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A Brief History of NCDCDT – 123

The North Carolina Division on Career Development and Transition was established in 1992 and headed by Alice Bartley who was a transition coordinator at the time. Ms. Bartley later took the Learning Disabilities Consultant position for NCDPI and left to pursue a doctorate degree. Others who were involved in NCDCDT from the beginning are:

Nellie Aspel – Shelby City/Cleveland County Schools
Janet Carithers -Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
Penny Vagle – Wake County Schools
Shelia Carter – Buncombe County Schools
Freda Lee – State Department of Public Instruction
Ann Hall – Vance County Schools
Ed Davis – Vocational Rehabilitation
David Test – UNC Charlotte
Andrea McLean – Carteret County Schools
Susan Thomas – Onslow County Schools
Cindy Nixon – East Carolina University
Susan Guy – Elizabeth City – Pasquatank
Susan Vestal (deceased) – Vance County Schools
Terry Kemp – Vocational Rehabilitation

Transition was signed into law in 1990. In the beginning, we were all walking in the dark with transition issues. Folks with vision and determination to do the right thing for our students with disabilities embraced the notion of focusing on post-school outcomes. In the early days, presentations on best practices were given by division members from various locations in North Carolina. Many of us went back to our own systems and attempted to replicate the process to enhance school-based, community-based training and competitive employment opportunities for our students.

Since our organization was small in the beginning, we were able to have conferences at Trinity Center near Emerald Isle in North Carolina. We outgrew the Trinity Center and have had to move our statewide conferences to Lake Junaluska near Asheville and at Camp Caraway near Asheboro. Our Spring Conferences have been the most memorable events sponsored by NCDCDT. All of us appreciated the opportunity to spend time with other transition professionals in a retreat-like setting. Our spring conferences now offer concurrent sessions over a several day period. Even though every system is unique and offers different levels of resources, we have been able to benefit from learning about a variety of successful approaches to providing students with experiences to augment their independent living skills and career development.

NCDCDT has provided a wonderful vehicle for networking, sharing of ideas, sharing of expertise and research. Our work has proven to be a fruitful, collaborative effort of various agencies such as Vocational Rehabilitation, public school systems, Mental Health, colleges, the Office of Civil Rights and a variety of private, non-profit organizations. Many best practices and helpful resources have been shared over the years. Teachers remark about how helpful the school-based enterprise displays at the conferences have been over the years. Bringing the items back to their own systems with step-by-step assembly directions has provided teachers with the opportunity to broaden school-based training opportunities over the state.

NCDCDT has added components over the years to enrich the organization. Since 2001, we have sponsored competitive mini-grants to NCDCDT members designed to assist with improving transition services for students with special needs. At least 4 grants will be offered this year. Since 2004, we have sponsored a Lighthouse Award to individuals who have made a difference through their commitment and dedication to ensuring that our students make a successful transition from school to adult life. Recipients of the Lighthouse Award may be teachers, transition coordinators, principals, central office personnel, adult service providers, business leaders, civic groups, parents or post-secondary educators. As the American author, William James has stated, “The deepest need in all human beings is the need to be appreciated.”

For about the past 7 or 8 years, we have sponsored regional meetings as a way to reach transition professionals throughout the state. These meetings have traditionally been in the winter and are presented in a location central to each of the four regions (West Central, East Central, Western, and Eastern). The regional meetings give our members an opportunity to network with professionals who may have concerns/projects that are germane to a specific region of North Carolina.

Our lighthouse logo and motto “Touch the Future: Light the Way” encapsulates what NCDCDT has been over the years. NCDCDT exists to enlighten those who wholeheartedly embrace a proactive attitude; act now while the kids are still with us. In their last few years of public education, let us have the resolve to do all that we can to prepare our students for life beyond the classroom.

I hope that you decide to be a part of the future of NCDCDT. Individuals with disabilities will certainly benefit from your commitment!

Chris Alberti, Transition Coordinator, Johnston County Schools Past NCDCDT President 2002-2003

Thanks to Nellie Aspel, Freda Lee, and Alice Bartley for their contributions to this brief historical report.

Past Presents:

2002-2003     Chris Alberti, Transition Coordinator, Johnston County Schools

2003-2004

2004-2005

2005-2006  Winston Dennis, Wake County

2006-2007  Teresa Smith, Wayne County

2007-2008 Karen Abourjilie, Program Supervisor- EC Transition, Guilford County

2008-2009  Linda Little, Transition Coordinator, Union County Schools

2009-2010   Kris Stumpf, Transition Teacher, Onslow County Schools

2010-2011   Laura Norris, OCS  Lead Teacher, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

2011-2012  Sharon Jackson, Transition Coordinator, Cleveland County Schools

2012-2013  Robin Miller, Transition Specialist, Buncombe County Schools

2013-2014  Meredith Mizelle, EC Curriculum Specialist, Beaufort County Schools

2014-2015  Freda Lee, NC Department of Public Instruction

2015-2016 Casey Peeler, EC Teacher, Cleveland County Schools

2016-2017 Michelle Clark, EC Transition Coordinator, Elizabeth City – Pasquotank County Schools

 

 

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