As a single mother of a child born with Spina bifida, Ann Marie Balch has faced many challenges in her young life. Raising her daughter, Elise, has taught Ann the importance of advocacy, equality and diversity and brought her to understand that students of all abilities should have the opportunity to learn at their fullest potential.
The service and sacrifices her father, Command Sergeant Major Michael M. Balch, has given over the past thirty four years in the U.S. Army have taught Ann the importance of serving others, and has provided her with a unique and appreciative perspective on life. With inspiration and lessons learned from her father’s military career, Ann has found the discipline, drive and passion to make a difference in the world.
With that drive to make a difference, Ann has chosen to attend Syracuse University’s distinguished School of Education, pursuing a Master’s degree in Inclusive Special Education with a goal of bridging the gap in education for students with disabilities by acting as an educational advocate for all students. It is Ann’s hope that she will someday work with children like her own daughter and promote and practice inclusive special education.