Wendy Burril

Grant County Education Service District Special Education Director/Specialist Wendy Burril, center, receives the Breaking Barriers Educator of the Year award at the Breaking Barriers Conference in Redmond April 26. At left is Donna Lowry, transition network/pre-ETS support specialist, and at right is Heather Lindsey, secondary transition liaison/office of student services.

Grant County Education Service District Special Ed Director/Specialist Wendy Burril was recently named the Breaking Barriers Educator of the Year.

Burril received the award, which recognizes people making a difference for people with disabilities in Oregon, at the Breaking Barriers Conference April 26 in Redmond.

Grant County ESD Superintendent Robert Waltenburg said, thanks to Burril, the ESD will also be hiring a half-time youth transition specialist.

“Wendy was instrumental in bringing this position to the four outlying districts,” he said. “She has a heart for these students, and it really shows in all she does for them.”

Burril was nominated for the award for helping a student in Long Creek build job skills in an area with limited opportunities to work at a restaurant.

Despite the 80-mile round-trip commute, Burril set the student up to travel to the John Day Senior Center with a job coach to volunteer for skill development.

Later, she approached a John Day restaurant and set up the opportunity for the student to work as a dishwasher four days per week.

When the restaurant advertised for a dishwasher position, they encouraged the student to apply for the job.

Burril continued seeking additional opportunities for the student to develop employment and communication skills.

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