Cedar Hill Graduate Named Executive Director of Special Education

Derica Turner, a 2003 Cedar Hill High School Graduate, is honored to continue her work in Cedar Hill ISD, in leading the district’s Special Education Department.

“I have worked with Special Education Scholars for several years,” Turner said. “We are making sure that every child has appropriate services and a quality education.”

Turner transferred to Cedar Hill as a high school junior in 2001 and competed in both volleyball and track & field.

“I began my career here as a resource teacher, and it was definitely a full circle moment coming back,” Turner said. “I love the family environment of Cedar Hill. You never meet a stranger in this community.”

Turner’s younger brother, Dane Ward, was a member of the 2006 Cedar Hill Football State Championship Team.

Turner initially planned to study Social Work at the University of North Texas in Denton. After several years of working in retail management in Cedar Hill (from K-Mart to Target), she began her career as an educator.

Turner was a Special Education Teacher at Lake Ridge Elementary for a decade before becoming an assistant principal in a neighboring district.

It was during her time at Lake Ridge that she earned a Master’s Degree from the University of North Texas at Dallas.

She returned to CHISD in 2020-2021 and worked as a Special Education Coordinator, until she was promoted to her current position last week.

“I really would like to set out a clear frame-supporting on campus from early childhood to adult transition,” Turner said. “It’s Integral that all teachers and scholars receive quality instruction, and we do what’s right for our children.”