Dr. Craig S. Pinello, director of the Department of Exceptional Learning, has received the 2021 James T. Micklem Outstanding Special Education Administrator Award from the Virginia Council for Administrators of Special Education (VCASE).
Dr. Pinello has long been a crusader for the development and implementation of programs and initiatives for students with developmental disabilities. In August of 1992, he began his career as an educator with the Southeastern Cooperative Educational Program (SECEP), a K-12 regional, public day school where students are provided with transitional, work-based, and life-skills instruction. In his nearly three-decade long career, Dr. Pinello has served as an Instructional Support teacher, a principal and assistant director of SECEP, and assessment specialist. As Director of Exceptional Learning, the position he has held since July of 2010, Dr. Pinello has been instrumental in developing and mentoring educators of exceptional children. He supervises the gifted education and special education (SE) programs for all grade levels while cultivating effective communications with SE administrators, psychologists, social workers, service providers, consultants, transition specialists, and Section 504 liaisons.
Priorities for Dr. Pinello include training and development of educators and implementing initiatives in the areas of equity and culturally responsive instruction for students. Most recently Dr. Pinello has served as a co-chair of the division’s Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Leadership Team. As a member of the SEL Leadership Team, he has united the division’s school-based mental health professionals (school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists) to focus on the social-emotional and mental health needs of students.
Congratulations, Dr. Pinello!