Beekman Award

The Beekman Award is the preeminent award presented annually by the MAASE Organization at the August MAASE Summer Institute.

Beginning in 1973 when Marvin Beekman became the first recipient, the award has recognized individuals who have distinguished themselves in the administration and leadership of special education programs on the local, regional (ISD) or state level. The President-Elect appoints a representative committee who focuses on the candidate's education, experience, current administrative responsibilities, honors and special recognition, organizational memberships and involvement, community activities, and any distinguishing qualities which would make a candidate worthy of the award.

Click here to view the Original Beekman Video - 1997 - Part 1
Click here to view the Original Beekman Video - 1997 - Part 2

Click here to download the October 24, 1985 interview with Marvin E. Beekman
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2017 Beekman Award Winner
Vanessa Winborne
Position: Early On State Coordinator
District: Michigan Department of Education
608 W. Allegan Street
Lansing, MI 48933

President Andy Claes's presentation:

I was recently in Washington, DC and had the opportunity to visit many of the memorials and monuments.  While at the Memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr., I was able to reflect upon his words; Dr. King once stated:  “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”  

This year's Beekman Award winner exemplifies having made the choice to “Walk in the light of creative altruism."  If you look to the MAASE website under Beekman Award you will find a description of qualities a nominee must possess. It reads, the Nominee:

  • Is a special education administrator at the local, regional, or state level.
  • Has made significant contributions on behalf of special education.
  • Has demonstrated quality service in the field of special education.
  • Has exhibited integrity in his/her daily work and relationships.
  • Has diverse involvement in both the community and educational arenas.
  • Has made contributions to special education with statewide significance.
  • Has made significant contributions to MAASE.
  • Has proven him or herself to be a visionary.
  • Possesses personal attributes that make him/her an outstanding representative of the Beekman Award.

Consistent with all of our Beekman Award winners, this year's recipient exemplifies these attributes as characteristics within the very fabric of their being.

The 2017 Beekman Award recipient has touched the lives of many children, families, and professionals in the field of special education.  Here are just a few of the qualities that nominators have used to distinguish this individual:

  • Warm
  • Trusting
  • Respectful
  • Steadfast
  • Humble
  • Kind
  • Honest and forthright
  • Both a visionary and a realist  

This person has been described as:

  • A nurturing presence
  • Intellectually curious
  • Both graceful and firm
  • A gentle communicator in a world with much noise
  • Having a positive attitude and good humor
  • Having unwavering motivation and commitment to children
  • A kind and wise guide when there is confusion, fear and anxiety
  • Portraying grace and passion to improve child outcomes
  • This person is a model to many of us in how to build systems, build relationships, and how to do it with kindness and respect
  • This person has “advanced the roles and responsibilities of education as the lead agency for the advocacy of children (Part C of IDEA)"
  • This year’s Beekman Award winner graduated college with a BA in Elementary Education and a Masters in Public Health Education from the University of Michigan

He or She:

  • Presents a positive attitude and good humor (that) assure cooperation and the ability to reach goals
  • Has raised the skill, professionalism, and quality, of the early intervention field in Michigan
  • Has promoted convincing research supporting early intervention as not only the right thing to do, but as financially sound in preparing children for school and life
  • Is a strong advocate for increased funding for special education, having provided testimony for the Michigan House of Representative Oversight committee
  • Has worked diligently to strengthen a system that is reliant on interagency partnerships at the state and local level
  • Has worked towards mitigating the effects that poverty has on health, focusing on our most vulnerable citizens and volunteering their personal time to distribute water to the residents in Flint
  • This person has presented many times here at Summer Institute, and has represented us well  by presenting at the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children, National IDEA Leadership Conference, National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center Conference, and National Center for Systematic Improvement, Improving Outcomes Conference
  • She has taught us well through her presentations at the Michigan Early Childhood Collaborative Conference, The Early On Michigan Conference, and the Michigan Division of Early Childhood.
  • She has helped bring us in closer alignment with our colleagues in higher education through leadership on the Early On Michigan Faculty Colloquium
  • She has lead the state efforts to design and create a stronger system through the development of the Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Infants and Toddlers Programs, working with the Head Start State Collaborative, and work on the Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act
  • She has worked tirelessly to improve the funding structure of Michigan’s Early On program

This year's nominee

  • Received the Good Government Award In 2013 for her dedication, attitude, and sound fiscal management; for her ability to do so much with so few resources
  • She has been on the Governing Board for the Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association since its inception
  • She is the Vice president and founding member of the Early On Michigan Foundation

In study of the nomination letters, I was taken by the degree of engagement at all levels of her work and advocacy, along with the gracious and humble character of the individual that is the 2017 Beekman Award Winner.

They say that character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.  This year's Beekman award winner exemplifies this idea by being a tireless advocate for those children, often times, who are most vulnerable and without a voice.  

It is an distinguished honor to present to the MAASE family the 2017 Beekman Award recipient, Ms. Vanessa Winborne!

Past Beekman Award Winners
Year Award Winner
2017 Vanessa Winborne
2016 Greg LaMore
2015 Kathleen Barker
2014 Laurie VanderPloeg
2013 Donna Tinberg
2012 Thomas Koepke
2011 Lucy Hough-Waite
2010 Eleanor White
2009 Kathleen Golinski
2008 Cynthia Smith
2007 Kathy Fortino
2006 Jim Walker
2005 Tom Miller
2004 W. Scott Hubble
2003 Jim Shaw
2002 William Hartl
2001 Michael Dombrowski
2000 Maureen Slade
1999 Robert Dietiker
1998 Jan Baxter
1997 Donald Trap
1996 Thomas J. Rivard
1995 Cherie Simpson
1994 Jay R. Leach
1993 John E. Lindholm
1992 Don Bollinger
1991 Bob Cross
1990 Fred Chappell
1989 June M. Schaefer
1988 Leonard Rezrnierski
1987 Bert Donaldson
1986 Fred Nowland
1985 Ed Birch
1984 Larry Campbell
1983 Tom Howard
1982 Murray Batten
1981 Casmir Schesky
1980 Arnold Larson
1979 Tracy Stockman
1978 Charles Mange
1977 Mary Blair
1976 Joseph Noorthoek
1975 Walter Wend
1974 David Haarer
1973 Marvin Beekman