As it celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2022, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is recognizing 100 exceptional educators from around the world, “who have shown a passion, dedication, and commitment to making a difference in the lives of the students who they teach.” One of those outstanding educators is Concordia-Chicago alumna Danielle Mitchell MA ’20, a kindergarten through 2nd grade special education resource teacher at Hawthorne Elementary in Elmhurst, IL.

Danielle Mitchell
Danielle Mitchell MA '20

“There are so many things I love about my job as a special educator!” Mitchell says. “One thing I love the most is being able to experience the successes my students achieve together with them. They work so hard each day to do things that may come without challenge to others, and I value the opportunity to help them find areas of strength.”

The CEC is the largest international membership and advocacy organization for special education professionals, dedicated to improving the success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.

Mitchell recognizes the importance of student engagement, incorporating hands-on multisensory learning experiences in her lessons, while striving to make sure her students know that she believes in them. “What gets me through the more challenging days is the reminder that my students deserve a teacher who shows up to do her best and support them as best as possible,” she says.

When deciding to pursue her master’s in early childhood education, Mitchell found CUC’s program to be the best choice to help her stay up to date on current best practices. The program’s fully online format also drew her in, as it allowed her to complete her coursework at the end of a workday.

“I took away many learning experiences from my master’s program that I apply in my professional and personal life today,” she says. “These experiences include ensuring my instruction is developmentally appropriate for the young students I teach. After completing my master's program at Concordia-Chicago I gained the knowledge needed to advocate for the youngest of learners in education.”

To learn more about this exceptional CUC alumna and her passion for teaching, watch a short video about Mitchell on the CEC’s website.