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Special Olympics Ohio Names Northland Intervention Specialist Educator of the Year

Carmen Pinter and Kristi Peters

December 06, 2023 — Role model, advocate, and champion are all words that describe Carmen Pinter, an intervention specialist at Northland High School. 

It’s no coincidence that these words align with the criteria for Special Olympics Ohio’s prestigious ‘Educator of the Year’ award, an honor Pinter can now add to her list of accomplishments.

“This award is meaningful,” said Pinter. “It solidifies that I’m having an impact, which is what I strive for in life. I’m thankful.”Kristi Peters and Carmen Pinter

Pinter was placed in a special education classroom from second to fifth grade as a young girl. She knows firsthand the feelings of exclusion one might feel in these situations and strives to ensure her students always feel included and welcome in the building. 

Whether inside the classroom or through extracurricular activities, Pinter continues her mission of inclusivity through her dedication to the school’s Special Olympics (SO) program. The program presents opportunities that help students connect with their school community.

“Bringing this program to the school just made sense,” she said. “I’ve personally seen how it helps to facilitate an inclusive environment throughout the school.”

Pinter continually challenges her colleagues to be more open and inclusive of all students no matter where they are developmentally. 

“[Pinter] has always been an amazing advocate for our [SO] athletes,” said John Esson, SO coordinator. “As we add new sports and activities to our program, she has always been one of the first teachers I reach out to to get her students at Northland involved.”

Through this work, Pinter has gone above and beyond the duties typically asked of an intervention specialist. She wants all of her students to access opportunities offered by SO and the school, and she sometimes finds creative solutions to help students overcome any barriers they may face. One way she does this is by helping students navigate the COTA Bus system so students who may not have transportation can participate in athletics and clubs offered by the schools. Anyone who has participated in extracurriculars is familiar with the benefits of being on a team, such as team building, support, and friendships. 

educator of the year award“There is so much camaraderie in Special Olympics,” she said. “When the students do something small, it’s a whole celebration, and they react like they won first place. I love it. The support that they have is phenomenal.”

Special Olympics Ohio’s criteria for the ‘Educator of the Year’ is someone who contributes to the program, displays coaching effectiveness and personal development, and is an excellent role model in leadership for athletes. Kristi Peters, Director of Unified Champion Schools for Special Olympics Ohio, said this description fits Pinter perfectly. 

“[Pinter] is a dedicated Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools Coach and Adult Mentor,” said Peters. “She implores us all to see the uniqueness of everyone so that we may all feel seen, heard, and valued.”

While holding the name of ‘Educator of the Year’ is an honor, for Pinter, the most meaningful aspect of this award is the plaque handcrafted by an organization that hires individuals with developmental disabilities. 

Congratulations, Carmen Pinter, on being named the ‘Educator of the Year’ by Special Olympics Ohio, and thank you for your dedicated service to our students and school communities!