Wisconsin Council Administrator of Special Services Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award will be presented to a Special Education Administrator who is a member of WCASS and in their first three years administering special education programs and/or services, and who embraces five of the pre-selected values. The selection process would be done by the WCASS Awards committee.   Nominations are due by March 31 annually.

WCASS has chosen five (5) of seventeen values created by Kevin Gersh and members of Gersh Academy.  Kevin Gersh has dedicated his professional life to changing the lives of children on the autism spectrum. He believes that all children, despite their challenges, can learn and thrive in the right educational environment, with the right people guiding them.  Members of WCASS would nominate a Special Education Administrator in their district who exemplifies these values by telling the story of how the nominee supports his/her staff by enabling them to go above and beyond for children with disabilities.

The winner will be determined by the WCASS Award Committee. This award is a thank you to this administrator for sticking his/her neck out to better to support his/her staff to enable them to make a difference in the lives of the students they serve. Nominations should be sent with a detailed description of why this person is being nominated for the award and how they exemplify the five WCASS values. Nominations would be directed to the WCASS Awards Committee Chair for consideration.

1. “Heart” is at the core of what we do: Be passionate. Don’t be afraid to show how much you care. Your emotions are a powerful tool – use them! Treat each student like your own child; treat each other with compassion and empathy; trust your gut and do what you know is right. Create a feeling of warmth in every interaction you have; be nurturing and supportive. Above all, never forget why every little thing matters: you are changing people’s lives.

2. Leadership: Lead by example. It’s not what you say, but what you do that matters most. Have integrity; act as if the whole world is watching you. Be willing to do anything you ask someone else to do; nobody is too good for any job or task. Pitch in and help – lend a hand whenever possible. Always strive to do the right thing; be the way you would want those around you to be.

3. Honesty: Be honest. Be frank and accurate in your assessments; don’t keep secrets or hold important information back. Admit mistakes. Don’t lie to yourself or others -- the truth is important, even if it hurts. Build trust by being direct and truthful always. Accurate information is the key to everything we do, so share it.

4. Divergent Thinking: Think outside the box. Traditional approaches are not always the best; be willing to use alternative methods and to try new things. Be creative and imaginative. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Invent and adapt; create something unique and beautiful. The fact that it has never been done before doesn’t mean anything except that you can be the first to do it, so dream and visualize what could be instead of only seeing what is.

5. Collaboration: Always use a collaborative approach. Listen first. Empathize and seek to fully understand alternative opinions and perspectives, then partner in developing and agree on solutions. Find and work from common ground. Strive to clarify concerns and expectations; respect other people’s differences and utilize each other’s’ strengths and expertise; seek out alternative ideas or perspectives, and work together to find the best possible solution. 


For Questions contact Caleb Feidt.  

Caleb Feidt
WCASS Awards and Recognition Chairperson
Director of Student Services
Stevens Point Area School District
[email protected]