The Phyllis Mondak Award - Creating Connections to Shining Stars



The conference planning group for Creating Connections to Shining Stars 2017 is proud to announce the Phyllis Mondak Award.

About Phyllis… in 1977, Phyllis began her education career as the first early childhood special education teacher in Bath County, Virginia. Following the passage of Public Law 94-142, she spearheaded the development and implementation of their special education process. After leaving Bath County, Phyllis continued her career in other divisions around the state including Augusta, Prince William, Henrico and Albemarle counties.

From 2003, when Phyllis stepped into the role of 619 Coordinator at the Virginia Department of Education, until she retired in 2015, her passion and commitment to young children and the disabilities community were on full display. Throughout her tenure in this role, her mission and goal were to educate others about the importance of quality inclusive placements for preschoolers with disabilities.

Phyllis envisioned a path forward built by strong collaborative relationships between all programs that served young children with and without disabilities. She advocated and worked to establish the Virginia cross sector professional development (VCPD) workgroup to explore building a system to coordinate early childhood professional development activities across the state. She is credited with the vision to hold the first collaborative statewide Early Childhood Special Education Conference, Shining Stars.  Being a vocal proponent of collaboration, Phyllis later worked to merge Shining Stars with the state early intervention conference.  As a result, there is cross-sector support and coordination for the Creating Connections to Shining Stars Conference (CCSS) through VCPD collaborating agencies.   After retiring, Phyllis continues to use her teaching and administrative skills to support children, families and the disabilities community.


To honor the work that Phyllis started, we are accepting nominations and will choose several nominees to receive this award.  We are looking for outstanding direct service providers who serve infants and toddlers with disabilities or young children with disabilities, 3-5 years of age.   Please think of someone to nominate who approaches their work in the same inclusive and collaborative spirit as Phyllis did. These individuals should be a champion of infants, toddlers and preschoolers with disabilities, within early intervention or early childhood special education.  Registration to the full conference will be waived for each recipient of the award.  Recipients will be reimbursed for their travel (lodging, mileage) to attend the event.  Individuals selected will be recognized during the luncheon at CCSS 2017 being held in Roanoke, Virginia, July 21, 2017.


Please think about a direct service provider, teacher, administrator or professional development provider serving infants and young children with disabilities. You may be currently working with this individual or have worked with this person in the past.   Please take the time to nominate this person for the Phyllis Mondak Award by completing the attached application.