Gimbel recognized for special education work
By ELISA SAND, Staff Reporter
Marci Gimbel received special recognition on Monday from the South Dakota Council for Exceptional Children.
Special Education Paraprofessional Marci Gimbel (right) sits with Allison Englert, one of the students she works with at Madison Middle School.
Gimbel, a special education paraprofessional, received a Special Education Staff of the Year award. Now in her second year working for the Madison Central School District, Gimbel spent the majority of her time last year working with one particular student, Allison Englert, who is currently a freshman with cerebral palsy.
Gimbel was nominated by Englert's mom, Jennifer.
"Marci Gimbel has been her aide for the past two school years and she is a wonderful teacher, friend and support to our family," Englert said in her nomination. "She provides Allison with conscientious and compassionate care, thinking always of Allison's needs, her enjoyment, education and dignity."
Gimbel started last year as a long-term substitute as a paraprofessional (teacher's aide) in the middle school working one-on-one with Englert.
"This is my fourth year with Allison," special education teacher Janie Rook said. "Last year we saw her completely come out of her shell. She (Marci) has done superb everywhere she's been."
Rook said Gimbel is kind and positive toward all the students and she's always coming up with new activities.
Gimbel was hired full-time with the district for the 2012-13 academic year.
"I love working with the kids and all the fun things we do," she said.
Gimbel said she plans lots of hands-on activities for the students that are both engaging and geared toward their abilities.
She said she felt "very honored" to be nominated as staff of the year. "The Englerts are amazing beyond belief," she said.
Gimbel is one of several special education paraprofessionals within the district. While Gimbel does have a teaching degree, Madison High School Principal Sharon Knowlton said that paraprofessionals are not required to have a teaching degree or be a certified teacher. These staff work directly with the students. Some of the paraprofessionals provide one-on-one support; others assist with tutoring or help in the classroom.