MASE Special Education Award 2020

Nicole Woodward Receives MASE New Special Education Leader Award
Posted on 07/02/2020
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(St. Paul, MN) – The Minnesota Administrators for Special Education (MASE) has named Nicole Woodward, Director of Special Education of the St. Croix River Education District, the recipient of the 2020 New Special Education Leader Award. Woodward received this award for her commitment to students with disabilities and their families and her active involvement in professional and community affairs. She will be honored at a statewide recognition ceremony during the MASA/MASE Spring Conference, March 12-13, 2020, at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park.

“Throughout her short time as a special education leader, Nicole has left her mark at SCRED, exemplified the mission of MASE, and positively impacted the lives of students and their families across our state,” said Jamie Nord, Executive Director of the St. Croix River Education District. “Nicole's knowledge, ability to communicate and connect with others, and solution-focused problem solving skills, make her an outstanding choice for the recipient of the New Special Education Leader Award.”

Woodward has been the Director of Special Education of the St. Croix River Education District since 2015. Her previous positions at SCRED include School Psychologist and Unique Learners Manager. Woodward is knowledgeable in all areas of special education, from due process regulations to creating unique programming for the most challenging student cases. She has a special skill of explaining difficult concepts that are easy to understand and is patient with others while they are learning new things. Woodward is an effective communicator and connector allowing her to navigate difficult conversations with student, staff, and parents, and in facilitating professional learning opportunities.

During the 2019 legislative session, Woodward provided testimony on behalf of MASE at the Minnesota Capitol focusing on special education identification, placement, programming, and paperwork reduction. Woodward has represented MASE on the legislatively mandated Prior Written Notice (PWN) workgroup at the Minnesota Department of Education. Her knowledge base, ability to connect with others, and commitment to finding solutions has been positively received by the workgroup.

“Nicole is an individual who demonstrates a high level of integrity in her professional practice. She is responsive and resourceful helping to navigate difficult situations with focus and thoughtful reflection,” Melissa Brateng, Assistant Director of Student Services at Intermediate District 287. “Nicole is consistently present for our Special Education Directors' Forums as well as at the MASE conferences. Whether presenting or participating, Nicole routinely makes herself available and ensures she is able to grow and learn with her colleagues across our state. Her dedication to our field is clear and known to many.”

Woodward recently received the University of Wisconsin-River Falls’ Outstanding Alumni award for the 2018-19 school year.

Woodward received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the College of St. Benedict. She earned a master’s degree in Education and Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a 6th Year Certificate, Director of Special Education and K-12 Principal from St. Cloud State University.

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