Extra Mile Award Recipients: Dr. Deborah Allen and Mrs. Connie Lewis
March 17, 2014
|Dr. Steinhauer presented Dr. Allen and Mrs. Lewis with the Extra Mile Award.
Here is an excerpt from School Board President Elaine Cappucci's report awarding the Extra Mile Award to retiring administrators Dr. Deborah Allen and Mrs. Connie Lewis.
"Tonight we say good-bye to two outstanding administrators who have served our District with distinction over the course of their careers in the Mt. Lebanon School District. Dr. Deborah Allen, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education and Special Education Supervisor Connie Lewis, are retiring at the end of the month. Both administrators have done so much to move our school district forward over the years and have between them, a great deal of institutional knowledge that we will miss. As a result of their outstanding careers and devotion to the children in this District, the School Board would like to honor them tonight with the Extra Mile Award, though it could easily be called the Extra, Extra, Extra Mile Award for all they have done for the District.
Mrs. Connie Lewis
Mrs. Connie Lewis was appointed by the school board as Supervisor of Special Education in May 21, 2001. Since that time she has very capably overseen the very complex and important Special Education Department using research based strategies and best practices to help students. Over the years, Mrs. Lewis instituted many programs that have made significant improvements for our special education students. Here are some highlights:
• She developed a district operated extended school year program
• She led the district through two successful special ed audits and is about to lead her third
• She decentralized the special education programs so now programs are in all buildings
• She implemented the Paes lab at the high school which provides pre-vocational and vocational skills for our most struggling learners
• Developed programs for children with Autism; the program at Washington has been recognized as a model program
• Helped the District receive needed funds from ACCESS and PDE
• She hired inclusion specialists to help children become more successful in their schools
• She adopted special education management software so professionals could focus more on programs for children and less on paperwork
• She provided many educational programs for parents, and implemented professional development for all staff to better understand the needs of unique learners.
Dr. Deborah Allen
Dr. Deborah has had an outstanding career in the Mt. Lebanon School District. She moved to the District from the Gettysburg Area School District where she was the Director of Pupil Services and School Psychologists. She was appointed by the Mt. Lebanon School Board in August 1988 as the Director of Pupil Personnel services. She served in that capacity until December 2005 when Dr. Allen was appointed Assistant Superintendent and Director of Student Support Services. During the administrative reorganization a few years ago, she was named the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education. Each time Dr. Allen was asked to tackle a new assignment, she did so with a high level of professionalism. Her leadership role within the District includes curriculum development, directing student support services— including supervising the School Psychologists, Health Services and Special Education Departments—along with the supervision of elementary education. Dr. Allen was involved in all of the strategic planning initiatives for the District during her career and led those efforts in 2005 and 2012. The 2005 Strategic plan was significant because it emphasized continuous improvement through a community driven strategic planning process, based on the Malcom Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. As part of this strategic planning process, Dr. Allen led the development of the first online District Balance Scorecard so the community could track the progress of our schools toward goals and metrics that were aligned to the strategic plan.
In addition, Dr. Allen…
• Hired the first Director of Special Education
• Developed the first set of suicide intervention procedures as well as the first crisis intervention response, that remains the basis of our emergency management plan
• She brought Individualized Gifted Plans to the secondary level
• Co-facilitated the adoption of the existing elementary reading program
• Helped to start Student Assistant Programs at the secondary level
• In the area of differentiation Dr. Allen:
-changed specialists to an instructional support teaming approach
- implemented LEBO time
- instituted benchmark testing with MAP
- progress monitoring- DIBELS
• Introduced elementary counselors and reading specialists to help struggling students
• Managed federal programs which is vitally important to fund many programs
Dr. Allen pursued her training in Quality by becoming a National Baldrige Examiner for two years. She was also on the Board of KAPE which is Pennsylvania’s State Quality organization. With each of these endeavors she brought Quality expertise and training back to the school district to support our philosophy of continuous improvement.
On behalf of the school board, administration, staff, and especially the students, I want to thank you both for your service, devotion, and dedication to the Mt. Lebanon School District. We wish you the best of luck and happy travels in your retirement."