The GCASE Scholarship Programs

New Application for 2024  GCASE Scholarship Description Application 2024

Last Year’s Scholarships were awarded in May of 2023.

There are three types of GCASE Scholarships available. They are:

  • Betty Bliss Memorial Scholarships
  • Jerry Vlasak Memorial Scholarship
  • Joye Thorne Memorial Scholarship

These scholarships are reimbursement type scholarships. Recipients will be asked to submit receipts for tuition, books or fees to the GCASE Treasurer for reimbursements of expenses made. Invoices, payment schedules or other documents outlining payment owed by the recipient are not adequate for reimbursement purposes. Reimbursement will not be approved for items such as office equipment, technology, projects, travel or mileage.

The GCASE Scholarship program will not reimburse recipients for expenses paid for by other sources such as Pell Grants or other sources of financial aid.

2023 GCASE Scholarship Winners:

Betty Bliss Award                                      Joye Thorne Award                                   Jerry Vlasek Award

Megan Mackey, Klein ISD                           Sally Mitchen, Conroe ISD                         Jennifer Hademenos – Pearland ISD

Loretta Fields, Alvin ISD

Karen Hollen, Dickinson ISD




GCase Scholarship Application Form & Requirements

Applicants for any of the GCASE Scholarship apply with this form; deadlines, procedures and requirements are the same for all three types of scholarships. Download the GCASE Application using the link
Scholarship Application:

  1. Completed application. The application must be signed by the Special Education Director or central office administrator for Special Education (Assistant Director, Coordinator, etc.). It will not be accepted without this signature. Signatures from campus personnel (principals, assistant principals, department chairs, etc.) are not accepted.
  2. Statement by applicant (150 words or less) outlining your basic philosophy about education and students with disabilities.
  3. Three (3) letters of recommendation; one each from a Special Education Director or administrative supervisor, a Principal, and a Special Education Teacher. These must be attached to the application.
  • College transcript, if applicable, or SAT scores or others. (College transcript or test scores must be attached to application.) Any and all transcripts must be attached. These do not have to be originals and will not be returned.
  • You may include up to five certificates verifying your participation in staff development activities that have enhanced your skills in working with students with disabilities in the public school setting.
  1. The signed application
  2. Your basic philosophy statement
  3. All three letters or recommendation
  4. All of your transcripts (copies accepted)
  5. Up to five certificates verifying staff development participation

Please do not include these instructions as part of your application packet.

Scholarship recipient must reside in the Region IV area during the terms of the scholarship.

All information must be received by the deadline.

Completed packets should be sent electronically to

Betty Bliss Memorial Scholarship

The Gulf Coast Administrators of Special Education (GCASE) offers Betty Bliss Scholarships as a memorial to Betty Bliss, a former Special Education Director.  These scholarships are for individuals working toward a Special Education certification endorsement so that they may provide services to students in the public school setting. The scholarships are to be awarded to special education staff, school staff, substitute teachers (average of three days per week substitute teaching) or individuals accepted into an Alternative Certification Program leading to a Special Education Endorsement (Generic, VI, AI, OT, PT, Speech, Assessment Personnel, etc.).

Scholarships are awarded in 2 different categories.

  • The first category ($2,500) is for applicants who are currently not working in a professional position.
  • The second category ($2,000) is for applicants who are already degreed or currently in a professional position working toward certification.

The number of Betty Bliss Scholarships awarded will be determined by ranking of scores of the applications received.  Alternates will be selected and awarded scholarships if recipients are unable to accept an award.  The scholarships will be available to be utilized from May 2019 to June 2022 (13 months).  The scholarship recipients must continue to reside in the Region 4 or 6 area during the 13 months term of the scholarship (May 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023).

If you wish to apply for a scholarship, please complete the application form and comply with all the requirements.  Previous recipients are eligible to re-apply, but cannot receive the scholarship more than twice.

Scholarship recipients will be selected on information submitted and not on a personal interview or personal recommendations.  The applications will be rated from 0-3 points in the following categories:

(1)  Education (past, present and future)

(2)  Experience working with children with or without disabilities

(3)  Special Skills

(4)  Basic Philosophy

(5)   Recommendations

Betty Bliss Scholarship Winners (2021)

Scholarship Winner District Amount
James Bell Galena Park ISD
Amanda Bockelman Conroe ISD
Christy Dorsey Alief ISD
Sheryl Crachian Alief ISD
Meagan Gormly Clear Creek ISD
Jeanne Newsom Pearland ISD
Elizabeth Ross Alief ISD
Desiree Rodriguez Dickinson ISD

Joye Thorne Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is for a degreed individual who is working towards a Master’s Degree in Special Education so that he or she may provide services to students with disabilities in the public school setting. One $2,000 scholarship may be awarded annually.

Dr. Thorne found her life’s work as an educator, teaching English for the Aldine School District before becoming the Director of Special Education for that district in 1969, a position she held for 31 years. Dr. Thorne became a respected leader in the area of Special Education, and was selected by the Department of Defense as a compliance officer for dependent schools in Italy, Greece, Crete, and Bahrain. Dr. Thorne also represented Aldine ISD in numerous international forums, including programs in Germany and France, as well as serving as an adjunct professor at UH, St. Thomas, and Sam Houston State. Dr. Thorne was a member of GCASE and TCASE for many years, winning the TCASE Director of The Year award in 1993. Her concern for students with disabilities, wealth of knowledge and insightful thinking has had a profound impact on the implementation of services to students with disabilities. Dr. Thorne had great expertise in the area of Learning Disabilities, and she was one of the administrators who initiated “Plan A” in Texas prior to the federal law. Plan A helped to establish the field of Learning Disabilities in Texas public education, replacing the Minimally Brain Injured (MBI) programs.

Joye Thorne Memorial Scholarship Winner (2021)

Scholarship Winner District Amount
Shelia Lane Fort Bend ISD $2,000

Jerry Vlasak Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is for a current special education administrator working towards a doctorate or superintendent’s certification so that he or she may provide services to students in the public school setting. The scholarship will be for $2,000. Application for this scholarship will be part of the Betty Bliss Scholarship application materials.

Dr. Vlasak was a long time supporter of GCASE who spent his professional life involved working on behalf of children with disabilities at the district, State, and Federal level.  Dr. Vlasak was Director of Special education in the Corpus Christi Independent School District. He then moved to the state level where he served as the Director of Special Education Administration and the Assistant State Director of Special Education at the Texas Education Agency. In 1976, Dr. Vlasak received a presidential appointment to the United States Department of Education immediately following the passage of Public Law 94-142, the landmark legislation ensuring that every child with a disability receives a free and appropriate public education. Following his successful tenure with the USDOE, Jerry and his wife, Dr. Frances Stetson returned to Texas where he served as an Assistant Superintendent with the Humble Independent School District. In 2003, Jerry served as Director for Public Education for the Brown Schools Education Corporation.

Jerry Vlasak Memorial Scholarship Winner (2019)

Scholarship Winner District Amount
Angela Shields Conroe ISD $2,000

GCASE Scholarship Application Form and Requirements

Applicants for any of the GCASE Scholarship apply with this form; deadlines, procedures and requirements are the same for all three types of scholarships.