NASDSE Award Winners


NASDSE honors its colleagues who have provided significant contributions and leadership to the special education community with the following special awards:

The NASDSE Heritage Award
This award is presented to an individual on the basis of prolonged service and substantive contribution to NASDSE as well as the field of special education. The NASDSE Heritage Award is available only to current state directors and previous NASDSE board members. In order to qualify for the service component of this award, the candidate must have served NASDSE for an extended period of time. The award requires that the candidate either engage in one notable achievement or in a series of smaller ongoing achievements that, when combined, transform into a larger substantive contribution.

1993                Lowell Harris (NC)
1994                Larry D. “Smokey” Davis (NV)
1995                John Heskett (MO)
1996                Steve Kukic (UT)
1997                David Stockford (ME)
1998                Judy Schrag (ID)
1999                Larry Gloeckler (NY)
2000                Diane Sydoriak (AR)
2001                John Corpolongo (OK)
2002                Norena Hale (MN)
2003                Martha Brooks (DE)
2004                John Herner (OH)
2005                Marcia Mittnacht (MA)
2006                Alice Parker (CA)
2007                Robert Runkel (MT)
2008                Douglas Cox (VA)
2009                Jacquelyn Thompson (MI)
2010                Gary Sherman (NE)
2011                Mabrey Whetstone (AL)
2012                Kathy Clayton (TX)
2013                Mary Watson (NC)
2014                Stephanie Petska (WI)
2015                Colleen Riley (KS)
2016                Deborah Gay (GA)
2017                Gene Lenz (TX)
2018                Arthur Albert (FSM)


Martha J. Fields Award of Excellence
This award is presented to an individual or organization that has made extraordinary contributions to the NASDSE organization, its mission and goals. The candidate, individual, or organization must have made significant contributions to the NASDSE organization in support of services to state agencies to facilitate efforts to maximize educational outcomes for individuals with disabilities. To qualify, an individual cannot be a current state director of special education or NASDSE staff member. Recipients are selected by the NASDSE Board of directors based on recommendations from the President and Executive Director.

2000                National Governors Association
2001                Penny Earley - Amer. Association of Colleges for Teacher Education - AACTE
2002                Senator Tom Harkin - Iowa
2003                JoLeta Reynolds - US Dept. of Education: OSERS
2004                Judy Smith-Davis - self-employed consultant
2005                W. David Tilly - Heartland AEA 11, Iowa   
2006                John Copenhaver - MPRRC
2007                Ellen Romett - Pennsylvania PaTTAN
2008                Luann Purcell (Council of Administrators of Special Education)
2009                Debra Price-Ellingstad – Office of Special Education Programs
2010                Patti Ralabate – National Education Association
2011                Richard Long – National Title I Association
2012                Council for Exceptional Children – Policy and Advocacy Services Team
2013                Alexa Posny – U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services
2014                Congressman George Miller – California
2015                Katy Neas – Easter Seals
2016                OSEP Leadership Team (Ruth Ryder, Larry Wexler, Gregg Corr)
2017                Council of Chief State School Officers
2018                National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)


R. Elwood Pace Humanitarian Award
This award is presented to an individual who engages in service or actions of a humanitarian nature that exceed what one normally expects of a person in the discharge of his or her professional duties. The actions of a qualified candidate reflect a genuine concern for the human condition. The award requires that the nominee engages in consistent humanitarian behavior over an extended period of time. Previous board members, current state directors and current staff members of state education agencies are eligible to receive this award. Recipients are nominated by the membership and selected by NASDSE’s Board of Directors. The recipient of the award may not be a sitting board member.

1993                Landis Stetler (FL)
1994                Frank Vance (IA)
1995                Jill Gray (TX)
1996                Jerry White (MD)
1997                Austin Tuning (VA/KY)
1999                Michael Valentine (WV)
2000                Rich Baldwin (MI)
2003                Anne Gay (DC)
2004                Jo Lynne DeMary (VA)
2009                Bill East (NASDSE)
2012                Joseph Fisher (TN)
2013                Nan Gray (UT)
2014                Don Deshler (University of Kansas)
2015                Helen Sengebau (Palau)
2016                Marshall Peter (CADRE)
2017                Nancy Reder (NASDSE)