2017 Special Education Administrator of the Year
Jill Skarvold has received this award for her dedication to students with disabilities and their families, and her active involvement in professional and community affairs. She has been in the special education field for more than 40 years, and has served as the Regional Specialist for Special Education at Lakes Country Service Cooperative since 2015. She is a dynamic and dedicated educator whose contributions to the field of special education are numerous. Through her leadership and vision, Skarvold has built organizations recognized for providing outstanding and innovative specialized services for students with unique needs.
2017 New Special Education Leader
Tim Finn, Director of Special Services at the St. Francis School District, as the recipient of the 2017 New Special Education Leader Award. Finn has received this award for his commitment to students with disabilities and their families and his active involvement in professional and community affairs.
Finn has been with the St. Francis School District as the Director of Special Services since 2013. He has been instrumental in increasing the programming options for all students. Finn helped establish Saint’s Online for the fall of 2015, an online school for students in grades 3-12, as well as Saint’s Academy for the fall 2016, an alternative learning program for students in grades 6-12. He was also the driving force behind researching and becoming a member of Intermediate 916 to better meeting the needs of St. Francis’ most challenging students with disabilities. Finn has co-chaired St. Francis’ new Strategic Plan Implementation Team, identified a need and developed a new center-based special education program at East Bethel Community School, and worked closely with the director of curriculum and instruction to more effectively implement the RTI program. He has also supervised the Indian Education Program, implemented changes to the district’s 504 development and delivery, and repurposed St. Francis’ Crossroads School and Vocational Center by bringing back the 18-21 Transition Program.
2017 MASE Distinguished Service Award
Michelle Jones will be honored for her positive history and association with Minnesota public education, contribution to improving Minnesota’s public education, and reputation as a person who willingly “goes the extra mile”
In her current role of Education Finance Specialist, Jones administers, analyzes, and monitors grant awards for PartC of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Regional Low Incidence, Comprehensive System of
Personnel Development (CSPD), and the Continuous Improvement Monitoring Program (CIMP). She does the calculation of federal entitlements and makes adjustments to the entitlements for Student Services for the Blind and Coordinated Early Intervening Services. Jones provided training during the implementation of State Educational Record Review and on the application process in the State Educational Record View and Submission (SERVS), budget and payment requests. Jones was present for the inception of MDE taking the reigns of tuition billing calculations and she has provided countless trainings and technical assistance to directors and business managers. “Michelle works patiently with directors and business managers new to the world of special education finance,” wrote Nan Records, Regional Low Incidence Facilitator at the National Joint Powers Alliance in her nomination letter for Jones. “In all that she does, Michelle goes the extra mile. If she isn't the person you should be asking she doesn't turn you away. She continually works to resolve any challenges presented to her.”
2017 Legacy Award
Keith Erickson, Retired Director of Special Services for the Albert Lea Area School District (Minnesota), has been awarded the Legacy Award by the Minnesota Administrators for Special Education (MASE).
Mr. Erickson served as a Special Education Administrator for a total of 40 years, with 30 of those years serving as a Director of Special Education in the State of Minnesota. The first seven of these years in Minnesota were in the Area Special Education Cooperative (ASEC) in northwestern Minnesota, where he supervised comprehensive special services for 22 school districts
across five counties. He spent the next 23 years as the Director of Special Services for the Albert Lea Area School District #241. Collaboration has always been a cornerstone throughout Keith’s administrative career.
Mr. Erickson has been a mentor to many emerging school leaders. When asked what he is most proud of, he mentions the number of staff that he has hired and worked with throughout the years who are now in special education administration.
Mr. Erickson will be honored for his commitment to encouraging, developing, and mentoring leaders who reflect the MASE mission at a statewide
recognition ceremony to be held at the 2017 MASE Fall Leadership Conference, October 25-27 at Cragun’s Conference Center
Award history and nomination forms. Nomination forms are due January 8, 2018