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2020 Presidential Scholarships

Julie Pettibone

Julie Pettibone earned her BS degree from St. Francis University. She spent five years teaching in self-contained ED classrooms at Monmouth Elementary in Decatur while working at Adams and Wells Special Services Cooperative. She moved to Southwest Allen County Schools 21 years ago and taught in self contained ED classrooms for secondary education students for 17 years. She sought a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and became Board Certified as a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst on her journey to provide additional supports for the students in her community.

She currently works as Southwest Allen County Schools’ Autism/Behavior Consultant. She serves as her district’s Autism Consultant in the NE Roundtable, attends monthly and subcommittee meetings for Allen County’s System of Care, and works 1:1 with students, staff, and provides school wide trainings. She is currently finishing a second masters at Ball State University to obtain Director of Exceptional Needs Licensure.

She has a wonderful husband and two daughters. In her free time, she enjoys reading professional journals, books, and sailing at Grand Lake St. Mary’s, Ohio. She is considering obtaining a doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis after a few years of taking some time off from classes. She hopes to find a position as a Special Education Director so she may share her expertise and knowledge on a broader scale.

Kari Walmer

Kari Walmer graduated from Grace College in 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education. She served as a special education teacher from 2007-2014 and, in 2014, transitioned into a more administrative role as a Special Services Coordinator for Warsaw Community Schools (WCS). In this capacity, she is able to provide professional development opportunities and assist teachers in meeting the unique needs of students. She is a social/emotional core team member, and a certified instructor of Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR), a suicide prevention program used at Warsaw Community Schools. She is also involved within the community by serving on the Board of Directors for Joe’s Kids, a non-profit pediatric rehabilitation clinic. Her current position not only allows her to have a significant influence on students, teachers, and staff but the opportunity to be an advocate for special education. Currently, she is attending Indiana University where she is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership as well as a Director of Exceptional Needs license.

She was recommended for the ICASE Presidential Scholarship by Dr. David Hoffert, Superintendent of Warsaw Community Schools and Amy Hobbs, Director of Special Services for Warsaw Community Schools.

2019 Presidential Scholarships

Joel Luckey

Joel Luckey received a Bachelors of Science from Manchester College in 2006 with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. It was during his undergraduate years that he discovered that he had a passion to work with students with Emotional Disabilities and behavioral challenges. Driven to better understand behavior and approaches to create socially significant outcomes for students, he enrolled in Ball State’s Applied Behavior Analysis Program under the leadership of Dr. Jerome Ulman. In 2012, he received his Master’s Degree from Ball State University in Applied Behavior Analysis. In 2013, he became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst under the supervisor of Dr. Cathy Pratt. He will complete his Director of Exceptional Needs Licensure through Ball State University in the summer of 2019.

Joel began his teaching career at West Noble Middle School in the Emotional Disabilities program for the Northeast Indiana Special Education Cooperative 6 years ago. He continued teaching with NEISEC for the next 5 years in the Emotional Disabilities High School program at Central Noble High School. While there he helped establish their Unified Track Program and hosted the 2017 Sectional Track Meet. Most recently, he is Behavior Consultant/Diagnostician for NEISEC and the Autism Leader of Noble County. His major interest is in developing systems of support for learners with behavioral challenges that produce better outcomes for students once they reach adulthood. He feels blessed to have such a fulfilling career working with kids every day. He hopes that he is impacting students’ lives as much as they impact his.

He was recommended for the ICASE Presidential Scholarship by Karla Mettert, Noble County Director of Special Education-NEISEC and Alecia Pfefferkorn, Principal of Prairie Heights Elementary.

Michelle Robinson

Michelle Robinson has been serving students in the field of education for sixteen years, with thirteen of those years being in the department of exceptional learners. She is currently a resource teacher at Central Elementary School in MSD of Pike Township, where she holds various leadership positions including, RTI coordinator, PBIS co-chair, social media coordinator, student ambassador coach and founder and coach for the Central Jammers dance team. Michelle is an alumni of Valparaiso University and the University of Indianapolis where she has earned both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree. Michelle continues to be a lifelong learner. She is currently attending Indiana University where she is pursuing her license to become a director of special education. She is also the mother of two beautiful children, Chelly and Shalon II.

