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.  

2020 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



2019 Outstanding Service to CASE Award – Dr. Luann L. Purcell

Dr. Luann L. Purcell has demonstrated outstanding service to CASE in her role as the Executive Director of the International Council of Administrators ofDr. Luann Purcell Special Education, Inc (CASE), a division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). As Chief Executive Officer her major job responsibilities include: consulting and advising administrators on best practices for leadership and development of quality programs for students with disabilities; assisting members in developing networking systems through state, provincial, and country units in order to provide better services to members; advocating at the governmental level to assure appropriate legislation to facilitate the development and maintenance of quality programs for students with disabilities; and providing keynote/breakout sessions and presentations at state, provincial, and regional conferences on leadership, legislative/policy updates, the passion in compassion, and other current education issues. In the last 17 years, she has keynoted and led sessions in over 47 states and 5 countries on various educational issues and the development of proactive leadership skills in times of change. She is one of the authors of Leading by Convening: A Blueprint for Authentic Engagement and has worked extensively with state and provincial CASE units to implement this model of sustainable change. 

Luann has held various roles throughout her 47 years in education including general education teacher at both high school and middle school level, teacher of students with emotional and behavioral disorders, coordinator at a regional educational service center, and assistant superintendent for pupil services for 18 years in a local district with 27,000 students. Dr. Purcell was appointed in 2006 by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to the Early Care and Learning State Board which she chaired and has served on through re-appointments by Governors Deal and Kemp to the present day. She has been involved over the years in many community service activities and is very involved in her church.  Dr. Purcell received her bachelor’s degree in History and English at Georgia Southern University, her Masters and Specialists Degrees in Special Education as well as her Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Georgia. She has been married to Douglas Purcell, a retired educator, for 47 years and they have two brilliant sons, two amazing daughters-in-law, and most importantly, 7 of the GRANDEST grandchildren ever born, ages 18 to 2 years with one more on the way December 2019! 

Dr. Purcell cites the positive culture of leadership as one of the association’s greatest strengths. “When I started in 2002, one of my main goals was to constantly look at what our membership needed and how CASE, through the support of our subdivisions, could meet those needs. Strong CASE and state/provincial leaders were the critical factors in meeting those needs!” CASE has benefited tremendously from Dr. Purcell’s experience and service and will continue to benefit from her leadership for years to come. 


Harrie M. Selznick Distinguished Service Award  - Dr. Michael Remus

​Dr. Michael Remus began his career in education by being elected to his local school board in his early twenties. Since then he has been a long-standingDr. Michael Remus member of CEC and CASE, serving on the board of both local affiliates as well as the CASE National Executive Committee. His board governance and membership extend well beyond CASE to numerous other organizations whose mission is to advocate on behalf of children with disabilities. 

Michael is a career-long leader having served in many capacities including that of governing board member of a local school district, special education teacher, local director of special education, state director of special education for the state of Kansas, adjunct professor, and executive director of the ARC of Tennessee. Currently, Michael is Co-Founder and Co-Director of a special education consulting firm, Possibilities, Inc. Michael serves as a consultant and change agent for special education and inclusive practices across the country and internationally, working with the federal government as well as other international governments to help promote inclusive practices. Michael has also authored and co-authored many articles and books on special education topics. 

Michael has made significant contributions to the field and his impact on the quality of services for students and children with disabilities is incalculable. In addition to the measurable academic gains for students, Michael has transformed societal expectations at the local, regional, state, national, and international levels. By creating a focus on inclusion as a fundamental human right, Michael has shifted expectations for children with exceptionalities to be more rigorous and promote equity. His national and international work continues to restructure educational systems on a large-scale to remove barriers and change mindsets. Michael has been able to advance the cause of children with exceptionalities in every conceivable context.


Outstanding Administrator of Special Education Award - Wendy L. Otheim

Wendy L. Otheim has devoted her life to increasing opportunities for students with disabilities.  For decades, she has mentored others in varying Wendy Otheimleadership roles. Her passion is rooted in her own life story. Her recently deceased brother, Art, lived with Down Syndrome and continues to serve as an inspiration to her work as a leader and champion for special education. Wendy served for 21 years as a teacher, nine years as an administrator, and now as the Director of Special Services for the West Central School District in Hartford, South Dakota. In this role, she oversees the Birth to age 21 special education programs, along with programming for 504 plans, English Language Learners, Title 1, and the Gifted and Talented. 

Wendy is the current SDCASE president and was awarded the 2019 Special Education Administrator of the Year for her state. She is an executive board member for the School Administrators of South Dakota and serves on the CASE Board of Directors. Demonstrating unique ingenuity, she recently designed a new Special Education Director Mentorship program in her rural state and initiated regional SDCASE networking sessions to facilitate collaboration among administrators.  Recently, Wendy developed a strategic, cutting-edge tiered behavior program for her district, through which she developed building-level behavior specialists. During this same time, West Central became a Special Olympics Unified Champion School. 

Wendy is known to be a strong voice and steadfast advocate for effective and innovative education funding at the local and national legislative levels. Above all, Wendy is known for her impeccable character, good humor, honesty, genuine passion, and integrity which makes her a standout for South Dakota and any professional platform she graces.  


Early Career Special Education Administrator Award - Kristen Baker

Kristen Baker is the type of leader school districts hope for. As the Coordinator for Autism and Assistive Technology for Earlywood Educational Services, aKristen Baker cooperative in Franklin, Indiana, she works tirelessly on each and every case while providing integral support to both special and general education teachers across six school districts and over 2,000 children with disabilities.  

One of her most valuable leadership contributions is the meaningful professional development she provides to both her colleagues and her community.  Kristen has researched, prepared, and presented on topics that have included executive functioning, social-emotional interventions, visual and physical structures, assistive technology, IEP goal development, data collection, crisis prevention and intervention, functional behavioral assessments, and trauma-informed care.  She has organized parent trainings in partnership with the Indiana Resource Center for Autism and the county parent autism support group. Additionally, Kristen has provided professional learning opportunities on awareness and inclusivity for pre-service teachers at local universities, emergency response personnel, the Boys & Girls Club, churches, and community parks departments. She even conducts annual training for the staff at the Indianapolis Zoo on how to support visitors with exceptional needs.  

Kristen is active with the Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education (ICASE) and received its Presidential Scholarship Award in 2016. Her outstanding achievements were also recognized by Butler University in 2017 when she was presented with the Butler University College of Education Distinguished Alumna Award.  CASE is proud of members like Kristen who are leading the way in providing exceptional leadership for the field of special education.