Opening doors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005

With an extensive special education background and an objective vantage point, Dr. Reginald Eggleston continues to move forward within his field in his new position as Director of Special Education and Gifted Education for Butler County Schools.

Going into his thirteenth year in education, Eggleston said that moving from the classroom to the central office requires a broader perspective when meeting the needs of many students as opposed to just those in one school or in one classroom.

&uot;I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum, both the requesting end and the administrative end,&uot; Eggleston said. &uot;That helps me to have a better understanding and be able to meet the needs of the principals and teachers I come in contact with.&uot;

Eggleston’s background includes three years as a special education teacher in the Birmingham City School System, five years as an assistant principal in the Alexander and Phenix City school systems, and he served as a high school principal for four years combined at Carver High School in Montgomery and Jess Lanier High School in Bessemer.

&uot;I miss the day-to-day contact with the kids,&uot; he said. &uot;My role now is to provide guidance for the adults who are overseeing the kids.&uot;

Some of Eggleston’s current duties include overseeing all special education programs and gifted education programs for the school district. He also monitors the individualized education plans (IEPs) that special education teachers develop for students.

In addition, Eggleston provides guidance to principals and administrators when dealing with special education students to make certain that state and federal regulations are being followed and that the children’s needs are being met.

With an education specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Auburn University Montgomery and a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, Eggleston has many goals set for himself and the school system when it comes to special education.

&uot;I want to tear down the communication barriers that may exist between the parents and the schools,&uot; Eggleston said. &uot;It’s crucial to hear and understand both sides.&uot;

In addition to providing the best professional development possible for teachers and administrators, the new special education director also wants to achieve a greater understanding of what the needs of the community are so that he can set a plan of action into motion for meeting those needs.

Eggleston is also concerned about the quickness with which some children are labeled when it comes to special education issues and characteristics.

&uot;Parents and teachers must get an understanding of that child’s learning style and behavior,&uot; he said. &uot;The child may be asking for help in a way we feel is not appropriate, but he may not know how to communicate any other way.&uot;

When it comes to special education teachers in general, Eggleston said that they have many roles they play.

&uot;The public needs to know that special ed. teachers have to be able to work well with many different people,&uot; he said. &uot;They must work with parents, administrators, occupational therapists, general education teachers, plus vocational rehabilitation teachers, just to name a few, in order to put together a successful plan for just one child.&uot;

For this reason, Eggleston said that the special education field is a profession that needs to be respected, and one that requires &uot;the best of the best.&uot;

&uot;Special education and gifted education requires having a heart for kids,&uot; he said.

He and his wife, Regina, who is College Assistance Program Specialist for Butler County Schools, recently relocated to Greenville from Montgomery. They have been married for two years.