Beekman Award

The Beekman Award is the preeminent award presented annually by the MAASE Organization at the August MAASE Summer Institute.

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.

Nomination Form

Beekman Award Winner

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 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.

2023 Beekman Award presented to Erin Senkowski, Executive Director of Special Education, Saginaw ISD
Erin Senkowski - 2023 Award Recipient
Erin Senkowski - 2023 Award Recipient

Award presentation by Concetta Lewis, MAASE President:

My name is Concetta Lewis and I am NOT the award winner. But, I am honored to be able to share the winner with you all today. 

For those that have attended Summer Institute in the past you know the importance of the Beekman Award as you have seen the video we are about to show that showcases some of the true trailblazers in Michigan Special Education. 

Beekman nominees are submitted by their colleagues from across the state.  MAASE members are selected from each region in the state to serve as reviewers and score each nominee blindly.  This year’s winner was selected based on the nominee with the highest score.  

For those of you that are attending Summer Institute for the first time, and there are a lot of you! and do not yet know the significance of the Beekman Award, I encourage you to truly be present in this moment, just as you might be for the Oscars Picture of the Year, Grammys Song of the Year, or Emmy award for best series. Yes, this is that big of a deal!!!

I attended my first Summer Institute in 2012 and remember thinking wow… what an honor to be recognized among your peers for the work you have been dedicated to for your entire career. 

At that point I had been serving as a special education administrator for less than five years, now 11 years (8 regular and 3 COVID years later), I can appreciate even more the need to recognize my colleagues for the challenging work we do on a daily basis. 

Throughout the years I have found those who have been winners to be visionary leaders who think outside of the box to ensure our students get the support needed to thrive in our learning communities.  

Beekman winners, both past and present, represent all that each of us should aspire to be as leaders. Our goals should be to build trust and inspire greatness!   

Let’s take a few minutes together to learn more about Marvin Beekman and the characteristics that represent this prestigious award. 

The following are words used to describe our 2023 Beekman Award Winner...Advocate. Collaborative. Visionary. Transformational. Dedicated. Please go with me as I share more about how those who know our 2023 Beekman winner best describe them. 

  • They have consistently demonstrated their unwavering commitment to transforming the landscape of special education. 

  • They have actively fostered an environment of shared leadership ushering in a new era of transparency and collaboration in special education services.

  • They have succeeded in cultivating a culture of growth, innovation, and development among staff and partner districts. 

  • Their ability to foster open communication and their receptiveness to new ideas have positioned them as a respected figure in the field. 

  • superintendents have come to rely on their insight and innovative approaches to address the diverse needs of their students.

  • Their eagerness to embrace new ideas and their commitment to lifelong learning make them an ideal candidate for the MAASE Beekman Award.

  • Their exceptional achievements, visionary leadership, and dedication to advancing special education services make them a highly deserving nominee.

  • They have been an exceptional advocate for special education, consistently championing the rights of students with diverse needs and ensuring that they receive the highest quality of education and support. 

  • They are a legislative advocate and regularly work with regional peers to establish strong relationships. 

Are you ready for additional details…

  • They have served as a special education administrator for 12 years

  • This year’s winner maintains professional memberships in MAASE, CASE, CEC, and MCEC.

  • They have presented at CASE, MAASE, MASA, MCEC, and MASB

  • Through their leadership their department was the first to adopt and develop strategies related to increasing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

  • They have taught graduate and undergraduate coursed in special education.

This individual received their

  • Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Central Michigan University

  • Master of Arts in Special Education from Central Michigan University

  • Education Specialist from Saginaw Valley State University

  • Currently enrolled in Doctor of Philosophy program at Western Michigan University

This individual has been serving in their current county for 17 years. 

  • They served for 6 years as a special education teacher, 

  • 3 years as a special education supervisor, 

  • 2 years as an Assistant Director of Special Education, and 

  • 7 years as a Director of Special Education. 

The recipient successfully led the passage of a special education millage increase in their county for the first time in over 40 years, covering an $8.6 Million shortage, and significantly enhancing the resources available for special education in their county. 

The recipient has held leadership roles and received honors with MAASE and in the community including:

  • Co-Chair of the Legislative Advocacy Committee

  • YMCA Community Collaboration Award

  • board member for the United Way

Quotes from letters of recommendation submitted in support of the recipient include:

  • Her exceptional leadership, dedication to inclusive education, innovative spirit, and unwavering commitment to the betterment of the Saginaw ISD and beyond makes her an outstanding candidate for this esteemed award.

  • Her dedication to ongoing learning and professional growth serves as an inspiration to her peers and has elevated the standards of special education within our institution and the broader community.

  • Her willingness to listen to ideas from all stakeholders has fostered a positive and supportive work culture within the department.

  • She is a servant leader that demonstrates an unyielding commitment to the provision of equitable, high-quality education for all students, especially those with exceptionalities.

The recipient is not only a leader within their own ISD, they share their talents in advocacy and leadership with colleagues and partners from across the state through their role as the 2023 State Leader for CASE Special Education Legislative Summit. 

Please join me in congratulating the 2023 Beekman Award winner, Erin Senkowski, Director of Special Education at Saginaw ISD

On behalf of the Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education, I am honored to be here to present the 2023 Marvin Beekman Award to Erin Senkowski.

Erin is being recognized by her peers for this prestigious award for countless reasons but a few examples include:

  • Her visionary approach

  • Cultivating a culture of growth, innovation, and development

  • Her unwavering commitment to transforming the landscape of special education at the state and national level. 

  • Her collaborative approach, and

  • Her advocacy for the rights of all

Erin's extensive background as a classroom teacher, local district special education supervisor, and ISD special education director uniquely positions her to contribute a multifaceted and often unseen perspective to the MAASE Beekman cohort.

It is with great honor that I present Erin Senkowski with the 2023 Marvin Beekman Award.


Past Beekman Award Winners 

2022 Jackie McDougal

2021 Carol Greilick

2015 Kathleen Barker

2014 Laurie VanderPloeg

2013 Donna Tinberg

2012 Thomas Koepke

2009 Kathleen Golinski

2008 Cynthia Smith

2007 Kathy Fortino

2002 William Hartl

2021 Carol Creilick
2020 Eric Hoppstock

2019 Scott Richards
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
1988 Leonard Rezrnierski
1987 Bert Donaldson
1986 Fred Nowland
1985 Ed Birch
1984 Larry Campbell
1983 Tom Howard
1982 Murray Batten
1981 Casmir Schesky
1980 Arnold Larson

1979 Tracy Stockman
1978 Charles Mange
1977 Mary Blair
1976 Joseph Noorthoek
1975 Walter Wend
1974 David Haarer
1973 Marvin Beekman