The HEARTS Project Director – Dr. David Lazerson
- 1980 Teacher of the Year – Buffalo, NY Public Schools
- 2007 Arts Teacher of the Year Award – Broward County Public Schools
- 2008 Inductee National Teachers Hall of Fame
- 2010 National Science Teacher of the Year for Special Needs
David Lazerson, Ph.D., affectionately known as Dr. Laz, has been educating, inspiring and changing people’s lives for over 30 years as an author, musician, conflict resolution specialist, and special educator. Dr. Laz is recognized worldwide for his innovative and educational techniques in learning.
He has been featured on many national and international TV specials, such as CNN, ESPN, The USA Network, The Montel Williams Show, and The Phil Donahue Show. He has also been written up in most major newspapers and magazines throughout the country.
Dr. Laz is a world famous educator, winning the 2007 Arts Teacher of the Year award for the Broward County Public Schools (nation's 5th largest district) and the Teacher of the Year award from Buffalo, NY in 1981 for his rather unorthodox, yet highly acclaimed techniques for reaching students with special needs.
Earning a PhD in Educational Research & Evaluation, a master’s degree in learning & behavioral disorders, and two undergraduate degrees, including a Bachelor of Divinity, and more than 30 years in both private & public education – as both an administrator and teacher, he’s done it all! He directed his own alternative high school program and currently teaches graduate level courses at Nova University in Expressive Arts.
His ideas and methods have been published in the NY Times and many major journals including the Journal of Learning Disabilities and the Journal of Emotional & Behavioral Disorders.
In 2008 Dr. Laz was one of five teachers throughout the entire USA to be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. He won the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award in 2007 from University of Buffalo - where he completed his Doctoral work, and from Buffalo State College - where he received his Master’s degree in special education.
Dr. Laz gave the keynote address at the commencement exercises.
His current work, which utilizes expressive arts & assistive technology for students with profound special needs such as autism, Downs-syndrome, cerebral palsy, and medically fragile conditions, has already made front page news and been featured on news stations such as NBC and WB.
He has also formed a unique choir of these students and travels to senior centers and other schools, inspiring and enlightening audiences of all ages.
Dr. Laz has entertained hundreds of audiences throughout the world, from the very young to the young at heart. His concerts are fun, upbeat, filled with spontaneity and audience participation. His music features an eclectic blend of rap, rock, Hassidic, blues, reggae, jazz, bluegrass and even gospel! Dr. Laz & The CURE, his multi-ethnic music group, has played with Al Green, The Winans, The Manhattans, in front of the U.S. Congress, the Democratic National Convention, at Madison Square Garden, as well as numerous schools, universities and institutions across the country. Showtime used three of his original songs for the “Crown Heights” movie, which stars Howie Mandel as Laz. His band played the halftime show at the Miami Heat game in Dec. 2010.
Dr. Laz has written four books. His book Sharing Turf was used to write the story & screenplay for the movie “Crown Heights.” Ammunition: Battling the Elements, which features Dr. Laz’s thoughts on the hot topics of today’s society. His first & very popular book, Skullcaps ‘N Switchblades, chronicles his teaching years in an all-Black, inner-city school in Buffalo, NY, where he subsequently won “Teacher of the Year” for his outstanding work with his special education class. Skullcaps ‘N Switchblades has been reprinted four times and is now under consideration for a major motion picture and has been called “a fun & inspiring read,” and “one that sets Black/Jewish relations on the right path.” His newest and highly regarded book is “Teach Me If You Can! - What really works for individuals with special needs”