2018 Presidential Scholarships

Monica Douglas

I earned my Bachelors of Science degree and Masters of Arts degree both from Ball State University.  As an undergraduate, I earned my degree in elementary education and special education.  I also completed my kindergarten endorsement during that time.  The focus of my graduate degree was in emotional and behavioral disorders.  Currently, I am again attending Ball State University where I am pursuing my Director of Exceptional Needs license.

I spent my first two years of my teaching career at Rushville Elementary School in my childhood hometown.  Currently, I am the special education resource room teacher at Waldron Elementary School in Waldron, Indiana where I have held this position for the past 19 years.  I currently serve on our school’s safety team, reading leadership committee, PL 221 committee, and social committee.  I also serve on our corporation’s AdvancEd team.

I was recommended for the ICASE Presidential Scholarship by Dr. Robert Evans, Superintendent of Shelby Eastern Schools and Michelle Neff, Director of Special Education for Shelby Eastern Schools.

Kimberly Luke Scherer

I have had the great pleasure of working for East Noble School Corporation for the last 12 years; part of a community in which I was born and raised.  I graduated from IPFW with a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education with licensure in Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies, and later added a minor degree of study in Mild Disabilities. In 2010 I completed my Master’s Degree in Exceptional Needs Intense Intervention at the University of Saint Francis.  The school corporation has had me serve on the Autism Team for the past 11 years, and I am nearly finished with a certification as a Registered Behavior Technician. Currently, I am enrolled in the Director of Exceptional Needs program at Indiana University.

At East Noble I have taught Functional Life Skills at all grade levels where we currently educate and serve students beginning in eighth grade until they reach the age of 22. Our room, is not just a classroom of workers, but one that contains a family. We celebrate each other’s triumphs and support each other through all of our challenges. The team that I work with is nothing short of amazing; each of us is invested in our students and we all have high expectations. Not only is our classroom so wonderful, but we also have great support in our building and in our district as well. Together we continue to break down barriers for our students with special needs and gain support from our community. I am proud to co-teach with wonderful teachers; together we have created the Round Table CafĂ©—an in-house restaurant staffed by students with disabilities. At the cafe students are responsible for food preparation, service, bussing, and clean-up. We also co-teach Learning Partners simultaneously with FLS. Learning Partners is a class for students that seek to work with differently abled individuals. This class helps break down stigma associated with disability and facilitates respect, caring, and friendships that extend beyond high school.  I am also proud supporter of #UnifiedChampions #UnifiedKnights #knightnation.

In my personal life, I am blessed by two beautiful children, four dogs, and a loving husband. Faith is the cornerstone of my life.  We have a very close family that is very supportive.  I am a huge fan of classic rock and contemporary Christian music.  I enjoy taking my mother to concerts, spending time outdoors, and reading. I am inspired to write, quilt, and finish my Grandfather’s quest to trace our genealogy. As a professional, I intend to obtain my Ph.D. and teach at the collegiate level in my silver years. At the end when I look back, I should hope to say I lived according to Robert Frost, “I shall be telling this with a sigh. Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”


Lindsay Dietrich Wolf

Lindsay completed her undergraduate work in Special Education at Wittenburg University in Springfield, Ohio.  She continued her education with a Masters degree from Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne, in Educational Leadership.  She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Special Education and completing the director of Exceptional Needs program at Ball State University.

