Education Support Professional of the Year

Education Minnesota has named Michelle Dennard, a special education support professional at the Osseo Education Center in Osseo, as the 2020-21 Education Minnesota Education Support Professional of the Year.

Dennard has worked for 16 years in Osseo schools with special education students. 

“I am known for taking on the more challenging students,” she said, in her application materials for the award. “I make sure that all students’ overall needs are met, regardless of their level, race or gender, and that they have the tools to succeed.” 
  
Dennard currently works at Osseo Education Center, a federal setting IV school that serves students ages 17-21 who have significant educational needs requiring a separate site to receive special education services. 
  
“Michelle is an ESP who is focused on recognizing strengths of scholars so they can use those strengths to overcome the challenges they face in our society,” said Angela VanHee, administrator at Osseo Education Center, in her award recommendation letter for Dennard. “She builds relationships that results in students feeling valued and confident.” 

Dennard will receive a $1,200 honorarium and her choice of a Chromebook, iPad or other tablet, plus an expense-paid trip to the NEA Education Support Professional National Conference.

All current Education Minnesota education support professionals who have been members for three years as of Aug. 31 of the award year are eligible. Individuals can be nominated by anyone associated with Minnesota schools by submitting a one-page nomination form.

Nominations for the 2021 ESP of the Year are now open!