Murray O. Batten Humanitarian Award

The Murray O. Batten Humanitarian Award is named in honor of Murray O. Batten, former Director of Special Education in the Michigan Department of Education.  Nominations of deserving candidates are solicited and received by the ISD/ESA Board of Directors representative. A review committee is selected to critique the nominations with emphasis on the characteristics exemplified by Mr. Batten; Leadership, Honesty, Integrity and Dedication. This prestigious award is presented annually at the December MAASE meeting. The Batten Award was first presented in 1984.

An Amazing Career. . .

Following graduation from Wayne State University, Mr. Batten began his career serving as a teacher in the Detroit Public Schools. He then became a social worker in the psychological clinic and from there a teacher of emotionally disturbed children, all in the Detroit Public Schools.

He then moved to Lansing in 1960 where he joined the Michigan Department of Education as a consultant in special education. He was promoted to supervisor of federal assistance programs for persons with disabilities in 1971. In 1973, he became state director of special education, a position he held until 1981. Throughout his career, Mr. Batten was an outstanding leader in many state and national professional organizations. He was a recipient of the Marvin E. Beekman Award in 1982.

In His Honor. . .

Murray Batten had a reputation for being a kind, compassionate listener, who always sought the positive in those with whom he came in contact. After his untimely death in 1983, MAISEA decided to sponsor the Murray O. Batten Humanitarian Award.

The Award. . .

This award is given to practicing ISD/ESA special education administrators who emulate the qualities of honesty, integrity, trust, and compassion that were exemplified by Murray Batten throughout his lifetime.

This special award is dedicated at a special time of the year, which is most reflective of the ideals of this compassionate and caring man. The award will be presented at the MAASE meeting scheduled closest to Christmas.

The recipients of the Murray O. Batten Award will receive a specially designed, solid gold, commemorative ring. The ring was chosen as a lasting reminder of the commitment to excellence exemplified by Murray Batten and the award recipients.


Nominations for the Murray O. Batten Award are considered by the MAASE Murray O. Batten Award Committee.  This committee is formed annually and is chaired by the ISD/ESA MAASE Executive Board Representative.  It includes the previous year’s award recipient, a member of the Batten family (if possible), and three additional MAASE members.

The nomination should include:

  1. A nomination letter which specifically addresses the following four characteristics:
    • Leadership
    • Personal and Professional Ethics
    • Humanism and Caring
    • Accomplishments
  2. Up to three letters of support attached to your letter of nomination. No additional letters of support will be considered.
  3. A current resume or vita of the nominee.

For the Batten brochure, click here.

2017 Murray O. Batten Humanitarian Award Winner
Beth Alberti
Position: Assistant Superintendent
District: Macomb Intermediate School District
44001 Garfield
Clinton Township, MI 48038

Following is an excerpt of the presentation by Rebecca McIntyre, Board of Directors ISD/ESA Representative:

I have the honor and distinct pleasure of introducing the 2017-18 Murray O. Batten Humanitarian Award winner.

The Batten Award was started in 1984 in honor of Murray “Bud” Batten, a former State Director of Special Education, who devoted his entire professional career to serving students with disabilities. Murray Batten had a reputation for being a kind, compassionate listener, who always sought the positive in those with whom he came in contact. Day in and day out he demonstrated the qualities of HONESTY, INTEGRITY, TRUST and COMPASSION. Qualities that recognize “who we are” as people, not simply “what we do.” In classic Murray style, the Batten Award is linked to the personal qualities of its annual recipient, not just their professional accomplishments. 

Let’s start this presentation with the following quote from the nomination:

The nominee is a great, inspirational, and compassionate leader who models the way, inspires a shared vision, challenges the process, and enables others to act. HE OR SHE knows and understands that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts, and SHE OR HE does this by creating an atmosphere of trust and human dignity. HE OR SHE is a unique person, who always places the needs of others before HIS or HER own, and in the infamous words of Steven Covey, “seeks first to understand, then be understood.”

Those are some terrific attributes. I wonder if our award learned some of those dynamic leadership skills while attending Eastern Michigan University, or perhaps Wayne State.  Maybe another quote from the nomination will give us a better clue:

Accomplishing extraordinary things in an organization is hard work, especially in a large ISD. To keep the hope and determination alive, this person continually displays the qualities of honesty, trust, integrity, and compassion. She assumes the best in everyone and recognizes the contributions that individuals make, having them share in the rewards of their efforts and celebrating their accomplishments so that everyone feels like a hero for what they do to make a difference in the lives of children and families.

Well, now we know that our winner is a woman, but did you also know that she has worked for over 35 years as a Teacher, Teacher Consultant, local Principal and Assistant Superintendent of Special Education for an ISD?  Maybe another quote will give it all away…

December 31, 2017 will mark the end of a well-lived and well-loved 40 year career, serving the needs of special education in Michigan, and specifically in Macomb County.

 If you haven’t guessed yet, maybe this will help…

Our nominee would be extremely humbled to know about the work going on behind the scenes to nominate her for this prestigious MAASE award, and would be quick to redirect the nomination to someone other than herself. She 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 Murray way of life. That is what makes Beth Alberti worthy of recognition as the 2017 Murray O. Batten Award recipient.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2017-18 Murray O. Batten Humanitarian Award winner -- the Assistant Superintendent of Special Education from Macomb Intermediate School District, BETH ALBERTI.

Past Murray O. Batten Humanitarian Award Winners
Year Award Winner
2017 Beth Alberti
2016 John Bretschneider
2015 Cherie Wager
2014 Dawn Bentley
2013 Ann Walton
2012 Laurie Jefsen
2011 Janis Weckstein
2010 Randy Schantz
2009 Sharon Melko
2008 Pamela Zandt
2007 Diane Heinzelman
2006 Greg LaMore
2005 Laurie VanderPloeg
2004 Scott Hubble
2003 Wayne Buletza
2002 Mike Contat
2001 Ruggero Dozzi
1999 Jeff Siegel
1995 George Barnes
1994 Fred Chappell
1993 Jay Leach
1992 Harry Grether
1991 Marge Joslin
1990 Tom Howard
1989 Jerry Reimann
1988 Ed Birch
1987 Gene Thurber
1986 Annlee Decent
1985 Richard Baldwin
1984 John Mader