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Local native receives education award

December 30, 2012
From staff reports , The Herald-Star

Nanci A. Sullivan, director of pupil personnel for the South Fayette School District in the Pittsburgh area, was honored by the Pennsylvania Association of Pupil Services Administrators with the "2012 Student Services Award of Excellence" for her department.

PAPSA stated that Sullivan's department of pupil services represented the highest score of excellence ever demonstrated during the award screening process of PAPSA's Executive Board, adding that it reflects Sullivan's exemplary central office administrative leadership capabilities through her transformational vision while raising the bar for her staff in implementing set goals, standards, procedures and policies, programs and services set forth district-wide.

South Fayette School District is ranked in the top 10 school districts in Pennsylvania and is considered the fastest growing district percentage-wise in the state, and a newly constructed intermediate school building will be opening in the summer.

Sullivan is the daughter of June Sullivan of Wintersville and the late Chester Sullivan.

As PAPSA's 2012 Student Services Award of Excellence winner, she was invited to present at this year's National Association of Pupil Services Administrators' annual conference in Philadelphia. Her presentation was centered on the theme of "Pupil Services: Electrifying Education."

Sullivan began her career 34 years ago as a special education teacher for the Buckeye Local School District. She then was hired by the Steubenville City School District, working there as a special education teacher for 16 years. She followed that up by working at the University of Pittsburgh in various capacities, including as a supervisor of Falk Laboratory School on the University of Pittsburgh campus. She also obtained a grant for research at the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

A central office administrator for about 14 years, she has served as director of pupil personnel for the South Fayette School District for the last 12 years.

She graduated from Wintersville High School in 1976 and holds a bachelor's degree in elementary and special education from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1980. Sullivan also earned a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Dayton in 1983, a doctorate in education/special education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995 and a post-doctorate in executive interdisciplinary advanced educational leadership from Duquesne University in 2001.

Sullivan taught from 2005-09 in the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Instruction and Learning as part of the Supervisor of Special Education Certification Program. Sullivan also published professional journal articles and a book in 2004 entitled, "With a Shadow: Surviving Childhood Leukemia" based on six years of her research at the University of Pittsburgh and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

She has served on numerous committees during her tenure in education and has had the opportunity to travel to Greece, China, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, New Zealand and Australia to present her research and work with teachers and administrators in their schools. Most recently, she chaperoned a group of high school juniors and seniors on a trip to Spain and Italy.

Sullivan has been honored with numerous awards for her contributions to the field of education/special education/pupil services, including the East Central Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center Outstanding Special Educator Award and the Franklin B. Walter Outstanding Special Educator State of Ohio Award, both in 1997; Ohio Teacher of the Year Finalist (1998), the Donald D. Hammill Foundation Research Award (1994), Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award from the University of Pittsburgh (1996), the Father Columbo Devlin Education Award from Franciscan University of Steubenville (2005).

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