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Distinguished Achievement Awardees - 2017

In 1975, Esther and Jerry Minskoff came to James Madison University as faculty in the Special Education program at James Madison University and served the field in these positions until their retirement in 2002. Their professional experience in special education spans four decades dating back to 1960 when they were public school teachers in the field. Esther and Jerry have made many significant presentations at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels. Their numerous publications include books, journal and newsletter articles and contributions to various other works; their work at securing major grants has been exceptional; and they have served national and international professional organizations by their membership on boards and in positions of leadership. Their impressive body of work reflects a dedication and depth of knowledge which is exemplary.

The Minskoffs’ service has extended beyond the classroom in their active leadership roles in the community with Jerry serving the Community Mediation Center of Harrisonburg/ Rockingham and Esther’s work in the Skyline Literacy program. Esther and Jerry’s award is reflective of their many years of dedicated teaching in the field of special education. From the public school classroom to university teaching, they served as important role models with grace and inspiration, balancing high expectations with a ready sense of humor that motivated hundreds of students entering this challenging profession. They have served as inspirational mentors to students in a field that has been transformed over the years. They were instrumental in raising the challenging questions that needed to be asked and in leading the reforms that targeted underserved populations.

Jerry and Esther represent lives of dedication to an unwavering advocacy for the right to quality education for all children, and the belief that all children can learn. Their impact continues today in the work of countless teachers, administrators, and teacher educators they taught and mentored.

In 2013, the Esther and Jerry Minskoff Scholarship Endowment in Special Education was created to recognize the significant role Dr. Esther H. Minskoff and Dr. J. Gerald Minskoff played in mentoring and supporting students in the Special Education Master’s Program. 

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