In July, the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District selected Karen Lenk Tufts to become its Director of Special Services, an administrative position that oversees a team of 13 case managers in the District’s Special Services department currently serving the varying special needs of over 140 K-12 students. Other department staff includes 10 related service providers and 40 ed techs.
Since 2018, Tufts has been the WOCSD’s IEP Coordinator/K-12 Instructional Strategist. “Karen has done an outstanding job as the District IEP Coordinator over the last few years,” noted WOCSD Superintendent James Daly in an email. “She will be a tremendous Special Services Director that will advocate for each and every student.”
Tufts, who holds a BS degree in Communications from Emerson College and an MS degree in Communication Disorders from the University of New Hampshire, has extensive experience in the field of speech pathology. As a speech-language pathologist, she managed and worked from her own pediatric speech-language practice for 20 years and has contracted with school districts for speech/language evaluations and therapy services.
“My biggest goal is to continue to make students the priority and make sure that they are getting supports that they need to be successful in school and certainly getting our students prepared for life after Wells High School,” said Tufts about what she would like to accomplish in her position.
“There is such a variety in Special Education, everything from articulation disorders to students on the autism spectrum, students with multiple disabilities, (and) other health impairments,” said Tufts in an interview. She implied that while many students may need special services from K-12, many of them require just a brief time of special attention should they be having difficulty, for example, with articulation issues in the early grades.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve our community,” said Tufts about what this new position means to her. She later listed previous community service. “I have also served as a volunteer and held officer positions on numerous boards such as the WES PTSA, WJHS PTO, WHS Alumni Association, Wells Travel Soccer, and the Shootin' For A Cure Committee.” Tufts lives in Wells with her family and is a graduate of Wells High School.