2020 Teacher of the Year:
Rebecca Vitelli is a preschool special education teacher at the Colonial Early Education Program (CEEP) in New Castle, Delaware. She works with typically developing peers and students with autism and moderate to severe health and cognitive needs to provide an exceptional individualized early learning experience. Her firm belief that every child has an innate drive and extraordinary ability to learn guides her inclusive practice. Vitelli earned a master of education in exceptional children and youth with a concentration in autism and severe disabilities and a bachelor of science in early childhood education with minors in human development and family studies and disabilities studies from the University of Delaware. She serves as a leader on her school's Conscious Discipline Action Team, is active on CEEP’s policy council, and participated on the Intensive Support Classroom Committee Advocacy Team. Vitelli is a member of the Colonial Readiness Team, a statewide initiative of volunteer-based teams that strengthen communities and help children from birth through age 8 prepare for success in school and life. Vitelli is a district field study educator on the Supporting Teachers Effectiveness Project and will be featured in an upcoming teacher recruitment film. She has advocated at the state level by writing to legislators regarding various education issues, attended universal pre-K community conversations, and participated in state, national, and international educational conferences. Because she values the power of education, Vitelli’s mission is to build meaningful connections with and among her students and families, instilling a life-long love of learning in all.