Statewide Group Honors Special-Education Leader

Dan Heitzman, director of special education for Northview Public Schools, recently received statewide recognition for his service and leadership. Heitzman was awarded the Patricia Gilcrest-Frazier Award from the Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education.

The award is given to a deserving special-education director of a public school district.

It was a well-deserved honor, said Laurie VanderPloeg, director of special education and early childhood for the Kent ISD: “Dan is an exceptional leader who has touched to lives of so many children and families for many years.”

Superintendent Mike Paskewicz called him the best special-education administrator he was worked with in 40 years in public schools.

“His ability to see the entire spectrum of general education and special-needs education has resulted in the improvement of our services to all children in Northview,” Paskewicz wrote in a letter of recommendation. “Dan has an absolute passion for students and their families.”

Heitzman was an elementary and middle-school resource teacher before taking his current post. He has master’s degrees in learning disabilities and special-education administration from Grand Valley State University.

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Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education

Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio.

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