The Bill Ellis Award is presented annually to an educator or other professional who demonstrates excellence in practice and a commitment to all students, including those with learning and attention issues.
Established in 1996, the award honors Bill Ellis, a great humanitarian, educator and visionary who served as NCLD’s director of professional services from 1991 until his death in 1995.
It was Bill’s vision in the field of learning disabilities that framed much of what NCLD has become. He led the organization by collaborating with other learning disabilities organizations and establishing a growing presence on a national level; he recognized the importance of early intervention for children with learning disabilities; he valued the roles that general educators play in the lives of children with learning disabilities; and he helped create the first of NCLD’s highly respected national summits: The 1994 summit, an event that presented learning disabilities to the highest levels of government.
In May 1996, Bill’s last great undertaking was realizing NCLD’s National Summit on Teacher Preparation. Although sadly, Bill was not able to attend the summit, it was his idea and dream to establish a forum where general and special educators could join together to shape the future of teaching.
Bill saw beyond the world of learning and attention issues and recognized the need to reach all educators.
For more information about this award, please visit FAQ.
Past Winners of the Bill Ellis Award:
2016 – Claudia Koochek
Head of School, Westmark School
2015 – Dr. Nikolai Vitti
Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools
2014 – Candace Cortiella
Director of the Advocacy Institute
metropolitan Washington, DC
2013 – John Carruth
Assistant Superintendent of Special Programs and Projects for the Vail Unified School District
2012 – Dr. Lydia Carlis
Chief of Research and Innovation, AppleTree Institute
2011 – Karin Lewis
Reading Specialist, Hill Elementary School
West Aurora, Illinois
2010 – Thomas Komp
Principal, Boulevard Elementary School
Gloversville, New York
2009 – Evelyn Rivera, M.Ed.
Professional Development Resource Teacher
School District of Lee County, Florida
2008 – Judy Elliott
Chief Academic Officer, Los Angeles Unified School District
Los Angeles, California
2007 – Kimberly Weber
Principal, Chavez Elementary School
Long Beach, California
2006 – Joyce Bannerot
Popham Elementary School
Del Valle, Texas
2005 – Jennifer Combs
Whitney Elementary School
2004 – Cathy Graf
Charlotte Park Elementary School
2003 – Brian Coffey
William H. Kelso Elementary School
2002 – Francine N.K. Cummings
Scottdale Child Development Center
2001 – Sandi Apuna
Superstition Springs Elementary School
2000 – Mary Hailes
Seaton Elementary School
1999 – Lisa Mosier
Frances Starms Early Childhood Center
1998 – Peggy Couch
Antioch Middle School
Overland Park, Kansas
1997 – Luis Velazquez
Roger C. Sullivan High School
1996 – Carolyn Denise Witcher Sessoms, Ed.D.
Rudolph Elementary School
Washington, District of Columbia
- Over $65,000 in prizes and scholarships to be awarded to middle school and high school students of Northern California.
- Ford Motor Company Fund expanded its Ford Driving Dreams Tour to Northern California in October 2015 impacting 5,000 students.
- Students from Andrew Hill High School, James Lick High School, William C. Overfelt High School, and Yerba Buena High School, to receive scholarships.
SAN JOSE, Calif. April 27, 2016 – Ford Motor Company Fund and Northern California Ford Dealers are wrapping up the school year by awarding over $65,000 in Ford Driving Dreams scholarships and technology prizes to 87 Northern California students from high schools and, for the first time, middle schools located in the communities where Ford operates. Video b-roll is available here.
Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, announced and celebrated the scholarship winners at a special event with parents, educators, and community leaders. Nearly 80 percent of the scholarship recipients plan to pursue a degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and the majority will attend universities in California. According to a study by STEM Connector, Where are the STEM Students? California ranks first as the state projected to have the most STEM jobs in the country by 2018.
“The Northern California Ford Dealers want to give back to their communities and by working jointly with Ford Fund, we are able to help our young people reach their academic dreams and achieve a brighter future,” said Joe Ávila, community outreach manager, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Connecting with our local schools has been amazing and it feels great to close the school year knowing that Ford will make a college education more accessible for many students.”
The scholarship recipients and essay contest winners come from the following schools: Andrew Hill High School, James Lick High School, William C. Overfelt High School, Yerba Buena High School as well as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley, Fresno County, Marin and Southern Sonoma Counties, Monterey County, and Greater Sacramento.
Third place essay contest winner Bridgette Magaña shared that it is her dream “to help the children who live in my community have a life that they can be proud of so that one day they will want to help other people in their community and improve it in ways that most wouldn’t be able to believe.” Magaña is a senior at William C. Overfelt High School in San Jose.
The scholarships are part of Ford’s overall education efforts launched in Northern California last year. The Tour, which focuses on motivating students to complete high school on time and pursue higher education, impacted 5,000 students. The scholarships were administered by the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI), a national nonprofit organization that works to empower the Latino community and promote education, leadership development, and unity.
The Ford Driving Dreams Tour was designed by Ford Motor Company Fund to help Latino youth graduate on time and pursue higher education. Launched in 2012, the program has reached more than 30,000 students in Chicago, Indiana, Florida, Texas, and, most recently, Panama. Ford Driving Dreams initiatives, including the Tour, have delivered more than $3 million in educational resources such as scholarships, college preparedness, tutoring programs, parental engagement, and motivational activities.
In 2015, a $1 million investment in Northern California includes education and community programs. This investment is part of Ford Fund’s Operation Better World initiative. Launched in 2008, the Operation Better World framework enables Ford Fund dealers and other groups to collaborate on a strategic approach to philanthropy and more effectively meet community needs. Ford’s latest investments in Northern California brings the total community investment amount to more than $4.5 million over the last 10 years.
Ford Motor Company Fund invests more than $10 million a year in scholarships and other education initiatives. In addition to Ford Driving Dreams, Ford Fund educational programs include Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning, Ford College Community Challenge, and the Ford STEAM Lab. For more information, visit www.forddrivingdreams.com.