Individual Awards

The Council of Administrators of Special Education, Inc. (CASE) acknowledges the need for a professional association to recognize outstanding individuals among the ranks of its members as well as individuals whose accomplishments have improved the field of special education. CASE has established awards for which nominations are annually solicited from the membership.

The Harrie M. Selznick CASE Distinguished Service Award was instituted for recognition of individuals who have been career-long leaders in the administration of special education programs. The intended recipients of the award are individuals who have made significant contributions to the field over extended professional careers. The Harrie M. Selznick Award is the highest CASE honor, and it is accompanied by a cash award. Nominees must be a current member of CASE

The award is named after Harrie M. Selznick who served as the first Executive Director of the Council of Administrators of Special Education, a post he held from 1973-1983. He served CASE in many roles throughout his long, distinguished career.

Under Dr. Selznick's leadership, CASE became incorporated as a professional education association and grew from 223 members to 3600, while its subdivisions grew from none to 28. It was under Dr. Selznick's leadership that CASE was first consulted at the federal level for input on national public policy in the U.S. The number of persons touched by Dr. Selznick's personal attention regarding professional assistance is beyond estimation. His influence is still felt today through a vibrant CASE organization, which would have made him proud. CASE honor's him by naming the most prestigious award after him.

The CASE Outstanding Administrator of Special Education Award was instituted for recognition of individuals making significant professional contributions to leadership behavior and field practice in the administration of programs for students with disabilities and/or who are gifted. Nominees for this award must have had ten (10) years of experience in the field of special education. Nominees must be a current member of CASE.

The Outstanding Service to CASE Award was instituted for recognition of individuals who have made significant contributions to the CASE organization. Recipients of this award should have a history of contributions to CASE, resulting in a positive and significant impact on the work of the organization. This award is not necessarily given on an annual basis. Nominees may or may not be a current member of CASE.  

2021 CASE Award Nominations are due June 1st. Please click here for the Award Nominations Form.

The CASE Early Career Special Education Administrator Award will be presented to a Special Education Administrator who is a member of CASE and in her/his first three years administering special education programs and/or services, and who exemplifies CASE's ethics, values, and standards. Nominations are due June 1st.  Early Career Special Education Administrator Award Nomination Form

View the  Awards Brochure here.

An individual may be nominated for one of the CASE awards by a CASE Member or CASE Subdivision/Unit. Nominations for CASE awards are accepted upon the receipt of:

  • the nomination form (including descriptive narrative)
  • a current vita of the nominee
  • letters of recommendations
Nominations should be sent to:
Julie Bost, Membership Chair
[email protected]
(336) 847-0749


     2020 Harrie M. Selznick Distinguished Service Award  - Dr. Gina ScalaPicture of Gina scala

Dr. Gina Scala has spent her entire career educating and championing children with disabilities, supervising and inspiring new educators and leaders in the field, and devoting countless hours to associated organizations.  She is a dedicated, impactful leader in the Council of Administrators of Special Education and has friends and colleagues across the country who admire and appreciate her service, dedication and mentorship.  

Dr. Scala began her career as a teacher at Lehigh University’s Centennial School.  She eventually became a special education supervisor and director before shifting to higher education where she serves as a chair/professor at East Stroudsburg University.  Dr. Scala has assumed leadership with several elections as department chairperson and teaches, or has taught, almost every special education course in the undergraduate and graduate program.  She has served on countless committees and appointments at the university and has been recognized by Kappa Delta Pi Honor Fraternity as Professor of the Year three times.  She has initiated an extensive Mental Health professional development program for students at the university and community to provide training in Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) as well as Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA).  She had developed a Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) for students to receive levels of resources to assist them in the completion of required state assessments  as they proceed through the education program.   She is a leader in the Professional Development Schools (PDS) program as a partner to support students in  many school districts.   In 2004, Dr. Scala was appointed by the Governor to the Pennsylvania Special Education Advisory Panel  and continues to serve in consecutive terms.   She is a stakeholder for the Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) and a monitor for the Pennsylvania Department  of Education (PDE).   Dr. Scala presents frequently at state, national, and international conferences, has secured numerous grants for her university, and has authored or co-authored various professional publications.  Dr. Scala is a well-known and devoted supervisor for countless new educators, sharing her expertise and steadfast commitment to the education of all children.  Dr. Scala lives by the motto that every child has inherent worth, can learn and succeed, and deserves high quality professionals  and instruction. Her expectation is for all to make a difference. 

Dr. Scala is a member of numerous boards and organizations in her community and the state of Pennsylvania.  Notably, she serves on the Lehigh County Community College Early Childhood Advisory Board, The Pennsylvania Federation Council for Exceptional Children Executive Board, and the Pennsylvania Council of Administrators of Special Education Executive Committee.  She is a past president of both CEC and CASE in her state.  On a national level, Dr. Scala is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Council for Exceptional Children and a number of its special interest divisions.  She serves on the CASE Executive Committee as Chair for the Research Committee of the organization.  For CASE members, Dr. Scala has been a fixture at conferences and Board of Directors meetings for many years.  Her calm professionalism and outgoing personality draw people in and allows her to have the kind of positive influence that is needed for a professional organization to thrive.

