Michaela Hamill<br/>2021 Exceptional Service Award Recipient

Michaela Hamill
2021 Exceptional Service Award Recipient

Senior Teacher
May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities
Wilmington, Mass.

Michaela began her journey at the May Center School in Wilmington as an intern in 2019.  She proved herself to be an asset and was sorely missed after her internship ended. We were excited when she decided to stay on as relief staff, and then join us as a full-time staff upon finishing her bachelor’s degree.  

As a Teaching Assistant, Michaela readily took on any tasks the Senior Teacher gave her. She discovered a passion for applied behavior analysis (ABA) that led her to enroll in the ABA master’s program at Endicott College.

Michaela was promoted to Classroom Counselor and excelled in that position as well. When the need presented itself, Michaela took on the role of waiver Senior Teacher. She took on the challenge of being a Lead Teacher while also beginning to conduct research for her thesis and expressed concerns that she might have trouble balancing both her schooling and the role of lead teacher. Despite this, she stepped up, seeing the need in the classroom for continuity and knowing that her colleagues and students in her classroom already saw her as a leader. She has excelled since beginning this position, in part due to her excellent management skills. Michaela is able to delegate what tasks she can to the Teaching Assistant and Counselor in her classroom, which allows her to focus on the tasks only the Teacher can complete so the team can continue providing high-quality programming. 

In the few short months since she has taken on this new role, Michaela has had nearly a complete turnover of students as the students she started out with shifted up to older classrooms. She has conducted both behavioral and educational assessments, written progress reports and draft IEPs, attended and participated in planning meetings, and has taken over contact with families. Michaela requires minimal feedback on written work and instantly applies feedback to future documents. She submits this high-quality work on time – often earlier than expected. She does all this despite her schooling focus being behavior analysis rather than education.

In fact, since taking on the role of Senior Teacher, we have seen Michaela apply skills she learned in her ABA classes to adapt target teaching strategies, change educational targets, and make data-based decisions that have already made an impact on her students’ academic progress. Support specialists who consult with the classroom have expressed how impressed they are with the progress Michaela’s students have made. 

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