Photo of Ann Dooley

Ann W. Dooley Advancement Scholarship

To provide educational resources to individuals with intellectual disabilities who intend to enroll in a post-secondary program that will enhance his or her life through employment and/or independent living skills.

Not Accepting Scholarships at This Time Not Accepting Applications This scholarship is not accepting applications at this time. Learn How to Register & Apply


- Tell us about how you help your community. This can be something you do every day, like having a job or taking care of a family member, a special project or activity, or even a random act of kindness.

- What are your plans for the future, and how will college, trade school, or a certificate program help you achieve them?


Applicant must:

- Be between the ages of 18-25 as of the application deadline
- Have an intellectual disability as defined in the specifications below
- Have a permanent address in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, or Winnebago Counties
- Be enrolled or intending to enroll in a post-secondary program that will enhance his or her life through employment and/or independent living skills for the upcoming academic year
- Provide verification that they receive services for an intellectual disability, such as a reference from their primary care physician or school case manage

Past recipients may reapply.

For the purposes of this scholarship, intellectual disability is defined as having certain limitations in cognitive functioning and other skills, including communication and self-care. The intellectual disability might be caused by brain injury, disease, or genetics. Examples include but are not limited to Down Syndrome, PKU, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and birth defects.


Ann Dooley was born in Rockford in 1954 and grew up in suburban Chicago. She graduated from Rockford College in 1975 as an education major and later earned a Master's degree from Northern Illinois University.

Ann began her 35-year career as a paraprofessional with Rockford District 205 in 1975.

She became a certified special education teacher at Auburn High School in 1976, eventually becoming the Department Chairperson. In the mid-1990s, she added in-building diagnostician duties to her teaching responsibilities, joining the team assessing applicants to the Special Education program. She ended her career by becoming a full-time diagnostician assigned to several schools in the District in the mid-2000s. Ann retired in 2010.

Ann's outside interests included world travel, long-time volunteering at St. Anthony's Hospital outpatient surgery center, and the retired teachers' association. She was an animal lover, supporting several shelters and adoption agencies.

She had a servant's heart. She was humble and dedicated to her family, friends, and her profession. She faced personal and professional challenges with tenacity and perseverance.

Ann passed away in May 2021 due to complications from surgery.

Ann Dooley
Photo of Ann and her sister-in-law Sandy.

Many friends, colleagues, and former students posted memories and condolences on Ann's obituary page. Her impact on the lives she touched can not be overstated! We encourage you to take the time to read their comments. Here are a few highlights:

She was such a kind and caring teacher. I remember her fondly as my 6th grade teacher at Conklin. She made education fun and was a prime example of what a true teacher committed to her students was all about. May she rest in peace. I hope the wonderful memories that you all shared bring you some comfort during this time. - Joanna

...Ann was an empathic and positive teacher who continually instilled worth and confidence in her students. I enjoyed working and conversing with her, and I will always remember her smile and laughter.. - John Gustafson

Ann was a wonderful person that looked out for the best in her students. A great teacher, friend, and an outstanding example for us all. - Ronn Lyford