Hays A Hays woman will receive a national award for her work with children with disabilities.
Early Head Start Coordinator Lila Montgomery, who advocates for children with disabilities and their families, has been selected to receive the Margaret M. Coughlin Memorial Award for her work as disabilities coordinator.
She will receive the award at the National Head Start Conference in Kansas City in April.
"Lila has done a lot of work building relationships to support children with disabilities," said Donna Hudson-Hamilton, director of Hays USD 489 early childhood services.
The Hays Daily News reported that the Coughlin award was established by Coughlin's children to honor her dedication to improve services to disabled persons and highlights the importance of disability services for Head Start children and their families.
Montgomery's colleagues nominated her for the Coughlin Award.
"It's quite an honor. The community is so supportive of early childhood services," Montgomery said.
Montgomery, in her 19th year with the district, started as an elementary teacher before earning an early childhood special education degree. She was named Early Head Start Coordinator in 1999.
"They deserve to be the person they were meant to be," Montgomery said of children with special needs.
As disabilities coordinator, Montgomery receives referrals and follows up to make sure evaluations are completed in a timely manner.
Montgomery also attends individualized family service plan meetings as a parent advocate. She follows up there as well, making sure their needs were met.