Elizabeth Sheaffer receives the 2017/18 Josephine J. Decima Award for Excellence in the Field of Special Education

by Comm Contractor | Dec 04, 2017
Elizabeth Sheaffer, 2017 CAIU Decima Award Winner

The Capital Area Intermediate Unit is proud to announce that Elizabeth Sheaffer, a teacher at Boiling Springs High School, is the winner of this year’s Decima award. Sheaffer is an educator in a multiple disabilities classroom, which she likes to refer to as a multiple abilities classroom. The Decima award was established to honor the life of the late Josephine Decima, a former CAIU educator, who helped pioneer the field of special education in central Pennsylvania. Sheaffer was presented with the award at the South Middleton School Board Meeting on December 4.

“My older brother was born with a chromosomal abnormality and diagnosed at birth with cerebral palsy, mental retardation, deafness and blindness,” said Sheaffer. “It is his positive educational experiences [at Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind Children] that lured me to this teaching profession and led me to believe that every single child deserves an opportunity to be educated, no matter how severe his or her disabilities are.”

Sheaffer said she is honored to receive the Decima Award, but added that student success is a team effort that includes passionate paraprofessionals, knowledgeable therapists and supportive administrators.


About Josephine Decima

During her nearly 40-year career in teaching, Josephine J. Decima was a pioneer in the field of special education in central Pennsylvania. She believed that students with special needs were entitled to a strong academic program supplemented by life-skills training. She fought tirelessly to improve instructional programs and experiences for children with physical and mental challenges. Decima was a lifelong advocate for special-needs children, and an inspirational role model for teachers.

The CAIU proudly established the Josephine J. Decima Award in 2010 to recognize and honor teachers who exemplify her outstanding work on behalf of students with special needs.

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