Patricia Gilcrest-Frazier Award

The annual award recognizes the outstanding service and leadership in the role of a local district public school special education director. Nominations of deserving candidates are solicited and received by the local district Board of Directors representative.  The candidate of the award must be an approved Director of Special Education and must be employed (or function) as such in the LEA; demonstrate qualities of service, leadership, vision and collaboration; is a leader who has implemented innovative programming which contributes to the field of special education. Including in the decision are qualities regarding organizational involvement, volunteerism and years of service.  This prestigious award is presented annually at the June MAASE meeting. 

2017 Patricia Gilcrest-Frazier Award Winner
Deborah Koepke
Position: Executive Director
District: Utica Community Schools
41426 Mueller Street
Clinton Township, MI 48036

Deborah Koepke is the 2017 winner of the MAASE Patricia Gilcrest-Frazier Award given to recognize the outstanding service and leadership in the role of a local district public school special education director.

Deb has dedicated her entire professional career to the service of and serving persons with disabilities. The hallmark of her career and focus of her work is filled with numerous illustrations and demonstrations of exemplary leadership qualities. Deb has served as a special education classroom teacher, teacher consultant, program supervisor, planner monitor, and director.

As a leader, and as a person, Deb personifies honesty, trust, caring, compassion, integrity, and ethics. These qualities are indicative of the behaviors that are in the very fiber of the life and professional career and leadership presentations of Deb Koepke.

Quotes from Letters of Support

"When confronted with a decision-making dilemma, people find themselves seeking Deb’s counsel or contemplating the proverbial question -- "what would Deb do" -- knowing the 'right and just' resolution will emerge.  Deb is unique and always places the needs of others before herself, and using the famous words of Steven Covey, 'seeks first to understand, then to be understood.'"

"Deb Koepke would be extremely humbled to know about the work going on behind the scenes to be nominated for this prestigious award, and would be quick to redirect the nomination to someone else.  Yet, Deb sees nothing special about the way she has chosen to live her life -- it is just the way she is.  That alone is an astonishing accomplishment, a model of excellence, inspiration and compassion, and a 'student' of the Patricia Gilcrest-Frazier way of life."

"The greatest career accomplishment of Deb is rising to the responsibility she has for the vast array of programs and services for the 3,500 students with disabilities and their families in her district.  However, all of this is secondary to her truly greatest accomplishment of all -- that those who know Deb are better people because of it."


To read the entire presentation, click here.

Past Patricia Gilcrest-Frazier Award Winners
Year Award Winner
2017 Deborah Koepke
2015 Dan Heitzman
2014 Wayne Abbott
2013 Sue Pearson
2012 Dr. Michele Harmala
2009 Patricia Gilcrest-Frazier
2006 Donna Tinberg
2004 Anthony Thaxton, Ph.D.
2003 Cynthia Smith, Ph.D.