The Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) was born by fiat. That fiat was the National Education Association’s decision, supported by the Colorado Education Association (CEA), to take on the complexion of a union, which very effectively eliminated school executives, as professionals, from its ranks.
Colorado was one of the early groups to see the long-range implications of the situation and, during the spring and summer of 1969, an administrator-board member of CEA, John Stuart, led the exodus from CEA. He invited all school executives of a like mind to join him in the organization of a separate administrator association. About 250 prospective members attended the first annual convention of CASE at Hinkley High School in Aurora in the fall of 1969. At that meeting John Stuart was elected president and Bill Hinkley secretary. Individuals who served on the first board of directors for CASE were John G. Stuart, Jack Messervy, Malcomb Drake, William C. Hinkley, Carl Zeiger, Howard Cloud, Harold Dunning, James Filke, and Gerald Ellis.* A constitution was adopted, and the association was born.
By the summer of 1970, it became apparent practicing school executives could not meet the increasing demands of the organization on a volunteer basis. A full-time effort was needed. Colbert Cushing, who had retired as a CEA staff member, agreed to take on the task until a full-time executive secretary could be found.
One of the first tasks facing Cushing was the need to convince CASE membership that, rather than being “one happy family,” the association should be structured as an umbrella organization – identifiable departments with their own programs, activities, and structures, but operating within the identified structure of the association. Five departments were identified and an overall Board of Directors (Coordinating Council) was established. One of the important reasons for the departmental approach was to attract administrator members from CEA. CASE, with its Coordinating Council, its commitment to departmental sanctity, and its plan to rotate leadership among all departments proved attractive.
On January 5, 1971, Arly Burch joined the association as the first salaried executive secretary. Art Ludka became the associate director in 1973 to augment the leadership structure of the association. Under their enthusiastic leadership and the assistance of a dedicated staff, membership grew to over 1,600 school executives representing nearly 75 percent of the eligible school administrators in Colorado.
In September 1971, the elementary principals (DESP, now known as CAESP) affiliated with CASE, and in 1972, the secondary school principals (CASSP) joined the umbrella. With the superintendents and other districtwide administrators already in CASE, it was only a matter of time until the educational specialists and the business officials established their own department structures (DES and DBO).
In 1996, the DES department was renamed the Colorado Association of Educational Specialists (CAES), and school personnel administrators (CASPA) joined CASE that year. In 1998 the Department of General Administrators was renamed the Colorado Association of Superintendents and Senior Administrators (CASSA). Four years later, in 2002, educational technology administrators formed a seventh department under the umbrella of CASE named the Colorado Association of Leaders in Educational Technology (CALET).
Over the years, the association’s image has emerged as a solid, effective, and viable organization. CASE is valued by its members for high-quality professional development, advocacy for the profession and public education, legal assistance, and networking opportunities. In recounting CASE’s history, it also is appropriate to acknowledge the support of the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB). In recent years CASE has expanded its influence through collaborative partnerships with a variety of education-related organizations including CASB and the Colorado Education Association.
*Fowler Superintendent Larry Vibber was a founding member of CASE, the only member who is still a practicing administrator. In 2006, he completed his 45th year as superintendent in Fowler.
CASE Executive Directors
|January 1, 2011 – present
||Bruce H. Caughey
|2004 – 2010
|2003 – 2004
||Robert D. Tschirki
|2001 – 2003
|1997 – 2001
||Steven J. Pratt
|1993 – 1997
||Richard A. Weber
|1984 – 1992
||Gerald A. Difford
|1979 – 1984
|1971 – 1978
|1969 – 1971
CASE Coordinating Council Presidents
2013 - 2014 Lisa Escárcega, Aurora Public Schools
2012 - 2013 Kevin Schott, North Conejos RE-1J
2011 - 2012 George Welsh, Center District 26JT
2010 – 2011 Glenn Gustafson, Colorado Springs District 1
2009 – 2010 Howard Jay, Roaring Fork District RE-1
2008 – 2009 George Voorhis, Montrose County School District
2007 – 2008 Dan Maas, Littleton School District
2006 – 2007 Sally Stanley, Douglas County School District
2005 – 2006 Jim Wilson, Salida School District
2004 – 2005 Bruce Caughey, Douglas County School District
2003 – 2004 Gayle Jones, Summit County School District
2002 – 2003 Tim Westerberg, Littleton High School
2001 – 2002 Scott Murphy, Littleton Public Schools
2000 – 2001 Bob Lopez, Boulder Valley School District
1999 – 2000 George Straface, Mesa County School District
1998 – 1999 Larry Nisbet, Englewood School District
1997 – 1998 Robb Rankin, East Grand School District 2
1996 – 1997 Richard Amman, Pueblo District
1995 – 1996 Don Smith, Harrison District 2
1994 – 1995 Michael Johnson, Pueblo District 70
1993 – 1994 Rod Killian, Aurora Public Schools
1992 – 1993 Helene Anderson, Littleton Public Schools
1991 – 1992 Ben Hix, Thompson Valley High School
1990 – 1991 Roger Driver, St. Vrain Valley Schools
1989 – 1990 Roscoe Davidson, Englewood Schools
1988 – 1989 Larry Finnigsmier
1987 – 1988 Douglas Gowler
1986 – 1987 Kay Drake
1985 – 1986 James Pendergraft
1984 – 1985 Ray Kilmer
1983 – 1984 Ray Merrick
1982 – 1983 Robert Rea
1981 – 1982 Richard Malmgren
1980 – 1981 Don Duell
1979 – 1980 Richard Koeppe
1978 – 1979 Emil Paripovich
1977 – 1978 Robert Morton
1976 – 1977 Birney Cox
1975 – 1976 William Van Buskirk
1974 – 1975 Larry Vibber
1973 – 1974 Lester Arnold
1972 – 1973 Ruth Womack
1971 – 1972 Carl Zeiger
1970 – 1971 Jack Messervey
1969 – 1970 John Stuart