Beth Swedeen (WI UCEDD/LEND/IDDRC) Announced as the 2008 Victor J. Contrucci Outstanding Service Awardee

May 14, 2008

Sources: Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities and
Dan Bier, Associate Director, Waisman Cente

Beth Swedeen

Waisman Center Outreach Specialist Beth Swedeen has been selected to receive the 2008 Victor J. Contrucci Outstanding Service Award from the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (formerly the Wisconsin Council on Developmental Disabilities).

The Victor J. Contrucci Outstanding Service Award is presented each year to an individual who has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to quality educational programming for children with exceptional educational needs in either formal or informal settings. Recipients demonstrate characteristics such as high professional standards, child and family advocacy; enthusiasm, tenacity, and leadership. Additionally, they put forth extraordinary effort above and beyond what is normally expected and required.

Beth's career at the Waisman Center has evolved over the past ten years as the priority for her projects has shifted from supporting families in the early childhood years to empowering youth in their teenage years. Beth has been in a unique position to make the important link between families' and children's early experiences with what happens in middle/high school and the transition from school. Throughout all of her work, she has kept her focus on helping families and kids have a vision for their lives and gain skills to realize those dreams. Her knowledge of the resources that support children and families and her practical understanding of ways to improve those systems and resources have inspired many families to work for change, including leading 10 cohorts of Parents as Leaders participants over the past 10 years. More recently, this optimism and enthusiasm has been passed along to youth.

Beth is currently involved in two transition-related projects: as coordinator for Project Summer and as part of the Natural Supports team at the University Center for Excellence In Developmental Disabilities within the Waisman Center. Beth is the parent of two daughters, including one who has developmental disabilities. She is a founding member of Madison Partners for Inclusive Schools, which works to improve educational opportunities for learners with special education needs.

Victor J. Contrucci, who served on the Wisconsin Council on Developmental
Disabilities for over twenty years, was an outspoken advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. During his forty years of service to children with special needs he worked as a teacher, psychologist, state programs supervisor, Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Birth through Two Advisory Council officer, and in later years, a parent, grandparent, and guardian of individuals with exceptional educational needs. Vic passed away in 2003 and is deeply missed.

The presentation will be made during the 2008 Awards Luncheon that will be held at the Concourse Hotel in Madison, on Thursday, May 22, 2008. During that time the Board will also recognize representatives of the media who have produced or published stories about individuals with disabilities that demonstrate the many ways they contribute every day as active members of communities throughout the state.