Skip to main content

Awards Archive

Previously Recognized Award Winners

Each year AzCEC and AzCASE accepts nominations for outstanding individuals, grants and scholarships. Individuals who are chosen by the awards committee will be recognized at our Annual State Conference. In addition to professionals, we also honor students who demonstrate an "I Can Do It" attitude. 


AzCEC "I Can Do It" Award

  • 2023 Salma Salceda, Laveen School District; Mabil Mabil, Laveen School District; Isaac Hlebak, Laveen School District; Andres Mejia Tejeda (Phoenix Elementary School District; Mikey Rose, AZ Autism Charter School
  • 2022 Joshua Vossler, Mesa Public Schools;  Oceola Denny, St. Michael Indian School - High School; Ben Haskie, St. Michael Indian School - High School; Jayleen Pando, Laveen Elementary School District; Gilbert Olivares Espinoza, Laveen Elementary School District; Daryl-Craig McMillan, Laveen Elementary School District; Destiny Rutherford, Laveen Elementary School District
  • 2021 Mia Carbajal, Laveen Elementary School District; Brianna Gonzalez, Laveen Elementary School District; Jesus Millan Vadenzuela, Laveen Elementary School District; Vivianna Ortega, Florence Unified School District; Hazel Meraz, Glendale Union High School District; Alexander Moreno Soriano, Isaac School District; Damien Leon, Sunnyside Unified School District
  • 2020 Gerald Nicolas Coderre, Sunnyside Unified School District; Anthony Crowe-Reder, Menta Southwest Academy Student; Thomas Duvall, Florence Unified School District, Sabrina Castillo Medina, Isaac School District; Jose Romero, Laveen Elementary School District; Marion Wright-Colum, Laveen Elementary School District
  • 2019 Andrew Andrade, The Menta Group; Alan "Tadeo" Ballesteros, Sunnyside Unified School District;  Happiness Bahati, Pendergast Elementary School District; Lucshionda Gaston, Glendale Union High School District; Ja'Maryn Harris, Center for Neurodevelopment; Nicolas Knight, Yavapai Accommodation School District; Jeffrey Peterson, Laveen Elementary School District; Gladis Reyes, Isaac School District; Wesley Tran, Laveen Elementary School District.
  • 2018 Sunni Clark, Mesa Public Schools; Emanuel Flores, Somerton Elementary School District; Rafael Rojas, Chandler Unified School District; Taji Sneed, Laveen Elementary School District
  • 2017 Paulina Arrowsmith, Marana Unified School District; Dabria Cameron, Phoenix Elementary School District; Jacob Cunningham, The Children's Center for Neurodevelopmental Studies; Vincent Keene, Isaac Elementary School District; Gracie Mae Mark, Sacaton Elementary School District; Easton Payne, Combs Unified School District; Phoenix Salazar, Phoenix Elementary School District; Luis H. Reyes-Serna, Laveen Elementary School District
  • 2016 Jessica Gardner, Florence USD; Juliana Garcia, Laveen ESD; Carlos Gasper, Laveen ESD; Chance Giannini, Florence USD; Marilin Huinac Luna, Alhambra ESD; Bryan Rodriquez, Tucson USD; Jenelle Sanchez, Liberty, ESD
  • 2015 Reagan Arbelbide, Chandler USD; Tyler Ashcroft, Casa Grande ESD; Josselyne Gallegos, Union ESD; Briana Montano, Flowing Wells USD; Julissa Rivas, Union ESD; Killian Romani, Dysart USD
  • 2014 Kierstyn James, Casa Grande HSD; Camila Lopez, Chandler USD; Sarah Van Wolde, Chandler Traditional Academy; David Sederstrom, Deer Valley USD; Josiah Davis, Laveen ESD; Anthony Garcia, Tucson USD; Regis Tonelete, Dysart USD 
  • 2005 Tavian Banks, Kyrene ESD; Josue Bassette, Westwind Community School; Melissa Lynne Bock, Peoria USD; Thomas Clonts, Thacher USD; Jesse Tyler Cole, Vail USD; Craig Fernette, Peoria USD; Brittany Garret, Peoria USD; Keijuan Harrison, Pendergast ESD; Albert Hernandez, Dysart USD; Leland Jones, Coolidge School District; C. Terry Kung, Amphitheater School District; Lindsay Lopez, Vail USD; Brittany McCain, Snowflake USD; Rory Myers, Chandler USD; Natalie Nicosia, Kyrene ESD; Brianna Sassone, Vail USD; Michael J. Smith, Dysart USD; Lazaro Trinidad, Flowing Wells School District; Bren Valisto, Maricopa USD, Adarius Walthall, Chandler USD; Kalynn Woodside, Snowflake USD
  • 2006 Kathryn Gorrell - Vail USD
  • 2004 Melissa Carnes, Amphitheater District; Veronica Castro, Amphitheater District; Samantha Declay, Whiteriver District; Gabriel Gutierrez, Avondale ESD; Daniel Howard, Pendergast ESD; Tiffany Jones, Tucson USD; Jordan Parks, Tucson USD; Phillip Pizzi, Tucson USD; Rhyasin Roebuck, Tucson USD; Heather St.Pierre, Mesa Public School District; Jose Vengas, Tucson USD  

