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2016 Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA)
The 2016 Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) at William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg, VA, July 31 - August 5, 2016 provided training in special education advocacy for experienced advocates, law students, new attorneys, and attorneys who are new to special education law.
*** ISEA 2017 scheduled for July 30 - August 4, 2017 ***
The Institute opened Sunday evening, July 31, 2016, with the Orientation and Registration session and a wine and dessert Welcome Reception at the Law School.
The program included 25 sessions on applicable laws, ethics, best practices in advocacy, strategies in working with parents and schools, and dispute resolution procedures, taught by national leaders in the field. This training was approved for 27.5 CLE (continuing legal education, includes ethics) credits and 2.9 CEUs (continuing education units).
Kayla A. Bower, Esquire, is the executive director and senior litigation attorney for the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. The center is the federally funded protection and advocacy system (P&A) in Oklahoma. The P&A has the authority to provide legal representation and other advocacy services, under all federal and state laws, to all people with disabilities.
Ms. Bower graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Law in 1979. She is licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Federal District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. She is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, the American Association of Justice and the National Disability Rights Network. She has made presentations to national, state, and local organizations and governmental agencies, including the Oklahoma Children's Court Program.
Jim Comstock-Galagan has served for the past 13 years as the Executive Director of the Southern Disability Law Center (SDLC) located in New Orleans, LA, with a second office in Austin, TX. Founded in 2001, SDLC is a 510 (c) (3) non-profit legal services organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the legal rights of people with disabilities throughout the South. It partners with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Protection and Advocacy (P&A) programs, Legal Services Corporations (LSC) and disability organizations on major, systemic disability rights issues involving the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the federal Medicaid Act.
Before founding SDLC, Jim was the Executive Director of Advocacy, Inc. (AI), the Texas P&A, where he worked for 12 years. During that period, he managed the growth of the P&A from an office of 34 staff to a staff of 93, and from a centralized operation with one office to a regionalized operation with eleven offices spread across Texas. From 1981-1989, Jim worked for the Advocacy Center for the Elderly and Disabled in New Orleans (Louisiana P&A) as its Legal Director. From 1979 to 1981 Jim worked as a staff attorney for the Louisiana Center for the Public Interest.
Jim graduated from Tulane University School of Law in 1977, and has a BA in Accounting & Economics from the University of Puget Sound. Jim is the author of publications and training materials on the IDEA, the ADA, and Section 504, including: Stopping the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Pipeline by Enforcing Federal Special Education Law (2006), co-authored with Rhonda Brownstein from the Southern Poverty Law Center. He has served as lead or co-counsel in several IDEA class action lawsuits in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas on behalf of thousands of students with disabilities, and in three systemic Administrative Complaints filed under the IDEA in Louisiana and Florida. Jim has also made numerous presentations at both regional and national conferences on IDEA and ADA issues.
Dr. Harry Gewanter, MD, FAAP, FACR, is a pediatrician and pediatric rheumatologist who has practiced in Richmond, Virginia for almost 3 decades. A graduate of Duke University and Wayne State University Medical School, he received his general pediatric and pediatric rheumatology training at the University of Rochester. He has been actively involved in national, state and local professional, community and disability organizations. These have included the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, the national American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Children with Disabilities, a variety of volunteer positions within the national and Mid-Atlantic Region Arthritis Foundation and the first Walter E. Bundy, Jr Clinical Professor of Community Pediatrics at the Medical College of Virginia.
As a result of both his personal and professional interests and experiences, his practice has evolved over the years into primarily caring for children and youth with disabilities and special health care needs. Beyond personally advocating for his patients, he helped co-found Medical Home Plus, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization that provides information, support and referrals for families of children and youth with any disability. One of its primary activities is working with families who are having difficulties working with their school system. Since three of his four children had IEP's, he lived through the many challenges parents and children with disabilities or chronic health problems face within the public school system. These experiences have resulted in a desire to help other families undergo fewer difficulties than those of his children and family.
Nicole Dooley is an attorney advisor with the Metro (DC) office of the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR). As an OCR attorney, she investigates and resolves complaints of discrimination based on race, color, national origin; sex; disability, and/or age in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department. The Metro office covers Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia. Before starting at OCR in 2015, Nicole spent five years as an attorney with the JustChildren program of the Legal Aid Justice Center representing children and families in the Richmond and Petersburg areas in special education and school discipline matters.
Sheena Wadhawan is also an attorney with the Metro (DC) office of the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. She assisted with the presentation and the question and answer session on "Filing OCR Complaints".
A graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Ms. Wadhawan was previously the Advocacy Director at the DC Employment Justice Center and the Legal Program Manager for CASA de Maryland.
Pat Howey has four children, seven grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. Several of her children, grandchildren and one great grandchild have a variety of disabilities. Pat has a specific learning disability. Pat has been involved in special education advocacy since 1985. She is an active advocate for families who have children with disabilities and specializes in dispute resolution. In 2008, Pat became involved in the world of adult special education when her brother suffered a massive stroke. She continues to learn how to navigate the Social Security Disability, Social Security Retirement, Veterans Administration, Medicare, and Medicaid systems.
Pat is a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau, a former charter Commissioner of the Tippecanoe County Human Relations Commission, and a charter member and former member of the Board of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. Pat graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Paralegal Studies from Saint Mary of the Woods College.
Danielle Scott holds a Ph. D. and M. Ed. from The University of Virginia in Clinical and School Psychology. She completed her B.S. in Psychology at Duke University. She is a Founding Partner at the Nelson Scott Evaluation Center providing comprehensive psychological and educational evaluations to children, adolescents, and adults. She works directly with local public and independent schools regarding the development of appropriate accommodations and interventions for children with identified disabilities. Provides in-service workshops for faculty and staff at local businesses and schools. She has also lent her clinical experience to local radio stations by serving as a guest consultant on a variety of different topics surrounding the psychosocial needs of both children and adults.
Crystal Shin is Managing Attorney of William and Mary’s Special Education Advocacy Clinic. Previously, Crystal was an attorney with the JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center. Before her transition to W&M Law School, she also supervised law students in the Child Advocacy Clinic at the University Of Virginia School Of Law. Prior to law school, Crystal taught fourth grade for three years in Henderson, NC through the Teach For America program. Her students served as her inspiration and motivation to attend law school. Crystal received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Virginia, where she was the 2010 recipient of the Margaret G. Hyde Award.
She was also a staff attorney with the JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center. She holds a B.A., J.D., and M.S.W. from the University of North Carolina and an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Joy J. Turner is a staff attorney with the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. The center is the federally funded protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities in Oklahoma.
Ms. Turner graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1999. She is licensed to practice before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Federal District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. She is a member of The American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) and the Oklahoma Bar Association.
Pam Wright has a Master's Degree in both Psychology and Social Work. Since graduate school, she has worked as a psychotherapist with children and families. Her training and experience in clinical psychology and clinical social work give her a unique perspective on parent-child-school dynamics, problems, and solutions. Pam has written extensively about raising, educating and advocating for children with disabilities. She is the co-author of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law (1999), Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (2003), Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004, (2005), Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, (2005), Wrightslaw: All About IEPs (2010) and Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments (2014) and Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases - 2015. Pam is also the editor of The Special Ed Advocate newsletter. Pam and Pete Wright were Adjunct Professors of Law at the William and Mary Law School where they taught a course about special education law and advocacy and assisted with the Law School's Special Education Law Clinic. Pete and Pam are co-founders and faculty at the William and Mary Law School Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA). They are the founders of Wrightslaw, the #1 ranked website about special education law.
William & Mary Institute of Special Education Law 2016 - ISEA Opens