The Child First Award is an annual award to honor a professional (SLP, ASL Interpreter, SPED/Classroom Teacher, Audiologist) or school district in my territory who has significantly impacted the services provided to students who are deaf/hard of hearing.


  • Professional or school district currently active in working with South Dakota School for the Deaf Outreach Program
  • Made significant, long-term contributions to the well-being of a child/children who is deaf/hard of hearing through maximizing access, educational programming, and/or ancillary services
  • Demonstrates ongoing SDSD collaboration due to the acknowledgment that each child who is deaf/hard of hearing is unique in their ability to access instruction, their communication choice (i.e., oral communication, signed communication, verbal and signed communication), and their academic, communication, self-advocacy, and social-emotional needs
  • Demonstrates a vision where children’s best interests are at the forefront of educational programming

This year, the Child First SPED Teacher/Classroom Teacher is awarded to Krysta Coy of the Beresford School District.

Reason(s) for Award: This award is designed to recognize and celebrate the achievements of outstanding special education or classroom teachers and bring attention to the critical role these teachers play in the education of students who are deaf/hard of hearing.

Ms. Coy is always willing to learn about best practices for students who are deaf/hard of hearing. She productively supports her students and ongoingly collaborates with others to maximize their instruction and interaction with their peers. Ms. Coy is dedicated to ensuring her students have the best access to instruction by implementing various hearing assistive technology (i.e., Roger technology, Interact Streamer).

She also empowers students by promoting self-advocacy skills, including creating student-led videos regarding accommodations and explanations of hearing assistive technology. But it doesn’t stop in the classroom! Ms. Coy also encourages her students’ involvement in the school community. She continually searches for ways to maximize communication in the classroom, on the court, on the field, or during a race. She is also in tune with her families and recognizes the value of all members of her students’ TEAM!

And to top that, Krysta approaches all new learning and challenges with an open mind and a smile on her face. Her positive attitude encourages everyone on her students’ team.

Congratulations, Krysta. SDSD thanks you for all you do for your students who are deaf/hard of hearing!

Pictured (l to r): Mrs. Krysta Coy, Brody Andrews, and Laura Scholten.