was started in 1999 as a way to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the use of Direct Instruction. This year, at the National Direct Instruction Conference, Mary Gleason, Kathy Madigan, and Vicky Vachon will be presented as the 2022 recipients of this recognition. The presentation will take place at 3:15 on Friday, July 29th, in Eugene, Oregon, at the Graduate Hotel.
Following is a brief biography of each of these outstanding educators.
Dr. Mary Gleason’s career has focused on students who struggled with learning, especially with reading, writing, and math. After teaching those students herself, using DI programs, she trained teachers and coaches to serve that population through her 20-year faculty position at the University of Oregon. While at the U of O, she worked closely with Siegfried “Zig” Engelmann (co-creator of Direct Instruction and senior author of the DI curricula) and eventually left the U of O to work with him at the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). As NIFDI’s Director of Training for six years, she developed training materials for teachers and coaches and trained the trainers in the use of those materials at various NIFDI sites.
Mary is also an instructional designer of literacy programs. She is a co-author of many curriculum materials, including Skills for School Success and the REWARDS programs.
Dr. Kathy Madigan has been a teacher, principal, college professor, researcher, and curriculum coordinator. Kathy started in Direct Instruction in the late 70s as a field- test teacher for the Corrective Reading Decoding and Comprehension programs. Since then, she has worked with a full range of learners and age levels using Direct Instruction, applied behavior analysis, precision teaching, and other evidenced-based approaches. Kathy’s expertise in working with individuals with traumatic brain injury brought national recognition for using Direct instruction with this population. In the 90s, as the assistant dean for the College of Education at the University of Oregon, she helped design new teacher education programs and increase funding for key research projects. She also worked as the Vice President for Advantage Schools, where she was responsible for curriculum, behavior management, staff development, and principal supervision in 16 start-up charter schools using DI across the US. In 2016, she was selected as one of four members to serve on the Presidential Transition Team in Education. Kathy is a nationally recognized leader in special education and education reform. Dr. Madigan currently works with NIFDI as a Project Director for the implementation of DI in select IDEA Schools academies and college preparatory schools as part of the Critical Student Intervention (CSI) program in grades 3-8.
Dr. Vicky Vachon has extensive experience with the use of Direct Instruction in a wide variety of school settings at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She began her career as a classroom teacher in Ontario, Canada. After receiving her Master’s degree in Education from the University of Oregon in 1983, she worked at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for nine years as a member of a multidisciplinary team providing tertiary assessment and designing instruction for children with developmental concerns. She was an Instructor in the Department of Special Education and Community Resources at the University of Oregon and an Implementation Manager/Project Director for the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI) for two years while completing her doctorate degree at the U of O, which she received in 1998.
Vicky has consulted with schools in several settings, from small, rural schools to large, urban schools in the United States and Canada as well as in remote communities in Cape York, Australia. She was the Project Director for NIFDI implementations throughout the US and Australia. Vicky is a co-author of the REWARDS series of instructional programs.