Warner Doctoral Student is New York’s 2014 Teacher of the Year

Ashli Skura DreherA graduate student working toward her doctorate in teaching and curriculum at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education has been named the 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year. Ashli Skura Dreher, a Niagara County special education teacher, was honored by state Education Commissioner John King Jr. and Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch on September 17 in Albany.
With 18 years in the teaching profession, Dreher currently teaches students with developmental and intellectual disabilities at Lewiston-Porter Senior High School. Known for her passion for learning and drive to improve, Dreher credits her own teachers growing up.

“They’ve inspired me to become one of them—a caring, responsive teacher that inspires every child to their full potential,” said Dreher who embraces a message that “all children will learn.”   
At the Warner School, Dreher focuses her research on instructional practices for teaching literacy to students with moderate intellectual disabilities. Professor Kevin Meuwissen, who serves as Dreher’s academic advisor, said that she is one of the most perseverant doctoral students with whom he’s worked during his time at Warner.
“Alongside Ashli’s professional and family obligations, and despite the commute to Rochester from Grand Island over several years of part-time study, she remains sharply focused on completing her degree and learning continuously through the process,” Meuwissen said.  “Ultimately, I think what motivates her doctoral work is a deep interest in generating powerful learning opportunities for all of the students with whom she works.”
In addition to her graduate study, Dreher has earned National Board Certification for Professional Teaching Standards, one of the highest honors for teaching. She also has served as a regional coordinator for the New York State Unified Teachers Education and Learning Trust, which promotes training and professional development for teachers.
Dreher holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and English from Canisius College, a master’s degree in special education from D’Youville College, and a certificate of advanced study in educational leadership from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dreher will visit the White House as the state’s 2014 representative for National Teacher of the Year.
About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education offers master's and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, counseling, human development, educational policy, and health professions education. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its EdD programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform.
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Tags: award, doctoral student, doctoral student experience, New York State Teacher of the Year, student, teaching and curriculum