AzCEC Distinguished Service to Exceptional Children

  • 2023 Jo Crawford - Arizona Adaptive Watersports
  • 2022 Sarah Durkin-Sheets, Deer Valley Unified School District
  • 2021 Vito Peppitoni/Alan King/Deb Edwards/Theresa Marquez/David Cheeseman (Transition School to Work team), Sunnyside Unified School District
  • 2020 Kate Street, Sunnyside High School
  • 2019 Sara Anderson, RED Development
  • 2018 Kent Rideout, The Children's Center for Neurodevelopmental Studies
  • 2017 Colleen Reinboldt, Laveen Elementary School District
  • 2016 Udall Shumway PLC, Phoenix, AZ
  • 2015 Emily Gaylord, Tucson USD
  • 2014 Kim Caliendo, Karen ESD
  • 2011 Margaret Pysh, University of Arizona 
  • 2014 Kim Caliendo, Kyrene ESD
  • 2004 Cyndi Bowlewski, ADE; Judy Crosswell, ADE; Ralph Giles, Tucson USD; Cathy Taylor, Tucson USD; Leila Williams, Tucson USD
  • 2005 Senator John Huppenthal, Representative Linda Lopez, Edward Myers III; Linda Haller, Amphitheater School District: Key Advocates dates for the Arizona Textbook Accesibility Legislation Bill HB2352 that was signed into law on May 6, 2004



  • 2023 Chelsea Carr, University of Arizona - Banner Health
  • 2022 --
  • 2021 --
  • 2020 Nicky Carter, Blossom Park School
  • 2019 Anne Iniguez, St John Bosco Catholic School; Michelle Myers, Mesa Public School
  • 2018 Tracey Antista, Flowing Wells School District; Trish Geraghty, Mesa Public Schools
  • 2004 Shelly Kilmer, Arizona Children’s Association; Polly Kimminau, Amphitheater District; Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, Pima Community College
  • 2005 Elizabeth Duncan, Roosevelt ESD; Roslyn Gangloff, Pendergast ESD  

AzCEC Samuel Kirk Teacher of the Year Award

  • 2023 Allyson (Ally) Nyberg, Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning
  • 2022 Deveney Haws, Mesa Public Schools
  • 2021 Estevan Carreon, Glendale Union High School District
  • 2020 Evelina Acosta, Yavapai Accommodation School District; Shaylyn Savage, Pendergast Elementary School District
  • 2019 Brittney Oden, Mesa Public Schools
  • 2018 Jessica Peacock, Chandler USD
  • 2016 Jennifer Perry, Glendale UHSD 
  • 2015 Tracey Antista, Flowing Wells USD
  • 2014 Dale Gambrel, Arizona Comprehensive Center for Education and Life Skills 
  • 2011 TaMarla Forrest, ABA Schools; Kandy Claus, Laveen ESD; Mark Rocks, Mesa Public Schools; Donna Youdelman, Flowing Wells USD
  • 2005 Maureen O'Laughlin, Tolleson ESD  

AzCASE Laura Ganoung Award

  • 2023 - 
  • 2022 --
  • 2021 Wendy Collison, Phoenix Union High School District
  • 2020 Todd Liolios, Laveen Elementary School District
  • 2017  Diane Wray, Phoenix Elementary School District 
  • 2014  Lorie Gerkey, Casa Grande UHSD  

AzCASE Outstanding Leadership Award

  • 2023 Melissa McComb, Litchfield Elementary School District
  • 2022 Jessica Gilligan, Dysart Unified School District
  • 2021 Dawn Robinson, Littleton Elementary School District
  • 2020 Bill Dolezal, Cave Creek Unified School District
  • 2019 Leo Schlueter, Chandler Unified School District
  • 2018 Senator Sylvia Allen, Arizona State Senate
  • 2017 Steve Pries, Laveen Elementary School District
  • 2016 Matt Owsley, Cave Creek USD
  • 2015 Mike Maluski and Rene Blackford, Chandler USD
  • 2014 Dana Holtz, Casa Grande UHSD
  • 2011 Fred DePrez, District  

AzCASE Scholarship Award

  • 2023 Mayetta Martel, Leona Schools
  • 2022 --
  • 2021 --
  • 2020 Emily Toney, Flowing Wells Unified School District
  • 2019 Brittney Oden, Mesa Public Schools
  • 2016 Retina Bauschatz, University of Arizona 
  • 2011 Jessica Winget, Laveen ESD  


AzCASE Early Career Special Education Administrator Award

  • 2023 Willow Schroeder, Sunnyside Unified School District
  • 2022 --
  • 2021 Alissa Krantz, Glendale Union High School District
  • 2020 Dr. Adam Leckie, Florence Unified School District
Last Updated:  13 January, 2021

© 2024 Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). All rights reserved.