IU13 Announces Kelsey Olsen as 2023 Annie Sullivan Winner

May 10, 2023 By Shannan Guthrie, IU13 Spokesperson

LANCASTER, PA: May 10, 2023 – Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU13) has named Kelsey Olsen as the 2023 Annie Sullivan Award recipient. Kelsey Olsen (of Elizabethtown) is an Autistic Support Teacher for IU13. Her classroom is located in Elizabethtown Area High School.

The award, named after Helen Keller’s lifelong teacher and companion, is presented to a professional who demonstrates exemplary care for students with disabilities and goes above and beyond their duties to help the community. The recipient is nominated by peers and selected by a committee of past award recipients. It is considered one of the highest honors given to special education professionals.

While still early in her career, Kelsey has already made a significant impact in the lives of her students. “Kelsey demonstrates great passion for the field of special education. She comes to work with a smile on her face each day. Her students inspire her to become the best educator that she can be, which is an inspiration to her colleagues,” said one coworker.

“Kelsey has gone above and beyond by collaborating with community members to produce daily living and career-based training opportunities for her students [and] tirelessly advocates for the welfare of her student,” added another coworker.

As part of a mini-business program for her students, Kelsey collaborates with Jeri Culbertson, a small business owner in Elizabethtown (Naturally Gifted by Jeri) to create and sell soaps, lotions, tote bags, and t-shirts made by the students. Culbertson stated, “We are very fortunate to have teachers like Kelsey. Teachers who see beyond differences and special needs, and can see the gifts the [students] bring to enrich not only their lives, but the lives of those in the community, as well.” Through this business opportunity, her students have the ability to engage in roles both in the school setting and the community. She continuously creates and discovers new ways to bring valued opportunities to her students and the community at large.

In addition to her students and community partners, Kelsey is highly regarded as an educator as exemplified by the numerous letters of support provided by coworkers, support staff, and supervisors. We are incredibly proud of Kelsey for her dedication and passion to help students and for the example she’s setting for future educators everywhere.

Kelsey joined IU13 in 2017. Her Autistic Support classroom (for IU13) is located in the Elizabethtown Area High School.