On April 10 former Department of Special Education chair Herb Rieth was awarded the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) Lifetime Achievement Award at the council’s annual conference.
The prestigious award recognizes significant, lifelong professional contributions to the education of children and youth with exceptionalities.
“I was very flattered,” said Rieth. “My nomination packet included letters from leading scholars across the country, including two from our own faculty – Sharon Vaughn and Dianne Bryant.”
During his 40-year career Rieth has worn many professional hats and garnered numerous accolades. He is particularly proud of his accomplishments in The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education.
“In 1996, Dean Manuel J. Justiz provided an opportunity for me to work on the program here,” Rieth said. “When I joined the college, the Department of Special Education wasn’t ranked in the top 30. Now we’re typically rated around fourth or fifth.”
Rieth also takes pride in his role in developing modules to train special education teachers to implement intervention strategies and a successful computer-based instruction program at the Del Valle ISD.
“Additionally, we worked to transform our undergraduate and doctoral programs,” he said, citing graduates who went on to be among the top teachers in Travis County school districts.
“Dr. Rieth has served as my department chair for 15 years,” said Sharon Vaughn, executive director of The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. “During this time I have had the opportunity to observe firsthand his significant and noteworthy contributions to teacher education.
“He has demonstrated outstanding service and leadership in advancing the development and improvement of teacher education in special education, including revisions in course content, improved internship experiences, and ongoing integration with other curriculum teams at UT.”
Rieth stepped down as department chair in 2012, remaining on staff as professor emeritus.