Tombaugh Teacher Named Educator of the Year by Hearts for Autism

Dama Dean, head special education teacher at Tombaugh Elementary School, recently earned the Hearts for Autism Educator of the Year Award, based on her contributions to the field of education for those affected by Autism and for her support in furthering the mission of the Hearts for Autism Fund.

Hearts for Autism Award

Dama Dean (left), head special education teacher at Tombaugh Elementary School, accepts the Hearts for Autism Educator of the Year award, alongside Sonia Adams (right), a parent who nominated her for the award, at the 3rd Annual Hearts for Autism Masquerade Ball.

“She [Dean] is a fantastic teacher who always goes above and beyond for her students,” said TES Principal Guillermo Carmona. “We’re honored to have such a distinguished leader supporting our students here at Tombaugh.”

As part of the recognition, Dean was awarded a $500 stipend and a trophy at the 3rd Annual Hearts for Autism Masquerade Ball, which took place earlier this year. The annual award was developed by local philanthropists Luis and Mercedes Colato as a way to honor local educators, especially those who work with children with special needs, according to Caroline Zamora, masquerade ball committee chair and Hearts for Autism board member.

“The Colato family recognized that teachers were dedicating many extra hours and using their own personal resources to help support their students, so they donated the award and stipend to help celebrate these teachers for their efforts,” Zamora said.

Dean was nominated for the award by Sonia Adams, the parent of a TES student, who read her nomination letter at the Masquerade Ball. Dean has taught at Tombaugh Elementary School for the past 13 years.

-LCPS Communications Coordinator Paul Dahlgren, pdahlgren@lcps.net, (575) 527-5808