How Terry Gorman Found Her Passion
By Tara Fort
Terry Gorman was teaching first and second grades in Springville, Iowa in 1992, when the mother of one of her students wanted her child with special needs included in a general education classroom for social interaction. That event proved to be an epiphany in Gorman’s teaching career. She recalls, “It was through working directly with the student and seeing the response of my first and second grade students in the classroom with him that lead to my love of special eduation. It was a very gratifying experience witnessing their opportunity to grow to love him and appreciate the gift that he had, even though they were not the same gifts a typical student would have. Right then, it made me realize, ‘Wow, I think this is my true calling.’” After that she went back to school, obtained her Special Education endorsement and began teaching a multi-categorical resource program in Cedar Rapids. Now, 23 years later, Gorman is Director of Exceptional Student Services for Prescott Unified School District (PUSD).
Through her role with PUSD since August 2015, Gorman oversees all Special Education programs within the district and provides support to special education teachers any time they need support. She adds, “Our Job-Alike meetings once a month brings all Special Needs departments within the district together. We are fortunate to have that time to connect.” Currently, there are 464 special education students in the district. Gorman says, “We make sure our teachers are providing the instruction needed to ensure that all students in the Special Needs program are developing academically, socially, emotionally and behaviorally.” While various models of teaching are used to meet individual needs, some of the special education teachers and general education teachers teach together in the classroom. Gorman adds, “That type of team teaching is very powerful.”
District Superintendent Joe Howard says, “Terry Gorman brought to Prescott Unified a solid special education background from the heartland of Iowa. Her span of knowledge in this intricate field covers all the bases, and is driven by a passion for students with disabilities that cannot be taught. She is a fighter in the name of giving students the tools that they need for the education that they deserve.”
Gorman is quick to credit her family for supporting her opportunity. “It wasn’t easy for my three kids and grandkids in Iowa see me and my husband and his mother move to Arizona, but they get it, and they are supportive and proud. They understand how much this position means to me.” Outside of her role in the district, Gorman is a member of the 2018 class of Prescott Area Leadership. “I’m very excited about PAL, and look forward to becoming a more helpful member in the community.”
Already an asset in the community, Gorman lives the motto of PUSD every day. “I truly believe that our motto of Every Child, Every Day lives within everyone here. My passion is making sure that our students with special needs receive the education they need to be successful no matter what their futures might hold. In my 25 years in Education, I can say without hesitation that the people in this district are the best people I have ever worked with—bar none. I feel very blessed to be here. “
For more information about Terry Gorman and activities within Prescott Unified School District, visit www.presocdttschools.com.