Luann Purcell Continuing Education Scholarship

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The Dr. Luann Purcell Scholarship for Continuing Education allows aspiring special education administrators to continue their pursuit of excellence with a scholarship of $1,000 to use toward higher education, or added certification in the area of special education administration. The deadline to apply is June 30 of each year.  Check back as we will post when applications are being accepted for 2023.  
For more information CLICK here.
Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in making a tax-deductible  donation to the Dr. Luann Purcell Scholarship fund by credit card.  Check donations can be sent to:
1675 E. Seminole Street, Suite L1
Springfield, MO 65804
Scholarship Donors
Jesse Arick, Oregon
William Bogdan, Kentucky
George Dayton, Utah
Ruth Ann Coleman, North Carolina
Jeremy Glauser, Utah
Pam Howard, Alabama
John Klaber, Minnesota
Elizabeth Render, South Carolina
Carrie Turner, Missouri
Georgia Council of Administrators of Special Education


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.  

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

2022 CASE Award Nominations are due June 1st. Please click here for the Award Nominations 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



2021 Outstanding Service to CASE Award - Gary Myrah

Picture of Gary Myrah

Gary Myrah has demonstrated outstanding service to the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) through various leadership roles spanning forty-five years. Gary began his career as a School Psychologist before moving into the role of The Director of Special Services for the Port Washington­Saukville School District in Wisconsin. He held that role for thirty-four years until his retirement in 2011. However, that was not the end of Gary's commitment and dedication to the field of special education leadership! In 2011, he was appointed to be the Executive Director of The Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services (WCASS) after being actively involved in the organization since 1994. In addition, Gary has served as the president of seven professional educational organizations, including most recently International CASE. 

Gary has served continuously on various organizational boards since 1978, including two (2) three-year terms as the Chair of the Wisconsin State Superintendent's Advisory Council on Special Education. He has also received the Director of the Year Award three times in his career, including The Dan O'Sullivan Award (twice) and The John Melcher Award (once). In 2018, Gary received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who's Who. In 2020, Marquis Who's Who honored him again for his service in Educational Administration and Leadership.

Gary is the CEO of GEM Academic Solutions, which was founded in 2011. He also provides consultation and professional development to local school districts and organizations. Gary's advocacy for special education is evident at the local, state, and national levels through his committee work, service to the field, and participation in the annual Special Education Legislative Summit (SELS). 

Gary's passion is seeking solutions to improve education and the quality of life for all children. His motto is 'Ut Prosim' which translates to "That I May Serve." Gary has truly lived his motto, and continues to do so, through his career-long contributions to the field of special education leadership and his tireless service to CASE. 


   Picture of John Klaber  2021 Harrie M. Selznick Distinguished Service Award  - John Klaber

 John Klaber's service to the field of education spans over four decades. He began his career in 1975 as a High School       Teacher and Varsity Basketball Coach. John then moved through various roles including School Psychologist, School   Administrator, Director of Human Resources, and Director of Special Education. In addition to being a career-long leader in the   field of special education, John has also made significant contributions to CASE. John currently leads the Minnesota   Administrators for Special Education (MASE) as Executive Director, a role he has held since 2013. John has an unwavering   commitment to the field of special education and the immense support of special educators and administrators. His calm and   graceful approach has helped MASE build partnerships with legislators, superintendents, business managers, and parent advocates. John understands that change comes from a united voice devoted to a common purpose and mission.

During John's tenure as the MASE Executive Director, the organization has grown by over 20%. He was instrumental in establishing the MASE Business Partnership Program, which supports professional development throughout the state while also providing consistent annual revenue. As the "Face of MASE," John created a collaborative relationship with the Minnesota Department of Education (MOE). This partnership exemplifies an honest, open, and collaborative culture. 

John recognizes that quality special education teachers for our students must be a top priority and works with higher education and the MOE to continuously improve special education licensure. He is committed to educating administrators and was instrumental in creating a Special Education Finance Boot camp. John is a valued mentor to special education administrators throughout Minnesota and a devoted advocate at the local, state, and national levels. 

