IOD (NH UCEDD) Bids Farewell to One of Its Co-Founders

May 24, 2011

Cheryl Jorgensen
Cheryl Jorgensen

In April, the IOD said farewell to one of its most influential and dedicated staff members. After 24 years, Cheryl Jorgensen is moving on to pursue new endeavors as an inclusive education consultant and UNH affiliate faculty member.

Cheryl's tenure at UNH predates the creation of the IOD by two years, having begun her work with the Center for Health Promotion and Research at the School of Health and Human Services. Though her background and degree focused on health education and public health, her first project was a special education training grant working with the Portsmouth and Nashua schools to help them "integrate" students with "severe disabilities" into regular classes. Since then, Cheryl has been deeply embedded in the IOD's work around inclusive education, especially for students with the most significant disabilities. One of her greatest accomplishments, the Beyond Access model demonstration project, assisted school teams to learn, implement, and refine a student supports and team planning model that blends best practices in inclusive education, augmentative communication, collaborative teaming, and professional development. The success of the model spawned additional NH-based improvement projects, inclusive education personnel preparation grants, and a book, and it became foundational in the development of the National Center on Inclusive Education.

"From the inception of the IOD, Cheryl's vision for inclusive schools and communities extended into all activities and ultimately to the families, classrooms, and communities we serve," said Mary Schuh, IOD Associate Director. "Cheryl never accepted the status quo-she instead challenged us to evaluate our roles and practices and consider ways to work effectively and efficiently to ensure that every student is presumed competent and supported to be successful in general education. As long as we continue to ask ‘What worked?' ‘What didn't?' and ‘How can we do things differently?' with our eye on the prize of full inclusion, Cheryl's presence will carry on."