respected leader in special education. She served as president of the Council for Exceptional Children in New York and received appointment from New York’s governor to the Advisory Council for the Commission on Quality Care for the Mentally Disabled.

Dr. Corcoran became involved with children with special needs as the result of a substitute teaching assignment after she completed her master’s degree in elementary education from Montclair (NJ) State College. She expected the assignment to last two weeks, but instead stayed for eight years, becoming certified in the discipline.

She then earned her doctoral degree in educational psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1970, joining the faculty at The College at Brockport in 1971. She initially was a member of the Department of Psychology before becoming a member of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She received a grant to retrain teachers to work with mildly handicapped students in their classrooms. This grant began the practice of providing pre-service and in-service training to teachers on including mildly handicapped students in classroom activities.

Dr. Corcoran also began a weekly program for handicapped members of the community to come to Brockport weekly for recreational skills training. The program began in the late 1970s with two faculty and 10 handicapped individuals. Within two years, it had grown to involve more than 200 handicapped people and 50 volunteers. The success of this program led to the College’s decision to bid for the Special Olympics.

To qualify for the Eileen L. Corcoran Education Award, applicants must be a currently employed public school teacher, pursing a graduate degree in the Department of Education and Human Development that will lead to mid-career advancement. Applicants must submit a statement that describes their dedication to the teaching profession, their commitment to education, and their goals following graduation.