Lindsay began her teaching career at Norwell High School as a Mild Disabilities teacher and then moved to Homestead High School where she is serving as the Chairperson of Special Education Department.  Lindsay has been an active and integral member of the Northeast Transition Cadre since its inception.  She is a participating member of the IEP Resource Center Behavior Workgroup.  She has authored and co-authored many works and presents frequently in Fort Wayne and around the state.  Lindsay was recommended for the ICASE Presidential Scholarship by Parker Grider, Principal of Homestead High School and Roxanne May, Director of Special Education for Southwest Allen County Schools. Congratulations to Lindsay for receiving one of the 2017 Presidential Scholarships

Rob Richards

My career of working with individuals with disabilities began in 1997 while serving as a Rehabilitation Instructor for Cardinal Center Inc., which provides basic level group homes for adults with significant cognitive and/or physical impairments.  After completing my bachelor's degree in education at Indiana University South Bend in 2000, I began my career as a mild disabilities teacher at LaVille Elementary (Union-North United School Corporation) in Lakeville, Indiana, where I spent the next 15 years.  During that time, I earned my master's degree from Indiana University in 2005, with a focus on Seriously-Emotionally Handicaps.  I am currently completing my final semester (internship) at Ball State University for my Director of Exceptional Needs license.  I am in my second year serving as the Outreach Director for the J.E.S.S.E. cooperative in Plymouth, Indiana, which partners with nine school corporations.  I am a certified instructor for the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI).  A fun fact about myself is that I'm a member of the 501st Legion, which is the largest international Star Wars costuming organization, recognized and approved by the Walt Disney World Corporation and Lucas Films Limited.  I serve as a Stormtrooper, and we do charity and volunteer work for several organizations including the Children's Miracle Network, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and many organizations that support individuals with disabilities.  All of our costumes are movie screen accurate and represent the world of Star Wars, bringing joy and smiles to thousands of kids and adults per year.  

I was recommended for the ICASE Presidential Scholarship by the J.E.S.S.E. Executive Director, Linda Holland and Dr. Michael Harvey from Ball State University. 


Adenike Aderiye

Adenike began teaching in Texas in 2005 as a Science and Social Studies teacher.  She then taught students with exceptional needs from 2006-2012 and developed and implemented an after school program titled (ELIT) Educated Ladies in Training for young at-risk girls targeting self Esteem. In 2012 she began teaching at College Park Elementary in Indianapolis where she served as a teacher liaison for the 21st Century Scholars Program, RTI Core Team Member and as a Homebound and ESY Instructor. In 2013 she served as the Exceptional Learners Department Chair at Lincoln Middle School where she served as Public Agency Representative and assisted the Special Education Director in administrative duties. Also during this time she served as a parent liaison for special education services, implemented co-teaching, and developed and implemented the RTI process at the secondary level.  She most recently served as the Department Chair for Exceptional Learners at Pike High School and assisted the directors in administrative duties. She was a 2015 ElevatEd Presenter "The Power of 2:Co-teaching". Adenike also restructured the students with Emotional Disabilities program and Managed the summer ESY program. Adenike was recommended for the ICASE Presidential Scholarship by the Director of Exceptional Learners MSD Pike Township, Megan Ahlers and Pike High School Principal Troy Inman.  


Kristen Baker

Kristen served as an Autism Specialist and Program Support Teacher the past eight years for Special Services Johnson County and surrounding schools.  She is currently working on her director of exceptional needs license through Ball State University. Kristin was recommended for the ICASE Presidential Scholarship by Johnson County Special Services Executive Director Angela Balsley and Michele Neumann Assistant Director. Kristin is a member of CEC, a presenter for Central Indiana Autism Round Table, Coordinator of ANTS (SSJCSS Autism network), and a member presenter for Program support PLC.  She provides professional development for staff, parents and community agencies, was the pilot coordinator for TeachMate 365 for six school districts, and the curator of the Autism components on the SSJCSS website and Pinterest page. Kristen received the 2010-11 SSJCSS People’s Choice Award for outstanding service and the 2009-10, 2011-12 SSJCSS Valuable Contributions Award. Her goal as a director is to engage, equip and empower staff and students so that they may achieve to their potential. 

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