Joyce Johnstone honored by Indiana special education leaders

by William Schmitt

Joyce Johnstone

Joyce Johnstone, the Ryan Director of Educational Outreach in the Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI) at the University of Notre Dame, has been named Professor of the Year by the Indiana Council for Exceptional Children (INCEC), representing leaders statewide in the field of special education.

Johnstone administers all IEI programs involving outreach to schools and teachers in Indiana. She also directs program development and the inclusionary initiatives within the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), a signature Notre Dame activity that prepares teachers for work in under-resourced Catholic schools around the country.

She developed ACE’s “Teaching Exceptional Children” licensure program for Catholic schoolteachers, which has received State of Indiana accreditation. This new ACE initiative, among many endeavors that Johnstone leads, responds to the need for Catholic school teachers to bring all students into full participation in their school communities.

“She is a tireless visionary whose advocacy on behalf of children with exceptionalities has broadened their opportunities,” says Jennifer Borek, a member of ACE’s faculty of instruction and supervision. Borek, who also is a Fellow in the IEI, noted the startup of “Teaching Exceptional Children” in her letter nominating Johnstone for the INCEC recognition.

With more than 12 years of leadership in IEI and ACE, administering millions of dollars in funded projects, Johnstone holds a Ph.D. in special education from Indiana University. She chaired the education department at Marian College in Indianapolis before coming to Notre Dame, and she has taught children with disabilities in Ohio, Hawaii and Maryland.

INCEC bestows its annual award for professors upon those individuals who demonstrate their knowledge, skill and sensitivity in teaching university students about persons with disabilities and who serve as an inspiration and role model for students and colleagues alike. INCEC is the Indiana state unit of the Council for Exceptional Children, whose core values include the dignity and worth of all individuals as advanced by special and gifted education in the United States.

The 2010 Professor of the Year award was presented at INCEC’s fall conference on Oct. 16.

Contact: Bill Schmitt, IEI media specialist, 574-631-3893