UH Manoa College of Education faculty awarded Professional of the Year

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: May 26, 2009

Jean Johnson, Associate Director of the UH Mānoa Center on Disability Studies (CDS), was awarded Professional of the Year by the Special Parent Information Network (SPIN) at their 24th annual conference in April. Sponsored by the Disability and Communication Access Board and the Department of Education, SPIN is a parent to parent organization in Hawaiʻi that provides information, support, and referrals to parents of children and young adults with disabilities and the professionals who serve them.

According to Susan Rocco, SPIN Coordinator and longtime CDS Advisory Council member, Johnson‘s exceptional reputation and relationship with SPIN began 22 years ago when Johnson became the project director of the 0—3 Project, a state planning grant to develop and coordinate services for infants and toddlers with disabilities. During her directorship, Johnson encouraged staff to bring their infants to work with them and could often be found multitasking with a baby on her lap. "If ever there was a professional who could model the concept of putting families in the center of care, it was Jean. Everything she did was parent and kid friendly," Rocco said.

Johnson has been serving the disability community for many years, extending her generosity and hard work to her staff, families, boards, and councils. The Learning Disabilities Association of Hawaii, Easter Seals Hawaii, the Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Special Education Advisory Council are just of few of her professional memberships.

Director of the CDS Robert Stodden said, "Jean Johnson is especially deserving of this recognition. She is known far and wide for her family centered approach when addressing the special health, education, and human service needs of children with disabilities. This honor, as well as the many others she has received, brings distinction to her professional career and to the Center on Disability Studies."

An audiologist, as well as an educator, Johnson is the Associate Director of CDS. Through grant writing, she has been making significant contributions to everything from newborn hearing screening and inclusive education to transition supports for young adults with emotional disabilities and self advocacy for youth with developmental disabilities.