New $25,000 gift endows Sandy Kaplan Scholarship

Joe KaplanThe GSE has received a new gift of $25,000 from Professor Emeritus Joe Kaplan to endow the Sandy Kaplan Scholarship, a fund established in memory of his first wife, Sandy. He has been supporting this scholarship annually since 2007, but this gift to endow it will ensure the permanent continuation of the scholarship for the future.

The Sandy Kaplan scholarship is intended for a student in a GSE teacher preparation program who has multicultural experience. Preference is given to students who intend to work with children or youth for whom English is a second language.

“Scholarships like the Sandy Kaplan Scholarship can make a huge impact on student success,” said GSE Dean Randy Hitz. “We are so grateful for Joe’s commitment to supporting our community’s future educators.”

Joe Kaplan is a former professor in the Department of Special Education who began working in special education in the 1960s when the field was in its infancy. He has a bachelor’s degree in health and PE and a master’s in special education from Trenton State College in New Jersey, where he met his first wife, Sandy.  His doctorate is in special education from the University of Oregon. His specialty area is emotional and behavioral disorders.

His first job in a school setting was in a mixed special education classroom housed in a basement, which is where those classes were typically held in the 1960s. He remembers taking his students to the cafeteria for lunch and being shunned by both general education students and teachers. In 1965, Congress created a Bureau of Education for the Handicapped and subsequent laws emerged in the early 1970s protecting these students from discrimination.

Kaplan moved his family west in 1970 and completed his doctorate in 1972 at the University of Oregon. From 1972-1976, he was an assistant professor in the Special Education Department at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. By 1976, the Kaplans and their two children had relocated to Oregon. Kaplan was hired by Portland Public Schools as a school psychologist, although his main role was to serve as “point man” in making sure that PPS administrators and teachers were in full compliance with Public Law 94-142 (Education for All Handicapped Act).

In 1978, Dr. Kaplan accepted a position at PSU, bringing 12 years of K-12 classroom experience with him. At PSU, he developed and taught a number of courses, including behavior management, emotional and behavioral disorders, and cognitive behavior modification. He retired in 2003, but remains invested in the GSE and student success.

About Sandy Kaplan

Sandy KaplanSandy Kaplan, MST ’76, was a PSU business education graduate and a gifted teacher at Grant High School in the early 80s. She took a special interest in international students, in particular a group of Hmong refugees, who were entering Oregon after the Vietnam War. She helped them work through language and cultural obstacles to build valuable skills in typing and personal finance. She became a much-treasured teacher to the Hmong population in Portland and was honored at their annual New Year’s celebration at the Portland Expo Center.

One thought on “New $25,000 gift endows Sandy Kaplan Scholarship

  1. I had the extremely good fortune to be trained by Joe Kaplan in the GSE in the early 1990s, and the establishment of this scholarship fund is only the most recent example of his generous spirit, loving heart, and commitment to the teaching profession. His legacy continues!

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