Grandview High School Principal Kurt Wollenweber will receive the Lifetime State “People First” Award from the Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee (CSEAC) during a celebration on April 12. The “People First” Award is given to individuals who have demonstrated the “People First” philosophy while working with Colorado students with special needs.
“People First” means the individual goes above and beyond to make a difference in another person’s life, recognizing a person as an individual first before seeing a disability. “People First” language puts the individual first and the descriptor second (e.g., a person with autism, not an autistic person).
During his ten years at Grandview, the last five as principal, Wollenweber has been an advocate for all students, including those with special needs.
“Under the leadership of Principal Wollenweber, a school culture has been created where students with special needs are not only accepted, but are applauded for their accomplishments,” wrote parent Denise Klein in her nomination of Wollenweber.
“Mr. Wollenweber leads our school with respect and dignity. He treats each person, with or without disabilities, as an individual first with much to give to our society,” wrote Grandview ILC teacher Linda Snelgrove in her nomination. “Through his leadership and example, he has changed the habits of hundreds of Grandview students, parents and community members.”
During Wollenweber’s tenure at Grandview, the school has been recognized locally and nationally for its work with Project UNIFY.
“We work with Special Olympics to use sports and education programs to activate young people to develop school communities where all youth are agents of change, fostering respect, dignity and advocacy for people with disabilities,” said Snelgrove.
Though Wollenweber has been a school-wide and community-wide leader, it is his personal relationships with students that are the most powerful.
“Mr. Wollenweber stops to talk to our students, signs their birthday cards, gives them a high five,” added Snelgrove. “He officiates at graduation events in our classroom, taking time to prepare an individual message for each student.”
The Lifetime State “People First” award is nicknamed the “Eddy” in honor of Dr. Ed Steinberg, former executive director of Student Achievement Services in Cherry Creek Schools. Each year, CSEAC presents the “People First” award to an individual who is retiring. Wollenweber will retire at the end of the school year.
Posted March 26, 2013.