The Beekman Award is the preeminent award presented annually by the MAASE Organization at the August MAASE Summer Institute.
Beginning in 1973 when Marvin Beekman became the first recipient, the award has recognized individuals who have distinguished themselves in the administration and leadership of special education programs on the local, regional (ISD) or state level. The President-Elect appoints a representative committee who focuses on the candidate’s education, experience, current administrative responsibilities, honors and special recognition, organizational memberships and involvement, community activities, and any distinguishing qualities which would make a candidate worthy of the award.
October 24, 1985 interview with Marvin E. Beekman
2019 Beekman Award Winner
Assistant Superintendent of Special Education at Tuscola Intermediate School District
Annually, at the August Summer Institute, the highest of the MAASE honors is bestowed upon one of our colleagues and is presented with the Beekman Award. The nominee must:
- Be a special education administrator at the local, regional, or state level.
- Have made significant contributions on behalf of special education.
- Have demonstrated quality service in the field of special education.
- Have exhibited integrity in his/her daily work and relationships.
- Have diverse involvement in both the community and educational arenas.
- Have made contributions to special education with statewide significance.
- Have made significant contributions to MAASE.
- Have proven him or herself to be a visionary.
- Possess personal attributes that make him/her an outstanding representative of the Beekman Award.
Since its inception in 1973, the Beekman Award has been etched in deep tradition. Nominations are sent to the MAASE President, who then selects a committee of readers. Those readers are representative from all five MAASE regions around the state. Each reader is unaware of who the other readers are. Individually, they use a scoring rubric to rate the candidates and when completed, the results are sent directly to the President. The readers know do not know the final identify of the winner. In fact, the winner does not know yet that he/she has won…only the president has this knowledge.
Presentation by President Abby Cypher:
Standing here in front of you to present this year’s Beekman award is somewhat of a surreal experience. For those of you who may be new to MAASE, hearing this presentation for the first time, I promise it will be something you remember for many years to come.
Our award winner has always struck me as a calm, humble presence. They emphasized family over work and gave those of us who were struggling to find work life balance an excellent model for how to do life well. I have never heard this person speak unkindly about anyone and they always assume positive intent. This person is skilled at so many things but still able to be vulnerable and able to say that they don’t know something and then immediately follow that with the fact that they are willing to learn. They do not think in hierarchy’s or chain of command. All ideas are good ideas and they will tell you when you have a great one.
They quietly coach and encourage, always cheering for you but never really taking any credit themselves. Going through this process was great for me because I really got to learn more about our winner from the people they work the closest with, which affirmed much of what I already knew and mentioned above, and I am excited to share some of that with you now.
People HE/SHE work with say they have had only positive influences on their current district. As an administrator, they are responsible for many things. This list includes, but is not limited to, oversight of special education programs and services, developing and maintaining budgets, staffing, transportation, union negotiations, MTSS efforts, and developing respectful working relationships with local agencies. The scope of the job is enormous, yet he/she handles all of these responsibilities with a smile on their face, and never a gripe. This is an individual that views a difficult situation as an opportunity to learn and a challenge to overcome. Many special education administrators have similar responsibilities, but it is the tact, professionalism, and dignity in which these tasks are handled that separate them from many others.
The people our winner works with are unaware of any special honors or recognitions this person has accumulated throughout their career. But they don’t find this surprising considering the abundance of humility they possesses, as I mentioned earlier. When he or she speaks to the great things their district has accomplished, they always credit the staff working under him/her for the progress. In truth, the example they set on a daily basis pushes staff to become better professionals and stronger leaders. Today’s recipient is an unassuming administrator who would much rather toil successfully in anonymity as opposed to receiving accolades for their work.
Our recipient has quietly distinguished themself as one of the most effective and capable leaders within our field. They conduct themself in a professional manner at all times, but have a humorous take on things that will crack even the most serious individual. They are the type of person who has never met a stranger and can always (I mean literally always) find some kind of connection with any individual.
This person encourages excellence from staff simply by being a quality leader. They will set aside any project laying in front of them to welcome anyone into their office who needs to talk. Through their leadership the district continues to revamp the roles of itinerant staff in support of MTSS methodologies, implement research-based, best practices, and approach issues with a “child first” mentality. He/she has steadily increased the financial base to help ensure the future of programs/services, not by making cuts “across the board”, but by making thoughtful, financially sound decisions that always benefit the ISDin the end. Colleagues say this person has “set a high standard within our organization, a standard others should and do strive to obtain. It is this particular combination of attributes that make them a most deserving candidate for the Marvin Beekman Award–but they would never tell you that!”
You really want some more details don’t you??
Here they come.Outside of the ISD, this person currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Child Advocacy Center and is part of many fundraisers for this organization and has helped raised much needed funding for this cause. They also assist with Special Olympics events that take place in the county. Prior organizations they have been involved in include the County Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Council and Habitat for Humanity.
This individual can always be found at local community events that involve special education students from ISD or local programs. They have been involved in their local district’s athletic programs as an assistant coach for both football and basketball. I have no doubt that their community involvement far exceeds what I have listed.
This person received their:
• Undergraduate degree from Central Mich University—BS Psychology with a minor in Sociology, Recreation.
• Graduate degree from University of Michigan–MSW Interpersonal Practices with a minor in Community Organization.
• School social work certification from Wayne State University.
This person has spent their entire professional career working with community mental health services and special education students/programs. They began their career as child and family therapist before moving into the field of education as a school social worker. After two years, they took various administrative positions within Community Mental Health Agency and Behavioral Health Services. After approximately four years, they realized that they missed being able to work with students, and applied to a school district, and were hired as a SSW. HE has since served in various capacities including special education Monitor and now Asst. Supt. for Special Education.
When we asked the Superintendent of this year’s winner to share a few words he stated: “I strongly believe this person reflects the ideals promoted by Marv Beekman. Mr. Beekman and his family were committed to providing high quality care and services to students with special needs and their families. There is never any doubt that this person has the same core values, and he is fully committed to serving individuals with special needs. It is without reservation that I firmly believe SCOTT RICHARDS will represent the Beekman award in a positive and professional light.”
Please join me in congratulating the 2019 Beekman Award winner, Scott Richards, Assistant Superintendent of Special Education for Tuscola ISD.
Past Beekman Award Winners
2018 Laura LaMore
2017 Vanessa Winborne
2016 Greg LaMore
2015 Kathleen Barker
2014 Laurie VanderPloeg
2013 Donna Tinberg
2012 Thomas Koepke
2011 Lucy Hough-Waite
2010 Eleanor White
2009 Kathleen Golinski
2008 Cynthia Smith
2007 Kathy Fortino
2006 Jim Walker
2005 Tom Miller
2004 W. Scott Hubble
2003 Jim Shaw
2002 William Hartl
2001 Michael Dombrowski
2000 Maureen Slade
1999 Robert Dietiker
1998 Jan Baxter
1997 Donald Trap
1996 Thomas J. Rivard
1995 Cherie Simpson
1994 Jay R. Leach
1993 John E. Lindholm
1992 Don Bollinger
1991 Bob Cross
1990 Fred Chappell
1989 June M. Schaefer
1987 Bert Donaldson
1986 Fred Nowland
1985 Ed Birch
1984 Larry Campbell
1983 Tom Howard
1982 Murray Batten
1980 Arnold Larson
1979 Tracy Stockman
1978 Charles Mange
1977 Mary Blair
1975 Walter Wend
1974 David Haarer
1973 Marvin Beekman