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Awards & Scholarships

The New Jersey Council for Exceptional Children takes great pride in recognizing students and professionals alike.  So many in our schools and the field of Special Education are deserving of recognition for their remarkable achievements.

NJCEC currently provides four avenues to acknowledge students and professionals.  For the professionals that work with our exceptional students, we offer the NJCEC Teacher of the Year Award and the Dan Ringelheim Professional Achievement Award.  For the students we educate and serve, we offer our NJCEC Scholarship Program and the CEC YES I CAN! Award.  

It is our hope that you will take the time to nominate a student, colleague, friend or family member for one of these prestigious awards.  Additional information can be found below.

Awards and Scholarships

The NJCEC Awards Committee is please to announce the NJCEC Annual Scholarship Program!  Each year, a number of deserving High School seniors are awarded scholarships ranging from $500 - $2000.  The scholarships are available to students who have a diagnosed disability, are eligible for special education, and will be pursuing post-secondary education or training.  These may include 2 or 4 year colleges, technical schools, business schools, fine arts institutes, or other recognized program. 


Download 2024-25 NJCEC Scholarship Nomination Form

The NJCEC Teacher of the Year Award was established to honor an outstanding Special Educator.  The recipient of this award is honored each spring at our NJCEC Annual Conference and is then nominated to CEC as a candidate for the Int'l CEC Teacher of the Year Award.


Download NJCEC 2024-25 Teacher of the Year Nomination Form


Criteria for selection of the Teacher of the Year are:

  • The nominee must be currently involved in the provision of direct services to disabled and/or gifted and talented students.
  • The nominee must have demonstrated exemplary performance over a period of time as a teacher (or other provider of direct services) exhibiting such qualities as innovation, imagination, creativity, and ability to inspire, as indicated by achievements clearly recognized by members of the profession and others knowledgeable of the candidate.
  • The recipient must be a member in good standing of CEC and an appropriately qualified teacher or related specialist as recognized by state and professional authorities.



Please contact Mr. Barry Schwartz, Awards Chair

Download NJCEC Dan Ringelheim Professional Achievement Award Form


“The handicapped child is entitled to an education at the same level of commitment that all other children are entitled to. This commitment to children, to the education of all children to their fullest potential at whatever the cost, is what the term ‘education’ should mean”.

Dan Ringelheim


Dan Ringelheim was one of those rare people who came along only once in a great while. His determination and insight tipped society’s scales in favor of important human values. As one of the prime architects of the Education of all Handicapped Children Act, Dan played a key role in helping change, for the better, education for all of America’s handicapped children.


Dan received his Ph.D. from Peabody College in 1958 and served as Director of Psychological and Pupil Services in a local school district, as well as Professor of Educational Psychology at NYU. He came to New Jersey in 1969 and joined the Department of Education as Director of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services. His remarkable leadership, open style, directness, forcefulness and honesty were always evident, and earned him many warm relationships throughout the state.


As Chairperson of the National Advisory committee on the Handicapped, Dan provided much of the early critique and professional input for the landmark legislation which guaranteed the rights of all handicapped children. This law became known as PL 94-142 and was signed by President Ford in 1975. Dan then moved to Washington DC and was instrumental I the development of the regulations implementing PL 94-142.


The New Jersey Council for Exceptional Children established the Daniel Ringelheim Memorial Award in 1978. Presented biennially, it is the highest award bestowed by the NJCEC to individuals who continue to emulate Dan’s life through outstanding contributions to the field of special education in New Jersey.


PEASE NOTE: the last time the Dan Ringleheim award was given was in 2022 and anybody interested in potentially nominating a professional should contact Mr. Barry Schwartz directly (see below)



Mr. Barry Schwartz, Awards Chair

The New Jersey Council for Exceptional Children

The YES I CAN! Awards honor children and youth with exceptionalities who Shine!  CEC has recognized the accomplishments of thousands of students since the program started in 1982. 


Learn more about Yes I Can!

Last Updated:  24 June, 2024

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