Distinguished Alumna: Teacher Advocates for Special Needs Children Nationwide

Michelle AccardiDistinguished Alumna Michelle Felis Accardi BA '87, director of state policy and advocacy for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, first felt the call to educate children, especially those with disabilities, while practicing law as a private sector attorney. Her dedication and leadership as an elementary school teacher of children with special needs was quickly recognized and put to work on a national level.

Currently, Accardi works in Washington, D.C., with policymakers, advocates and educators across the country to develop education policy that promotes effective teaching and student achievement. She will be awarded one of UD's Distinguished Alumni Awards at a dinner in their honor on Saturday, Oct. 5.

As one of 102,000 teachers (three percent of teachers nationwide) to attain the highest level of teaching certification—a national board certified teacher—Accardi is uniquely qualified to advocate for special needs children.

"Her dedication to the profession of education and her desire to increase awareness for students with special needs is what sets Michelle apart from other educators," said Lisa Oliphant, Albuquerque Public Schools special education instructional manager.

Despite a hefty list of impressive career accomplishments, Accardi has made a habit of finding time to volunteer, working pro-bono for a children's charity in Albuquerque while practicing law, teaching Catechism classes at her parish and always being available or fellow teachers.

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