Announcing Recipients of the Annual ERI Scholarship and Award for School Therapists 2023

The countdown to Therapies in the School Conference is on!

scholarship therapistAs we finalize the finishing touches for this year’s exciting conference, we want to take a moment to announce this year’s award winners of the annual ERI Scholarship and Award for New to School-Based Practice.

We received many noteworthy nominations and it was difficult to choose a winner among the many talented and dedicated therapists. We are thrilled to announce the following recipients as this year’s winners:

Scholarship for Therapist New to School-Based Practice:

Congratulations are in order for Brielle Mayes! This award is meant to celebrate and support an emerging leader who is new to the field of school-based therapy. It is never easy to begin practicing in a new area and we really admire those who persevere and provide quality care despite the challenges they might encounter during those first few years. 

Brielle began her school-based career in the middle of the pandemic and during extended school year in the summer of 2021. Despite the hurdles that extended school year and a global pandemic presented, she has whole-heartedly embraced this setting and shown dedication to advancing her knowledge in the service of her students.

She has long enjoyed being in an educational setting, both as a child herself and during her undergraduate and graduate courses and that love of school and learning shines through when you talk with her. She speaks excitedly about being fully invested in her district community, naming parent conferences, back to school night, staff in services and school events as opportunities to foster more connection between therapy and home. She is passionate about advocating for her students’ best interests, ensuring free and appropriate education is in place and adhering to educational code and law. Speaking of advocacy, she successfully approached the school board in her district to win funding for a sensory room to offer students tools they needed to regulate. What an important and impressive achievement for any therapist, let alone a new-to-schools therapist!

Scholarship for Excellence in Creative School-Based Therapy:

 We’re thrilled to recognize Shelly Weakly! Our awardee was nominated by a colleague, who values her mentorship and support and who wanted to celebrate this therapist’s exemplary demonstration of collaboration, leadership and ingenuity. For over 25 years, this therapist has served an Illinois school district consisting of 25 schools and aside from participating in her normal therapy responsibilities, she has also carved out time to create a unique piece of therapy equipment for her students.

So, how did this awardee’s collaboration, leadership and ingenuity skills come to life in a creative way? Working together with a high school robotics team, she led the charge in modifying a commercially available motorized kiddie car so that it would serve students with mobility challenges. By providing lateral trunk and head supports, safety straps, and adapting the toggle controls for the car, she cleared the way for increased mobility, play and fun for her students. Kids can use the car during PE, at recess and other times during the day. Since early mobility is so important for exploration and learning across multiple domains, this car is offering the keys to success for many students. After several months in operation, the car is still going strong. Well done to her and her co-creators!

Congratulations to Shelly and Brielle! Thank you for your passion, hard work and innovative ideas that help to push our profession forward. 

Both women will receive a scholarship of free tuition to this year’s 24th Annual Therapies in the School Conference, and will be recognized at the event. This is a virtual conference. 


It’s not too late to register…

school based therapist for children needing services


Registration is still open for this year’s Therapies in the School Conference. For 23 years, ERI has been committed to renewing your passion for school-based therapy and providing you with tools and strategies you can use right away to improve learning outcomes for your students. This year is no different! Join the ERI atmosphere that promotes therapists building connections, sharing ideas, and actively learning. We can’t wait!

Questions? Contact our office at 800-487-6530 or