Former DV Student Selected as CHADD Educator of the Year
Posted 11/06/2018 10:22AM

CHADD Educator of the Year Toby Tomlinson Baker

Headshot of Toby Tomlinson Baker 2018

DVFS is thrilled to share that former student Toby Tomlinson Baker has been selected as the CHADD 2018 Educator of the Year! She will receive the award in November, 2018 in Missouri at CHADD's annual conference.

"As an adult with ADHD, I am so proud that my nine years of educating others with ADHD has been recognized," Toby commented. "Additionally, I will be presenting about ADHD and will most likely discuss my experience as a student, including my years at DVFS. I'm so proud to have been a student at DVFS."

Though she only attended DVFS for a short time in the 1990s, the experience had a profound impact on former student Toby Tomlinson Baker, who is now a special education teacher and a researcher and doctoral scholar at Pepperdine University in California. Toby is passionate about breaking down barriers that prevent students with learning disabilities from high quality education at all levels – especially higher education. In fact, her doctoral research centers on creating equal access to college bound students with learning disabilities and what factors affect high school students with learning disabilities pursuit of higher education.

Toby shared some thoughts with us about teaching students with learning differences and ADHD as well as receiving this award:

Currently, I am in my tenth year as a teacher of culturally diverse, disadvantaged students with specific learning disabilities and ADHD. I want them to have a positive school experience. My students are going to remember their school experience and me, their teacher, for the rest of their lives, so I want to be the best teacher they ever had!

Since studying under the tutelage of such caring and supportive professors at Pepperdine, I've discovered that there is a great deal of research needed in the area of adults with learning disabilities, equity, and educational policy. I would certainly like to contribute research to these areas. My research at Pepperdine University centers on the academic integration of college-bound students, as well as adults with learning disabilities since adults have much more difficulties receiving accommodations for education, particularly for higher education.

As an adult with ADHD, even when professionals, such as professors and psychologists, discouraged me from applying and pursuing higher education, I simply said "Thank you very much" and then went and applied anyway. I reject negativity! If I had accepted "no" and become discouraged, I wouldn't be where I am now, and I certainly would not be CHADD's Educator of the Year.

Congratulations Toby on this well-deserved recognition of your achievements as a caring educator of students who learn differently! We are so proud to have you as part of our DVFS family, and to have contributed in some small way to your success.