Laurie Hoke, a Fresno County educator, was awarded by California State University, Fresno on Dec. 13 with the third annual Carolyn Dobbs Special Education Teacher of the Year Award.

Hoke, an orientation and mobility specialist, works with students with visual impairments in several Fresno County school districts. In 21 years as an educator, she has conducted in-services, taught summer classes on orientation and mobility and has been a representative on the deaf-blind team.

The Dobbs Award is presented by the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at Fresno State to recognize the importance of the work of special education professionals.

Hoke was selected from a group of six central San Joaquin Valley special education professionals who were nominated for the award and recognized at the ceremony.

“Each day I give my students the gift of living in a world that is really not designed for them,” said Hoke. “I convince them they are not different but unique.

“The greatest contribution to my profession is allowing visually impaired students to access the world. I teach them that if they hold their breath and step out of their safety zone, wonderful things are waiting out there for them. They learn to take control of their own lives.”

The annual Dobbs Award was created in 2005 by the Kremen School, honoring alumna Dr. Carolyn Dobbs, who dedicated her professional life to the advancement of special education for children.

Past recipients of this award include Jeanne Cox of Clovis Unified in 2005 and Marilyn Marsh of Fresno Unified in 2006.

For more information, contact Mona Nyandoro at 278.0393.

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Special education teachers to be honored