President's Pen



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 and VCASE.  

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 prevail.

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 right time!

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.

Region I

Karen Trump

Colonial Heights

Ahnjayla Hunter


Paul Hopkins

Henrico County


Region II

Craig Pinello


Elisabeth (Lisa) Powers

Hampton City

Katharine Goodling

Norfolk City

Amy Shockley


Daisy Wood

Virginia Beach City

Lisa Pennycuff

York County

Region III

Pamela Steinkoenig

Fredericksburg City

Region IV

Irene Meier

Fairfax County

Region V

Karen Decker

Fluvanna County

Region VI

Randy Jennings

Floyd County

Barbara Flanagan

Roanoke City

Region VII

Susan Hill


Frances Horn-Turpin


Region VIII

Joe Griles