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Sandra Lerman, Teacher Education Scholarship Winner, Summer II, 2011

Dominican University, in partnership with Bisk Education, Inc., proudly recognizes Sandra Lerman – an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Lakota West Freshman Campus in West Chester, Ohio – as a winner of the Bisk Foundation Teacher Education Scholarship for the Summer II, 2011 session. The scholarship supports the professional development of outstanding teachers who are making a difference in the lives of their students.

Committed to her students and respected by her peers, Lerman is dedicated to her students’ success. Throughout her education career, she has worked with students of all ages and abilities, with an emphasis of helping those from other countries learn English as a second language.

Lerman believes it’s “important for each of us to figure out exactly why we exist and what we are here to do.” As part of her own journey, she created a life mission statement, which she periodically updates. Her current goals include “making a difference and having a positive, life-changing impact in the world around me.” Her efforts have been recognized with a number of awards, including the Walter and Marian English Award for her service to a non-profit agency.

In her work, Lerman strives to not only teach academic knowledge and skills, but to provide support and encouragement to all of her students, many of whom face challenging economic and linguistic circumstances. “I am pleased that so many of them have gone on to be successful and to achieve their goals of work or college,” she said. Of particular note is a student who was not only deaf, but was diagnosed with Usher’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder that would eventually result in blindness.

Understandably, this student was devastated by the diagnosis. Fortunately, he had a champion in Sandra Lerman, who convinced him to accompany her to the home of a former colleague – a department director and PhD., who happened to be deaf and blind. With Lerman’s interest and intervention, the student was thrilled to learn that his life, too could be full of opportunities, and he could achieve his goals.

Lerman, who is enrolled in Dominican University’s online Master of Arts in Education program with a concentration in English as a Second Language, shared the rest of this student’s story. “I continued to mentor and encourage [him]. He applied and was accepted at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and graduated with a Business Administration degree. He’s been working as an Outreach Coordinator at the American Association for the Deaf-Blind in Washington for six years.”

He joins a host of students Lerman has encouraged to achieve their dreams. She has also become the mother of a daughter who is profoundly deaf, adopted from Guatemala. Along with love, Lerman works to provide her daughter with language and educational opportunities that were unavailable in her home country.

The dedicated faculty and staff of Lakota Local Schools have made it their mission to be accountable to the community, foster open and appropriate communication, continuously improve teaching and learning, demonstrate the highest ethical standards, and treat every relationship with respect and dignity. Lerman, who demonstrates these core values in her relationships with her students, is viewed by her fellow educators as “a dedicated professional who goes above and beyond to help her students experience success.” Said one colleague, “Ms. Lerman is dedicated to making a difference in the life of her students, both academically and as they transition socially into American public schools.”

Lerman looks forward to achieving her Master of Arts in Education degree through Dominican University and expressed her appreciation for the scholarship. “My most important achievement,” she said, “is making a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Together with Dominican University, Bisk Education is proud to salute Sandra Lerman – a true hero who is improving the lives of her students every day.