(SPRINGFIELD, Ky.) – Nicole Britton, a special education teacher at Washington County Middle School, was recently awarded the Danny Lederer Scholarship by the Kentucky chapter of TASH (formerly The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps). Britton, who is originally from Campbellsville, is a graduate of Campbellsville High School. She received a Bachelor of Science in special education for students with moderate and severe disabilities in, a Master of Science and a Master Certificate in Assistive Technology all from the University of Kentucky. She also became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2012. She is currently working toward a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of the Cumberlands.


Nicole Britton

Britton with her special needs assistance dog, Merle. (Photo submitted)


TASH was founded in 1975 and is a global frontrunner in disability advocacy. The organization advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs. According to its website, TASH’s mission is to promote the full inclusion and participation of children and adults with significant disabilities in every aspect of their community and to eliminate the social injustices that diminish human rights.


A teacher for 11 years, she has been at Washington County for ten of them. She teaches students with moderate and severe disabilities and employs animal assisted instruction with her special needs assistance dog, Merle, who has one year of classroom experience and is extensively trained.


The Danny Lederer Scholarship is given out each year and will assist Britton in covering the expenses of her trip to the National TASH Conference in St. Louis, where she will be conducting a seminar on the benefits of animal assisted instruction, where she will discuss Merle’s various skills, training and many ways I have used him during instruction.


“I would like to thank KY-TASH and Washington County Schools for helping Merle and I make a difference for students across the nation,” said Britton.


“We are proud of Nicole and her acceptance as a presenter at the TASH conference and feel fortunate we have her expertise in Animal Assisted Instruction at our school,” says WCMS principal Ty Howard. “We feel confident that her exposure at this national event will highlight one of the many areas that WCMS has to offer the students and our community.”


“Nicole does an amazing job with students and parents,” says Jason Simpson, assistant superintendent and director of special education. “She is an integral part of our special education team and we are lucky to have her. She deserves this scholarship.”


Britton and her husband, Tyler, have two children, Tylee and Cole.