For Immediate Release
Posted: March 28, 2024


Kim Houghton, Communications Administrator
(603) 513-3030 |

NHED’s special education staff receives accolades

Vocational rehabilitation counselors also praised

CONCORD, NH — Efforts underway at the New Hampshire Department of Education (NHED) to ensure that students are receiving accessible educational content and that individuals with disabilities can secure meaningful educational opportunities are being recognizing by national and local organizations.

NHED’s Bureau of Special Education Support was recently awarded by the National Center for Accessible Educational Materials (AEM). The bureau was one of seven states to partner with the AEM Center, funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to develop a coordinated system for providing accessible educational materials and accessible technologies across the continuum of educational services in the state. 

“We are grateful to be recognized with this award, knowing that it truly was a team effort. One of our priorities has been and will continue to be a model for other states to implement measures across their education system to ensure accessibility for children,” said Rebecca Fredette, state director of special education. 

The four-year partnership with AEM was leveraged to exchange resources, share findings and solve common problems to implement evidence-based practices for building statewide and local systems for the timely provision and effective use of accessible materials and technologies for every learner. 

“We are proud of the New Hampshire team for being acknowledged by OSEP and the AEM Center, which showcases efforts to ensure that all students swiftly receive educational materials that are fully accessible in order to help them engage and thrive,” said Frank Edelblut, education commissioner. 

In a separate recognition, VR New Hampshire’s Berlin Regional Office has been selected as the recipient of White Mountains Community College 2024 Presidents’ Community Partner Award. Employees Steven Aylward and Rose Long, vocational rehabilitation counselors, worked collaboratively with the college implementing NHED’s Level Up program, which provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to learn about the many resources available to help them achieve their goal of attending college and starting careers. 

“Steven Aylward and Rose Long exemplify the spirit of collaboration and dedication to inclusivity that defines the essence of vocational rehabilitation. Their tireless efforts in fostering partnerships with White Mountains Community College have not only opened doors for individuals with disabilities but have also paved the way for meaningful educational and career opportunities,” said Rich Sala, director of NHED’s Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation. “Their receipt of the 2024 Presidents’ Community Partner Award is a testament to their unwavering commitment to empowering individuals to pursue their dreams and contribute to New Hampshire communities. I applaud their remarkable achievements and celebrate their ongoing impact on the lives of countless individuals.”

Edelblut echoed that sentiment, thanking Steven and Rose for helping individuals with disabilities cultivate a fulfilling career – a pivotal step in their journey to growth, success and happiness.