Staff Awards for Exceptional Special Education Services

Sharpsburg Staff group photo at Staff Service Awards

The Watson Institute’s W. Bruce Thomas Education Center in Sharpsburg was proud to honor 14 employees for their dedicated service ranging from 5 to 20 years, at our annual Staff Service Awards recently. The Watson Institute’s Sharpsburg location is home to the LEAP Preschool, WISCA (Watson Institute Social Center for Academic Achievement), and administrative offices for Watson’s training and consultative services.

LEAP Preschool, which provides an inclusive high quality early intervention learning environment to children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their typically-developing peers was the first program of its kind when it was created in 1981. Since then, the program has grown and the Watson Institute added LEAP to its educational service offerings in 1995.

“LEAP was originally funded by the federal government as a model demonstration program which integrated preschool children with ASD with typically developing preschool children.” said Dr. Marilyn Hoyson, COO at the Watson Institute and prior director of LEAP.

Many of the staff members celebrating their Watson Institute years of service have been with the LEAP program since its inception. Nancy Draftina, Program Coordinator, said “LEAP is a part of my family. I have known some of these people a lot longer than my immediate family and hold them close to my heart. It is not just luck that I have stayed working with the same people for so many years.”

Every year, the Watson Institute recognizes the talented employees who work with our students and their families to ensure their specialized education needs are being provided.

Check out our careers page to learn how you can join the Watson family!