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For more than 50 years, the Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education (ICASE) members have worked tirelessly on improving the lives of students with disabilities. The mission of ICASE is to serve, support and represent special education administrators in Indiana in order to provide high impact learning opportunities for all students. One goal of ICASE is to build capacity among its members and continue to develop future leaders in special education.

To do this, ICASE awards two $1,000.00 scholarships to individuals who are interested in becoming administrators in special education. In order to be eligible for this scholarship, the applicant must be nominated by a current special education director and enrolled in a special education licensing program.

Application period will open on November 1, 2024. Deadline for submission is December 30, 2024.


An eligible recipient must be accepted or currently enrolled in a Director of Exceptional Needs licensing program in the state of Indiana to be eligible.


  1. Application
  2. Two letters of recommendation, one from a current director of special education and another from immediate supervisor/administrator (principal, assistant principal, superintendent or program professor in the licensing program if currently taking classes
  3. Essay: "What contributions do I intend on making as an administrator in the field of Special Education?"

Scholarship Rubric


Join us in congratulating and celebrating the 2024 Presidential Scholarship Recipients

Nikki Saulters

Nikki Saulters graduated with her Bachelor’s in Sport Administration from Ball State University in 2012 then went on to get her Master’s in Special Education from Indiana University Northwest in 2015. She spent two years working with students with intense needs at Salk Elementary School in Merrillville, Indiana while working on her master’s degree. Once she completed her licensing for Mild Interventions she took on the role of Emotional Disabilities teacher at Clark Middle School in St. John, Indiana for three years. This is where she knew she found her passion for working with and advocating for students with exceptional needs. She also spent a year at Pfeiffer Elementary School (Schererville, IN) and three years at Wilbur Wright Middle School (Munster, IN) in the emotional/behavioral support programs before taking on this new position of Coordinator of Exceptional Learning for grades 5-8 in Duneland School Corporation. She completed her Building Administration Licensing in December of 2022 from Ball State University.

In this new position she is making strides to break stigmas, provide inclusive settings for all students, and support educators in maintaining best practices. This role has provided her with many opportunities to assist in developing new policies and procedures that foster inclusive practices, legal compliance, and focus on educating the whole student. She is currently one of the leads on redeveloping the emotional behavioral programs at the district level to provide students more time in the general education setting, while supporting the students, general education teachers, and special education teachers needs across all areas. 

Nikki is currently pursuing her Director of Exceptional Needs Certification at Indiana University Bloomington. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and competing in swimming and triathlons. 

Hope Lugar

Hope Lugar began her journey as a special educator at Summitville Elementary, serving as a resource teacher for Madison-Grant United School Corporation. Hope currently serves as a special education teacher at Park Elementary for students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities for Madison-Grant. Hope earned her undergraduate degree in elementary and special education in 2019 from Ball State University, laying the foundation for her future endeavors in the field of special education.

As a teacher at Madison-Grant, she has been a driving force behind innovative initiatives that foster a positive and supportive learning environment. One of Hope's contributions is establishing the Amygdala Reset Center (ARC), a reset space designed to facilitate a transformative shift in the perception of behavior. ARC provides a safe space for students to navigate and process their emotions, emphasizing a holistic approach to behavioral challenges.

In addition to her role as a special education teacher, Hope actively participates in various extracurricular activities where she advocates for inclusivity and understanding; she has played a pivotal role in initiating and leading the Best Buddies club, designed to bridge the gap between students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities which is fostering connections and breaking down barriers. She also helps lead Unified Sports and Activities, encompassing unified robotics, basketball, and track and field. Through these initiatives, Hope nurtures teamwork among students of all abilities. Hope also serves as the Social Emotional Learning Coordinator for the after-school tutoring program, where she addresses holistic development, ensuring they receive support in both academic and emotional aspects for all students. Hope also leads the Christ4Life club and is the assistant VEX Robotics coach at Park Elementary.

Hope also represents the special education department on the STEAM committee, showcasing her commitment to integrating science, technology, engineering, arts, and math into the education system for students of all abilities. Her involvement in the Ivy Tech Education Advisory Board for Henry and Muncie Campus reflects her dedication to enhancing educational opportunities beyond the immediate school setting. Demonstrating a commitment to ongoing growth and learning, Hope is currently pursuing her master's degree in Special Education, with a focus on obtaining a Director of Exceptional Needs License through Ball State University. In Hope's free time, she enjoys big and small adventures with family and friends.

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