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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2016 Beekman Award Winner
Greg LaMore
Position: Assistant Superintendent/Special Needs
District: Ottawa Area ISD
13565 Port Sheldon Road
Holland, MI 49424

President Eric Hoppstock's presentation:

John Wooden, former basketball coach of UCLA has said, “Reputation is what you are perceived to be. Character is what you are.”

If you look to the MAASE website under Beekman Award you will find a description of qualities a nominee for the Beekman Award 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.
  • Possess personal attributes that make him/her an outstanding representative of the Beekman Award.

Not that these attributes are perceived to be true of the nominee, but part of the very fabric of the nominee as a leader in special education.

The 2016 Beekman Award recipient has touched the lives of many in the field of special education. Here is a list of adjectives that nominators used to describe this individual:

  • Unwavering
  • Compassionate
  • Respectful
  • Challenging
  • Endless involvement
  • Collaborative
  • Magical
  • Transformative
  • Motivational
  • Enthusiasm
  • Outstanding
  • Knowledgeable and informed
  • Positive and encouraging
  • Empowering
  • Visionary
  • A fellow colleague who submitted a nomination for this year’s winner said, “…some in the district have known the nominee for years, other a short time, yet we would all report the same unwavering characteristics of integrity, visionary leadership for students with disabilities, professionalism, compassion, and innovation.” 
  • One nominator stated, “We often keep personal lives and work lives separate, but the two are linked. The trials and joys of one influence the other. With this year’s recipient, reputation and character walk hand in hand, and what you see is what you get. I have heard the quote, ‘Anyone can give up. It's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.’ [This year’s winner] has demonstrated the type of strength, grit and dogged determination to see improvement in special education that is often talked about, but rarely put into practice. Not the kind of improvement that is merely spoken, but the kind that really sticks, so that systems change and students benefit. The recipient is willing to hear opposing views and often incorporates the best of those ideas into a solution.” 
  • Another nominator wrote, “This MAASE member has consistently demonstrated understanding for staff, families, students, as well as community partners. The nominee barometer for decision making includes what is best practice for kids and families.”
  • A close colleague shared the following about this year’s Beekman recipient: “We have all witnessed the nominee’s ability to take a controversial topic and work with the group to develop consensus and implement best practices for students with disabilities.”
  • A graduate student who was mentored by this nominee stated, “My first experience with this individual transformed me. The nominee’s motivation and spirit proved contagious. Collaboration comes naturally to this individual. The nominee is an amazing role model demonstrating how to work effectively as a team member and as a leader.”
  • A former Beekman Award winner, stated, “I have known both Marv Beekman and the nominee. In comparing the two, it is very simple. They both “Got things done for kids with disabilities and their families.” That is a comparison I would make for very few people over the course of my career. The others in that group are already Beekman recipients.”

This year’s Beekman Award winner graduated from Grand Rapids Public Schools. Following High School enrolled at Grand Rapids Community College before completing a teaching degree at Grand Valley State University as a teacher of the Hearing Impaired. First teaching job, Petoskey Public Schools. After completing the first year of teaching in a hearing impaired classroom was recognized as teacher of the year. Following two years at Petoskey Public Schools, took a job with Holland Public Schools as a Teacher Consultant, later becoming a Supervisor in the same system. Graduate work in Education Administration was complete at Grand Valley State University. After service to Holland Public, became the Supervisor of the Area Service Center at Ottawa Area ISD where he/she has also been Planner/Monitor, and currently Assistant Superintendent.

Honors for the nominee have included:

  • Teacher of Year – Petoskey
  • MAASE Batten Award
  • National CEC CAN Coordinator of the Year
  • Michigan CEC Professional Service Award Winner

In reading the letters of nomination I was struck with the utter consistency of character of the individual that is the 2016 Beekman Award Winner.

It is an absolute honor to present to the MAASE family the 2016 Beekman Award recipient, Greg LaMore.

Past Beekman Award Winners
Year Award Winner
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