Dept. 4298, 1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307) 766-2761
Toll Free: 1-888-989-9463
Fax: (307) 766-2763
The Wyoming Institute of Disabilities has dedicated our annual award to the founder of this center, Dr. Keith A. Miller. Professor Miller received his Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University and worked for many years at the University of Wyoming in Social Work before he began laying the groundwork for a University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) in 1986. After several years of planning, the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities was officially launched in November 1994, and Dr. Miller served as the director until his retirement in 2007.
Keith A. Miller built his career upon the philosophy that everyone should help communities become more welcoming and supportive of people with disabilities. In his words, “We are an interdependent community; we all rely on others. We all have abilities; we all have disabilities, it’s a natural part of life.”
It is Dr. Miller’s spirit of dedication and desire for excellence in being “a force fighting for people with disabilities” that has inspired the Keith A. Miller Award.
The Keith A. Miller Award will be presented at the annual MEGA Conference.
Margret "Mickey" Anderson, the transition coordinator for Converse County School District #1 in Douglas, Wyoming, is the 2015 recipient of the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) Keith A. Miller Award. Since 2005, this award has been given to someone who is making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities in Wyoming. Specifically, it goes to someone who does dedicated volunteer work, is a leader in advocacy for people with disabilities, is an extraordinary caregiver or family member, or shows exemplary commitment to improving services, opportunities, or experiences for people with disabilities. This year the award goes to “the person who has become the ‘go to person’ for employment, program initiatives and teaching students beyond expectations,” according to her nominator, Nita Werner.
Anderson has been working in special education her entire adult life. The initial roots and inspiration for her work began with Anderson’s mother, Margaret Gatton, while assisting in her classroom before and after school to help make accommodations for individuals who learned differently. Since then, Anderson has dedicated her time to creating numerous programs for students including: Special Olympics, the Culinary Cats Program, Skills USA and transitional School to Work programs. She has been in Douglas for the last 14 years, and before that was a Behavioral Specialist in Wisconsin for 22 years.
When asked what her favorite part of her job is, Anderson replied, “[My] favorite part of my job is now, and has always been, the day-to-day interactions with students. I love seeing students for their annual transition interviews, job searches, culinary classes, and a host of other cares and concerns that they bring to share with me.”
When notified that she had won the award, Anderson was blown away, shocked, and was humbled to be honored for her passion. She claims to be a “backstage sort of person, not a spotlight one.” While she may feel this way, it is obvious that she is making huge impacts in the lives around her. Beyond her work within the school district, Anderson is also involved with the Douglas Education Association, serves as President and on various committees, as well as with the Wyoming Education Association, and volunteers with local groups/organizations and businesses such as the Hospital, Boys and Girls Club, and the Senior Center.
Mickey’s philosophy for her work is conveyed in her motto: “I believe that God has put gifts, talents, and abilities inside of every one of us. When you develop those things and believe in yourself, you believe that you are a person of influence, purpose, and integrity. This will help you rise up out of any situation.”
2015: Margret "Mickey" Anderson
2014: Donna Shipp
2013: Brenda Oswald
2012: Richard Leslie
2011: J. Darryl Cooper
2010: Cody Lou Taubert
2009: Rose Rennell
2008: Elva Laird
2007: Keith A. Miller
2006: Peggy Nickel
2005: Lynda Baumgardner