Manokotak educator honored as special education ‘Teacher of the Year’

Le'Esia O'Sullivan, selected as Alaska Special Education 'Teacher of the Year,' is in her fourth year with the Southwest Region School District. (Photo courtesy of SWRSD)
Le’Esia O’Sullivan, selected as Alaska Special Education ‘Teacher of the Year,’ is in her fourth year with the Southwest Region School District. (Photo courtesy of SWRSD)

A Manokotak teacher has been chosen as Alaska’s Special Education “Teacher of the Year” by the Council for Exceptional Children.

Le’Esia O’Sullivan received the honor at a statewide special education conference in Anchorage this month.

Deb Forkner, Principal of Manokotak Nunaniq School, says O’Sullivan works tirelessly in balancing a caseload of 18 elementary-age students.

“Probably the thing that makes her the best is the relationship she builds with her students,” said Forkner. “She really gets to know them on a personal level, so that she can meet their needs and make that connection with them. She also is just really involved in the school and everything that happens at the school, but also any community events so she gets to know students and their families outside of school, which really helps too.”

O’Sullivan is in her third year at the Manokotak school; before that, she spent a year at the Aleknagik school.

She is currently working on her master’s degree in special education, and was nominated for the Teacher of the Year award by her professor, Phillip Patterson.

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