CASE acknowledges the need 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. In addition to the recognition of deserving individuals, CASE also recognizes the significant work within our CASE Units (subdivisions). An individual may be nominated for one of the CASE awards by a CASE Member or CASE Subdivision/Unit. Nominations for CASE awards are submitted electronically. Nominations for our CASE awards are due by June 1, 2023

CASE is accepting nominations for the 2023 Harrie M. Selznick Award, Outstanding Administrator of Special Education Award, Outstanding Service to CASE Award, and Early Career Special Education Administrator Award. The deadline for submission is June 1st. 

Nominate a Deserving Individual for a CASE Award

Individual CASE Awards

Harrie M. Selznick CASE Distinguished Service Award

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. 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.  

Outstanding Administrator of Special Education Award

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. 

Outstanding Service to CASE Award

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 current members of CASE.  

Early Career Special Education Administrator Award

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 five years administering special education programs and/or services, and who exemplifies CASE's ethics, values, and standards.  

CASE Awards Criteria
  Harrie M. Selznick Distinguished Service Award Outstanding Administrator of Special Education Award Early Career Special Education Administrator Award Outstanding Service to CASE Award
CASE Membership Yes Yes Yes Not Required
Years in Administration Intended recipients are career-long leaders in special education Minimum of 10 years of experience in special education administration Maximum of 5 years in special education administration No requirement that the recipient be a special education administrator
Letters of Recommendation 3 3 3 3
Resume Yes Yes Yes Yes
Presented Annually at the CASE conference Annually at the CASE conference Annually at the CASE conference Not necessarily presented every year


There is a required narrative regarding the nominee for The Harrie Selznick Distinguished Services Award, the Outstanding Administrator of Special Education Award, and the Outstanding Service to CASE Award in the areas below:

  • Professional memberships and activities
  • Innovation and contributions to special education and/or CASE
  • Impact on administrator preparation and/or quality of services to exceptional children
  • Any additional education or community activities supporting the nominee
There is a required narrative regarding the nominee for the Early Career Special Education Administrator Award in the areas below:
  • Leadership consistent with CASE standards
  • Innovation and contributions to special education and/or the quality of services to students with exceptionalities
  • Additional education and community accomplishments and recognition


2022 Individual Award Winners

Harrie M. Selznick Distinguished Service Award  - Melissa Taylor

Picture of Melissa TaylorMelissa Taylor’s commitment to students, families, and the field of special education has been evident throughout her career in which she has exemplified the highest professional standards and leads with inspiration and empowerment. Ms. Taylor began as an elementary special education teacher in Cahokia, IL and then moved to the elementary district in Belleville, IL. She taught students with emotional/behavioral and mental health needs. Because of her skills, she became the Behavior Intervention Specialist for the school district. In 2003, she moved into the role of Director of Special Education and for almost ten years, directed all aspects of the district’s special education programs and related services, along with evaluating staff and serving as the homeless liaison. Recognizing her leadership skills and reputation in the greater Belleville community, the Belleville Township High School District #201 hired her in 2012 where she continues to serve as Assistant Superintendent. Ms. Taylor also serves as curriculum director for both special and general education, leads a performance evaluation committee, manages state assessments, leads and designs professional development, and works with parents, teachers, and other stakeholders on a wide range of issues impacting the school district. Ms. Taylor has been a member of the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education (IAASE) since 2003. For twenty years she has been a very active member who has given her time and talents to be the voice, vision, and future of special education leadership in Illinois. She has chaired many committees over the years and served as President-Elect, President, and Past President. She is also active with CASE and currently serves as the Membership Chair. Ms. Taylor was recently awarded the Larry Vuillemot Award from IAASE and, on July 1st, became the first Executive Director of the organization. Ms. Taylor is an affable professional who has been a supportive colleague and a mentor to many aspiring special education administrators. CASE is pleased to honor her with this year’s Harrie M. Selznick Distinguished Service Award.

Outstanding Administrator of Special Education Award - Dr. Craig S. Pinello

Picture of Dr. Craig PinelloDr. Craig S. Pinello has long been a crusader for the development and implementation of programs and initiatives for students with disabilities. He began his career in 1992 as an educator with the Southeastern Cooperative Educational Program (SECEP), a K-12 regional public day school where students are provided with transitional, work-based and life-skills instruction. In 1995 he became an instructional support teacher and eventually Principal and Assistant Director of SECEP. In 2006, Dr. Pinello transitioned to the position of Assessment Specialist with Chesapeake Public Schools (CPS) in Chesapeake, VA. In this role, he designed and implemented the division’s special education assessment programs. Dr. Pinello currently serves CPS as Director of Exceptional Learning, a position he has held since 2010, Dr. Pinello has formulated initiatives in the area of equity and culturally responsive instruction focusing on professional learning for educators and early childhood special education programs. In 2015, Dr. Pinello led the CPS rollout of Project Search, an initiative coordinated with Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services, The Choice Group, and the Virginia Department of Education. Throughout his professional career, Dr. Pinello has been instrumental in developing and mentoring educators of exceptional children. During his early years with SECEP, he assumed a lead role in developing, monitoring and evaluating student IEPs. As an instructional support teacher, Dr. Pinello worked extensively with classroom teachers to maximize instructional and behavioral programming. During his years as a principal and assistant director at SECEP, Dr. Pinello provided opportunities and training for educators and staff for five regional public school programs across eight localities. As an Assessment Specialist with CPS, Dr. Pinello worked on training programs and developmental support for schools, administrators, and teachers. CASE is proud to recognize Dr. Craig S. Pinello as our 2022 Outstanding Special Education Administrator for his leadership and dedication to students with disabilities. 

Early Career Special Education Administrator Award - Shauna Maynard

Picture of Shauna MaynardShauna Maynard serves Questar III in Castleton, New York, a cooperative educational services agency, as Assistant Superintendent of Exceptional and Early Learning. She previously served as their Director of Special Education. Ms. Maynard is a leader in the development of special education programs and services for students with complex disabilities for a vast region of 23 school districts. She not only guided the department in navigating through the pandemic but also served the integral role of acting liaison between the New York State Education Department and the regional Directors of Special Education. Ms. Maynard provided ongoing updates regarding the ever-changing guidance from the Education Department, the Department of Health, and federal-level agencies. She has facilitated monthly meetings of regional Directors of Special Education to review regulatory requirements, best practices, collaborative problem solving, and professional development; including support for students with disabilities who are English Language Learners, integrated co-teaching models, specially-designed instruction, transition planning for students with disabilities, and FBA/BIP development and best practices. Ms. Maynard also led the collaboration of PREPaRE training and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention training for regional school districts. Through her work, a safer school environment has been created, not only for students but also for staff. . Ms. Maynard confidently leads with a vast knowledge of special education law, instructional practices, and school management and a commitment to innovation and efficiency. She embraces her role and continually has a positive impact upon student outcomes because of her relentless efforts. She is personable, interactive, and maintains a great rapport with students, staff, and colleagues. Ms. Maynard’s vast resume as an early career administrator is outstanding. CASE is honored to recognize her work on behalf of students with disabilities.


Unit Awards