Honoring Educators at #ADHD2022

 Attention Magazine February 2023

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The tradition of honoring outstanding service and dedication to the ADHD community continued during the Annual International Conference on ADHD in Dallas, Texas, in November 2022. During this first-ever hybrid event, CHADD presented two outstanding teachers with the 2022 Educator of the Year award.

Congratulations to both of these deserving educators, along with CHADD’s deep gratitude for their dedication to students who have ADHD.

2022 Educator of the Year Award

Ken P. Utz, Jr.

Ken P. UtzGraduating cum laude with a bachelor of arts in music, Ken Utz attended the University of North Texas. While there, he was a member of the concert band and many jazz bands, including the 5:00 Lab Band and the Catholic campus music ministry. An Eagle Scout, he is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow and has served as the staff director and camp director of Circle Ten Council’s Winter Camp at Camp Trevor Rees Jones.

Utz has worked at The Shelton School in Dallas, Texas, since 2003 with the upper elementary, middle school, and upper school band students. In 2014, he began working with lower school and upper elementary general music students. He received the Shelton Parents Association Recognition Kudos (SPARK) Award for the 2020-2021 school year. As vice president of the Music Learning Band Program, he works closely with Jerry Bishop and their team providing instrumental, vocal, and general music programs to more than forty different schools across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and Eastern Arizona.

Utz and his wife Haley have three children: Kenny, Natalie, and Meghan. His son Kenny is a sixth-grade Shelton student and member of the after-school band and drumline. Utz is an active member of Christ the King Catholic Church, where he serves as a lector and usher.

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Kathryn Essig, MEd

Kathryn EssigThe founder and president of Essig Education Group, Kathryn Essig has spent thirty years working in special education. Before starting her current practice, she worked in public and private schools as a special educator, educational diagnostician, and learning specialist. She has worked in private practice as an executive function coach, as a curriculum consultant to private schools in the Metro DC area, and as the owner and founder of a learning center. Essig has spent her career observing students with variable executive function skills, training them to externalize necessary study strategies, and adapting school curricula to ensure their success.

Essig has developed a model for student success that allows learners to understand their best organization and study strategies, then implement and individualize the skills to create learned independence. While creating the Learning Center at The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia, she developed a unique study skills curriculum (Essential Study Skills) which, combined with her empowering coaching, has helped numerous students meet their academic potential. Her practice still offers this course during summer vacations.

Over the last several years, Essig has become increasingly interested in school transitions, college attrition, “failure to launch,” and the students she refers to as “rebounders.” Her most recent dive into research has been to look at bright students who were over-assisted in high school and are unable to find autonomy in college. With ever-increasing numbers of bright students experiencing academic struggles, Essig’s practice focuses on the intersection of executive function, resilience, and learned independence for students in elementary school through college and adults as she helps her clients rewrite smart.