Rider adjunct professor receives leadership award

Paulette DiNardo has made a significant impact on the field of special education

Paulette DiNardo received the 2017 Leadership Legacy Award for a community member at the MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Dec. 20, 2017.

The award is presented annually by Rider University's Center for the Development of Leadership Skills (CDLS), a training and resource center for the University and the community.

DiNardo is the director of pupil services for the Hopewell Valley Regional School District and an adjunct professor with Rider's College of Education and Human Services, which offers a Master of Arts in special education as well as a graduate education certification program for teacher of students with disabilities.

DiNardo has significantly impacted the field of special education and is a staunch advocate for both children and adults with developmental disabilities. She developed and implemented a program to assist those students with special needs transitioning into their adult lives, created the academic essentials program for her school district, which trains new staff to work with the disabled population, and has spent over 15 years supervising and training student teachers seeking to work in the special education field. She even inspired one of our own Rider faculty members to create a Special Olympics bowling team that pairs Rider students with a special needs student or adult to connect through the common interest of a sport.  

"The legacy she has established has and will continue to educate our community so we may better appreciate and nurture the unique strengths that all people have," said Laura Seplaki, CDLS associate director, who presented DiNardo with the award.

Rider established the Center for the Development of Leadership Skills in 2004. It houses the Leadership Development Program, a leadership education program that awards those members who meet the requirements a Certificate in Leadership. Members of the program learn through academic, experiential and practical means to better influence, communicate and work with teams. To date, nearly 300 students have earned the certificate.

Previous recipients of the award include Harold V. Laudien '03, CEO of Mercer Wealth Management, and Jeffrey Barnhart '77, CEO and president of Creative Marketing Alliance.

The nomination and application process for the 2018 CDLS Leadership Legacy Award will be available in September 2018.