John Klaber's dedication to the field of special education and his history of service to the Council of Administrators of Special Education is worthy of recognition. He is the 2018 MASE Distinguished Service Award winner, the recipient of the 2021 MASE Legacy Award, and is much-deserving of the 2021 Harrie M. Selznick Distinguished Service Award.


2021 Outstanding Administrator of Special Education Award - Cheryl JohnsonPicture of Cheryl Johnson

Cheryl Johnson, Executive Director of the Goodhue County Education District, is a talented and valued leader in her North Star State of Minnesota. Prior to her role as Executive Director, Cheryl served as Assistant Director of Special Education, Coordinator of Special Education, and Special Education Teacher. She is best known for her passion and dedication to students with disabilities and their caregivers, along with her active involvement in professional and community affairs.
Cheryl takes great pride in empowering and encouraging others. She has mentored a multitude of new school leaders, offering her wisdom in guiding schools, personnel, finance, and most importantly, the students with unique learning styles. Superintendents, administrators. and legislators in Minnesota frequently seek Cheryl's advice because of her expertise in effectively leading special education programs in public schools. Cheryl has made a tremendous impact in the six school districts that comprise her district. However, her reach clearly extends across the state of Minnesota, resulting in improved learning opportunities for students.
Cheryl is highly knowledgeable about the laws, statutes, and special education finances in Minnesota. She has the uncanny ability to explain the complexities and issues associated with their formula in such a way that others can begin to understand and make positive contributions. She has facilitated and executed a statewide professional development program focused on special education finance which has been a highly valued resource.

As a service leader, Cheryl has  worked diligently in a variety of leadership roles for MASE (Minnesota Administrators for Special Education) including Legislative Committee Chair, Nominations Committee Chair, and Membership Committee Chair. Additionally, she represents MASE on the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) Board of Directors. Cheryl Johnson exemplifies excellence in leadership. Her dedication and extensive efforts on behalf of the students she serves makes her a standout for Minnesota, her colleagues, and any professional platform she graces. 



Picture of Pennie Gregory2021 Early Career Special Education Administrator Award - Pennie M. Gregory

Pennie Gregory knew she wanted to be a teacher from a young age. Teaching English to her mother, a Korean immigrant, and witnessing her father's struggle with his own disability, fueled Pennie's passion for helping others with similar backgrounds, experiences, and needs. Pennie currently serves as the Assistant Director of Special Services in the M.S.D. Wayne Township, an urban and racially diverse district in Indianapolis serving over 16,000 students. Prior to this role, she gained experience in various roles including Compliance Coordinator, Inclusion Specialist, and General Education Teacher. However, her vision and leadership goes well beyond academics. In the summer of 2020, Pennie witnessed girls in her community struggling with isolation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic while also grappling with the death of George Floyd. As a result, she started Indy Stomp, which continues to foster a sense of community through stepping, self-determination, and positive affirmations.
Pennie made significant contributions to Indiana CASE over the past three years through her sustainable fiscal management and by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. With Pennie's leadership and guidance, ICASE developed the Aspiring Special Education Leaders Institute (ASELI) which works to increase racial and cultural diversity. To further promote a vision of inclusive leadership, ICASE formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, with Pennie as Chair. 

Pennie received the 2018 African American Excellence in Education Award from the Klipsch Educators College at Marian University. In July 2021, Indiana's Governor honored Pennie as one of seven African American Hoosiers who have exhibited exceptional efforts across diverse fields. Pennie is the co-founder of MelanatED Leaders which was created to support educational leaders of color. Her dedication, experiences, and goal-driven leadership is a powerful voice for diversity, equity, and inclusion in Indiana. Pennie's action leadership is tremendously valued throughout the state and the legacy of her work as an early career administrator is beyond measure.