Welcome New Special Education Administrators! You are in the right place at the right
time! Sheila B. Bailey, PhD
On behalf of the Virginia Council of Administrators of Special Education (VCASE),
I would like to take this opportunity to say welcome to each of you. I look forward
to meeting and working with you through the New Special Education Directors Academy
Since many of you are already on the job, I do not need to tell you how hectic and
busy your professional lives are at this time. For some, you may have experienced
some negative comments regarding your career choice. I will not add to the list
of reasons not to be a special education administrator. Let’s focus on the reasons
why you are in the right place at the right time.
In the age of accountability, every child counts and no child should ever be left
behind. We, as administrators of special education, must strive to make this a reality
everyday. Our responsibilities include, first and foremost the students and their
families, but realistically we must also include the professional staff members who
provide the required services to the students and their families. Special education
administration will likely never be a “9 to 5” leave the job at the office profession.
You will be challenged each day to meet the growing needs of a diverse population
with decreasing resources.
You are in the right place at the right time because you hold the fundamental belief
that it can be done. Will every decision that you make deliver perfect results?
Probably not. However, as special education administrators we learn from our mistakes,
collaborate with our colleagues and continue to look toward improving our programs.
Will there always be legal challenges, disgruntled individuals and reasons to look
toward retirement or another profession? Yes. As challenging as this can make your
job from day-to-day, there will be the family who had given up hope that their child
would read, but you helped identify a program that proved to meet child’s educational
needs. There could be a new or even a veteran teacher who’s having a difficult year
and you decided that instead of giving up on that individual, you would offer the
needed support to help them strengthen their skills and become a model educator.
You will be overwhelmed with joy and pride knowing that you provided leadership
for a program that helps some of the most educationally challenged individuals in
our schools complete their K-12 education and move on to post-secondary opportunities,
families and productive citizenship. The list of reasons that we are in our current
positions could go on and on. I would like to think that, despite all of the negative
comments that we may hear regarding our career choice, the positives will ultimately
As we open the 2010-11 school year, please remember to celebrate every achievement,
big or small, stay focused on the positives and know that what you do everyday makes
a difference in the lives of others. Remember- You are in the right place at the
Have a great year!
2010-11 New Special Education Directors in Virginia School Divisions
Virginia CASE extends a warm welcome to colleagues who have taken on additional administrative
responsibilities to ensure that children with special needs are well served.