The Middle Level Education Research Special Interest Group (MLER SIG) selected Associate Dean Micki M. Caskey to receive the Richard “Dick” Lipka Lifetime Achievement Award at their spring meeting on Thursday, April 3, 2014. This award is reserved for exceptional individuals who have demonstrated an extraordinary level of service and leadership in middle grades education. It is not given out every year.
To receive the Lipka Lifetime Achievement Award, candidates must have made a significant impact on middle level education; have a minimum of 15 years of actively demonstrated, distinguished service to the field; a national (and even international) reputation; demonstrated scholarship of the highest level in professional research and writing; and maintained service to middle level education through local, state, regional, and national organizations.
The MLER SIG, an affiliate of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), represents the largest group of middle grades researchers in the world. The Richard “Dick” Lipka Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor that can be awarded by the MLER SIG. The award is named for Dick Lipka who is the founding father and guiding force in the organization. The award is given only when an individual has demonstrated a level of service and leadership in middle grades education that warrants special recognition.
Dr. Caskey is a well-known expert in the field of middle level education and has earned numerous honors for her work, including the John H. Lounsbury Award for Distinguished Service from the Association for Middle Level Education and the Pete Lorain Lifetime of Service Award from the Oregon Middle Level Association (both received in 2012.) She has published 10 books on middle level education and has written scores of articles. She also edits a handbook series on middle level education research and is a popular keynote speaker on middle level education.
Dr. Caskey was hired as an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at PSU in 1998. For the next 15 years, she taught courses in the Graduate Teacher Education Program, the Literacy Program, and the Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Program. In 2013, she accepted an appointment as the GSE’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Prior to her PSU career, Dr. Caskey worked as a curriculum integration specialist, special educator, and science teacher in the inner city schools of Tampa, Florida.
Dr. Caskey has a lengthy list of devotees, both in middle level education and in the broader context of teacher education.
Her insights, her attention to detail, her ability to consider multiple perspectives and her skill in communicating well with middle school students, teachers, and administrators, along with university teacher educators has moved our research agenda far beyond where it would have been without her.
—PSU alumna, Linda Samek, Provost of George Fox University
What elevates Dr. Caskey’s nomination for this award is the combination of the many professional accomplishments with the strong, steadfast and humble leadership style in both formal and informal roles. Micki has an amazing ability to encourage, inspire and motivate others. She is able to project her expertise in a way that gains the confidence of the SIG members and inspires them to align their vision and commitment for the betterment of young adolescents.
—Penny B. Howell, Assistant Professor of Middle Level Education/Literacy at the University of Louisville
Her life is an example of integrity and dedication—a life committed to children and to making the world a better place. She has accomplished much. She has more yet to accomplish. There may be others who qualify for the Lipka Award. None are more deserving than Micki Caskey.
—Pete Lorain, educator and past president of National Middle School Association