Dr. Gina Scala’s dedication to the field of special education and her history of service to the Council of Administrators of Special Education is worthy of recognition.  It is our honor to present her with the 2020 Harrie M. Selznick Distinguished Service Award and to offer our humble gratitude for her dedication and service.



Outstanding Administrator of Special Education Award - Dr. Nellie P. AspelPicture of Nellie Aspel

As a young girl, Dr. Nellie Aspel, knew her lifework would be about bringing her peers with exceptionalities out of the school basement and into a full life of productivity.  For her entire abundant career, she has contributed to the improvement of human life through education and services.  Her experiences and service includes that of group home manager, special education teacher, transition coordinator, and adjunct professor. Dr. Aspel recently retired from her role as the Executive Director of Exceptional Children’s Services in Cleveland County Schools, North Carolina. Throughout her 40 years in the field of special education, she has never wavered in her high expectations for herself, students, and colleagues.  

Dr. Aspel is a visionary and an exceptional leader with the unique ability to see the strengths and potential in people even when they do not recognize it themselves. Role-modeling the philosophy of being a life-long learner and tireless patron to the field of education, she has given her service to over 40 committees and boards for her Tar Heel state. These include the Governor’s Commission, NC-CASE, NC Western School for the Deaf, Adapted Curriculum Stakeholders committee, Committee for Community Prosperity, Hearts and Hooves Therapeutic Riding Program, New Director Training Committee, and several post-school/transition boards. These panels enabled her to implement Project TASSEL (Teaching All Students Skills for Employment and Life), CIRCLES (Communicating Interagency Relationships and Collaborative Linkages for Exceptional Students), and Youth for Advocacy into her schools to improve her students’ outcomes of being contributing members of society. In order to raise expectations, access, and opportunities for students, Dr. Aspel served on a state committee to develop a statewide curriculum for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and developed courses for NC Virtual Public Schools. She has delivered over 200 presentations, written numerous articles, and contributed to  various distinct journals. Dr. Aspel was recognized as a 2020 Education Week Leader to Learn from for how she builds a culture of inclusion for all students. In addition to advocating for students with disabilities, she also advocates for her staff and colleagues, who report feeling empowered, encouraged, supported, challenged and loved under the leadership of this awe-inspiring lady. 

Dr. Aspel’s holistic leadership engages stakeholders to enhance learning for all. Her ability to collaborate, her innovative spirit, and her positive attitude truly makes her leadership extraordinary. Dr. Aspel’s colleagues describe her as caring, passionate, driven, and collaborative. They are also proud to call her friend and appreciative of how she is always there just to talk through any and all issues. Her dedication and excitement are contagious and truly resembles what leaders in special education aspire to be. 


Early Career Special Education Administrator Award - Dr. Brad Bowling

The Early Career Special Education Administrator Award is presented to a Special Education Administrator who is a member of CASE, is in their first Picture of Brad Bowlingfive years administering special education programs, and who exemplifies leadership consistent with CASE standards, ethics and values. This year’s recipient represents all of these qualities through her dynamic leadership, focus on professional development for teachers, and partnerships with families and the community The 2020 CASE Early Career Special Education Administrator Award goes to Dr. Brad Bowling from Georgia.

Dr. Brad Bowling began his career in education as a special education teacher in 2002. From there he served in various capacities including coach, mentor, lead teacher, assistant principal, and principal.  Since 2018, he has served as Special Education Director of Barrow County Schools in Georgia. In his short tenure as special education director, Brad’s exemplary leadership has had a remarkable impact on students with disabilities and special education programs across his district.  Increasing academic achievement for students with disabilities has been a top priority for Dr. Bowling, and under his leadership, the graduation rate for students with disabilities increased by over 8%. Dr. Bowling launched a system-wide reading program for students with disabilities, which created and maintains a comprehensive K-12 program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  He also implemented a crisis response behavior de-escalation professional development, helped establish the first Project Search Program in his county, and continues to provide leadership to meet 100% of the IDEA cross-functional monitoring indicators.  During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dr. Bowling has been instrumental in providing assistance to leaders across his state in overseeing paraeducators and related services during remote learning.

Dr. Bowling is also recognized for his scholarly and community accomplishments. He is a recipient of the University of Georgia Mullen Graduate Scholarship for Research, the Georgia CEC Scholarship, a REACH Scholar Mentor, and has been named Georgia-CASE Outstanding New Director of the Year. Brad is an active member of Georgia CASE, CASE and CEC.  He also finds time to serve his community and church in various leadership positions and is the founder of a camp for individuals with special needs.  He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Interrelated Special Education, a Leadership Certification, and a Doctorate in Education, Administration and Policy.  

Brad’s colleagues describe him as a true “servant leader” who spends countless hours establishing connections between students, the classroom, and the community. He successfully formed and maintains partnerships with various groups and organizations to ensure students and their families access the services they need. This is evident as he motivates and inspires those around him to work for the betterment of students and the community. Dr. Brad Bowling’s dedication to the field of special education is evident through his innovative leadership and countless contributions which have positively influenced special education programming and services. 


Unit Awards

CASE recognizes State Units yearly at the CEC Convention who have shown growth in the following areas:

Awards - Member Recognition
Professional Development
Exemplary Unit 

The CASE 2019-2020 Unit Awards: