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Felix S. Barker * Leadership Award

The North Carolina Council for Exceptional Children invites anyone interested in nominating a CEC member for the Felix Barker Award. This award recognizes an individual who has shown outstanding leadership in the field of special education.  

Nominees must be members of CEC.

Click to Nominate

Applications due by 12/30/23

Felix S. Barker's (1902-1989) name is commemorated on our leadership award due to his significant contributions to special education, particularly in North Carolina. In 1949, during a period of heightened attention to children's needs post-World War II, Barker was appointed to a leadership role in special education by Dr. Charles Carroll. This era saw the application of advances from veteran rehabilitation and medical fields to children who were previously considered untreatable and uneducable. Barker brought a visionary approach to this role, focusing on improving the quality for children and youth requiring specialized education. He was instrumental in shaping the philosophy of special education in North Carolina, as evidenced in the 1953 bulletin "Exceptional Children in NC," which he authored. This bulletin highlighted principles like education for all children irrespective of their abilities, the right to education suited to their learning capacity, the integration of most children into regular classrooms, and the responsibility of special education to ensure children are not unnecessarily isolated. Barker's leadership extended to integrating special education within the broader educational framework and coordinating it with medical, psychological, and community services. He was pivotal in expanding services for children with special needs, especially at a time when state services were limited. His efforts led to the enhancement of educational services with limited resources, and he played a key role in the rapid expansion of services for exceptional children in the 1960s, influenced by various societal and political factors. As one of the first directors of special education in North Carolina starting in 1963, Barker's influence was profound at every level of public schools. He was effective in increasing budgets for special education, ensuring resources like textbooks and transportation, and advocating for full-time teachers and consultative services. He collaborated with colleges, universities, and various agencies to enhance services for exceptional children both in and outside the public school system. Barker's ability to secure private funding for special events and his leadership in professional development through annual conferences also stand out. His commitment to high-quality educational opportunities for children, particularly those with special needs, was unwavering. This comprehensive approach to leadership and advocacy in special education is why Felix S. Barker's name is honored on our leadership award.

Felix S. Barker (1902-1989)

Felix S. Barker's name is commemorated on our leadership award due to his significant contributions to special education, particularly in North Carolina. In 1949, during a period of heightened attention to children's needs post-World War II, Barker was appointed to a leadership role in special education by Dr. Charles Carroll. This era saw the application of advances from veteran rehabilitation and medical fields to children who were previously considered untreatable and uneducable.

Barker brought a visionary approach to this role, focusing on improving the quality for children and youth requiring specialized education. He was instrumental in shaping the philosophy of special education in North Carolina, as evidenced in the 1953 bulletin "Exceptional Children in NC," which he authored. This bulletin highlighted principles like education for all children irrespective of their abilities, the right to education suited to their learning capacity, the integration of most children into regular classrooms, and the responsibility of special education to ensure children are not unnecessarily isolated.

Barker's leadership extended to integrating special education within the broader educational framework and coordinating it with medical, psychological, and community services. He was pivotal in expanding services for children with special needs, especially at a time when state services were limited. His efforts led to the enhancement of educational services with limited resources, and he played a key role in the rapid expansion of services for exceptional children in the 1960s, influenced by various societal and political factors.

As one of the first directors of special education in North Carolina starting in 1963, Barker's influence was profound at every level of public schools. He was effective in increasing budgets for special education, ensuring resources like textbooks and transportation, and advocating for full-time teachers and consultative services. Additionally, he collaborated with colleges, universities, and various agencies to enhance services for exceptional children both in and outside the public school system.

Barker's ability to secure private funding for special events and his leadership in professional development through annual conferences also stand out. His commitment to high-quality educational opportunities for children, particularly those with special needs, was unwavering. This comprehensive approach to leadership and advocacy in special education is why Felix S. Barker's name is honored on our leadership award.

Last Updated:  5 March, 2021

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