Denise Snyder is a 35 year veteran in the field of Special Education. As a teacher in the Indian River School District, she taught students identified as “at-risk” in grades Pre-K through 5 in a classroom setting. During her tenure she was selected to be a member of the founding cohort of the Teachers Leadership Network. This group of 25 innovative educators were chosen as a cooperative effort between the State of Delaware Department of Education and the Rodell Foundation. She served 2 terms with this group of teachers from throughout the state of Delaware. They were tasked with sharing ideas, learning from educational innovators around the country, and were instrumental in educational initiatives throughout the state of Delaware. Following her involvement in the Teachers Leadership Network, Denise was selected to serve as the Coordinator for an innovative intervention program that was being developed in the Indian River School District. The program known as TOTS was developed by Denise and 3 fellow educators to provide intervention services to young children and their families who were transitioning from the Department of Health and Social Services Birth to 3 program into the public school system.
The team developed and instituted a continuum of services for these students and their families as a bridge between services they had been receiving at home to services that would now be provided in a school-like setting. In addition to providing educational and specialized services, the team carried out Child-Find services which identifies and evaluates children who may be at risk in the community. The team’s willingness to innovate and improvise allowed young children and their families to receive services that were crucial to their development and future success. A community based approach to education was the model for this never before attempted program within the public school setting. By harnessing community support and involvement, the team was able to provide educational as well as supportive services to children and their families. Denise served as the Coordinator of this program for 6 years prior to her retirement in 2014.
After retiring from the State of Delaware in 2014, Denise has served in several part-time positions. She was the interim Special Education Coordinator for 2 years at Sussex Academy in Georgetown, DE under the administration of Dr. Trish Oliphant. Her experience in this role provided a window into the Charter School system. Currently she works part-time as the administrative assistant to the CEO of a group of Early Learning Centers located in Kent and Sussex counties. This experience has provided a window into the earliest educational and social opportunities for the youngest students in Delaware.
Denise remains active through her involvement in United Methodist Women, a community of women from around the world who engage in social action, advocacy and education for women, children and youth. In 2018, she had the privilege to be chosen to author a Children’s study guide for use in the annual Mission u studies which are held in communities around the world through United Methodist Women. The book “Money Matters-A Study for Children” was published in 3 languages, English, Spanish and Korean.
Denise’s passion for cooking has led her to teach cooking classes through the Community Enrichment program at Delaware Technical and Community College in Georgetown, DE. In addition, early on Thursday mornings you can find her in the kitchen at Grace United Methodist Church in Millsboro, DE. She is one of the cooks who prepare and serve meals to the community every week from 11am-12:30pm. “We never know what will be on the menu, but we know the food will be delicious and the fellowship will be incredible.” That sentiment captures the heart of all who work and come into the soup kitchen!
Denise has been married to her husband Gary for 36 years. They have 2 adult children. She is very excited to be involved as a member of the board of the Bryan Allen Stevenson School of Excellence. She is currently involved as a member of the Education Curriculum team and the Community Involvement team. “I’ve always wanted to be involved in things that make me reach out and above anything I’ve done before. This is what I experience while working with the talented and diverse group that is the BASSE board. The combined energy and passion for education and outreach into the community to serve in a capacity that makes a difference is what drew me, and continues to drive me, to be an integral part of this amazing group!” (Denise)