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Joy Zabala AT & AEM Fellows Named for 2023–2024

Monday, August 14, 2023

Photos of Aaron Marsters, Jayme Grant, Darla Ashton, Candace Hayden, Dr. Danalyn Workentin, and Megan Stewart

The steering committee of the Joy Zabala Fellowship in Assistive Technology (AT) and Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) is pleased to announce the 2023-24 class of JZ Fellows. The JZ Fellowship was established in 2021 to actively honor the legacy of educator Joy Zabala, whose work helped to create solutions that expand opportunities for all learners, especially those with disabilities. This is the second cohort of JZ Fellows. 

The JZ Fellowship selects AT/AEM expert applicants to serve as mentors to emerging practitioner mentees. The selected pairs then jointly create a work plan that reflects the collaboration and investment in learning that epitomized Joy’s approach to education. The inaugural cohort of JZ Fellows leveraged these partnerships to inform work in their local areas, as well as the field, in general.

During the 2023-24 academic year, a new group of JZ Fellows will collaborate with mentors, connectors to the field, and previous fellows to develop, enhance, and disseminate AT and AEM-focused practices designed to widen educational opportunities for struggling students.

The 2023-2024 Joy Zabala Fellowship pairs are:

  • Dr. Aaron Marsters (mentor), an Assistive Technology Instructional System Specialist for the Department of Defense Education Activity in Europe, and Jayme Grant (mentee), an Educational and Assistive Technology Specialist  in the Beaufort County Schools in Beaufort, South Carolina, will work to increase educator and leadership capacity to implement effective and data-driven AT consideration and  implementation processes at high-risk K-12 schools.
  • Darla Ashton (mentor), an Instructional Interventionist Coach in Indiana, will work with Candace Hayden (mentee), an AT Specialist in Texas, to increase understanding, skills, tools, and resources in AT and AEM, improving procedures for providing thoughtful consideration of AT in primary and secondary schools.
  • Dr. Danalyn Workentin (mentor), an Occupational Therapist and AT Professional in Florida, will work with Megan Stewart (mentee), a Speech Language Pathologist at a school in Florida, to facilitate a school-based AT team while building AT knowledge with families and staff.

The work plan of each JZ Fellowship pair includes one or more measurable goals that are designed to be scalable to other sites and personnel, and that lend themselves to dissemination and use by other partners. In this way, the Joy Zabala Fellows will carry on Joy’s lifelong commitment to sharing and cooperative work.

Your support keeps Joy's legacy alive.

Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Joy Zabala Fellowship in Assistive Technology & Accessible Educational Materials. Your generous gift goes toward the maintenance and extension of the JZ Fellowship program, supporting collaboration and mentorship for educators in assistive technology and accessible educational materials.

Learn more about donating

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