Dr. Zelphine Smith-Dixon is the State Director for the Division for Special Education at the Georgia Department of Education and we are so thankful that she sat down with the YANA Nation podcast to discuss how COVID has interrupted the school curriculum for all children all over the State of Georgia. She has a longstanding history of improving achievement for schools in SC and GA and a global pandemic is not slowing her down.
Dr. Smith-Dixon recognizes that since so many benefits and regulations weren't written for a pandemic, things are extra difficult for families with special needs children. Dr. Smith-Dixon encourages everyone to look at what the regulations are asking and bring innovation and bring a team approach.
"Families should still be able to expect faith," Dr. Smith-Dixon said. "There is still an expectation that students with disabilities need a free, appropriate, public education."
As the Tri-County Special Educator of the Year, Vance-Providence Elementary Teacher of the Year and Orangeburg Consolidated School District Three Alternate District Teacher of the Year, we know that the special needs students of Georgia are in good hands. In April 2018, Columbia College presented her with the Wil Lou Gray Outstanding Educator Award. Later, she served as the Columbia College Commencement Speaker in May 2019.
Currently Dr. Smith-Dixon is President-Elect for the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. She serves in ministry at the dReam Center Church of Atlanta in Decatur, Georgia and is a member of the Covington Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.