McGuiness said she is excited about the award.
"It was a surprise," she said.
Cick here to see more information about McGuiness on GSD's Web site including a video showing President Barack Obama discussing the medal.
The nomination resulted from her work at GSD. McGuiness' daughter Julia, who is deaf and autistic, is a student there, and McGuiness said her family relocated from Florida so Julia could attend the school.
McGuiness is an assistive technology specialist who works under contract in the special education department of Floyd County Schools. She is based in Pepperell but works throughout most of the schools in the county system.
McGuiness designs and develops communication tools to help students with communication challenges to better communicate with our teachers.
According to GSD:
McGuiness was nominated for this medal by Dr. Lee Shiver, director of GSD, and is one of 13 American citizens selected to receive it this year.
This medal is among the highest honors a civilian can receive. McGuiness has been influential in the lives of deaf and hard of hearing children in the State of Georgia.
The presentation was held at 2:15 p.m.
When you can’t always make your thoughts and wishes known to those around you, it is nice to know that you have a champion working to help others understand. For deaf and hard of hearing children in Georgia that champion is Kimberly McGuiness. Her work on behalf of deaf children earned her a visit to the White House today as McGuiness was presented with a Presidential Citizens Medal from President Barack Obama. McGuiness, an assistive technology specialist for Floyd County Schools, and 12 other citizens were awarded with the second highest civilian award in the United States, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A presentation ceremony was held this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at the White House.
The following is a news release from the Floyd County Schools system:
Kimberly McGuiness works each day to help speech impaired children in Floyd County Schools to communicate with their teachers but she is being recognized for her efforts outside of the classroom. She is lauded in her nomination for the award as a tireless worker to improve the lives of deaf children. Mrs. McGuiness is personally invested in the future of these children as her child is a student at Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Spring. Locally, McGuiness serves as chair of the GSD School Council and participates in numerous school programs, committees and activities. In the nomination she is also credited with convincing the Georgia Legislature to pass a law that enables high school students to earn foreign language credit for American Sign Language. Her letters, calls and visits to state legislators aided in the passage of Georgia’s Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights.
The Presidential Citizens Medal was established by Executive Order in 1969 for the purpose of recognizing American citizens “who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country and their fellow citizens”. McGuiness was nominated for the medal by Dr. Lee Shiver, director of GSD. Dr. Shiver and McGuiness’ family accompanied her to Washington for the ceremony.