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William & Mary Law School

Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA)

Agenda l Faculty l Graduates l Slideshow

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The first annual Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) was held at William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg, VA from August 9-12, 2011 to provide training in special education advocacy.

ISEA 2011 was a four-day training program hosted by the William & Mary School of Law and co-sponsored by the PELE Special Education Advocacy Clinic, Wrightslaw, and The Oklahoma Disability Law Center.

***ISEA 2012 scheduled for July 22 - 27, 2012***

ISEA 2011 Agenda

The 2011 program included 16 sessions focusing on applicable laws, ethics, and best practices in advocacy. 2011 Agenda

Topics included:

  • History and Applicable Laws
  • Ethics in Special Education Advocacy
  • Hot Topics: Least Restrictive Environment, Inclusion, Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), and Discipline
  • Advocacy Strategies
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Assessing Cases for Due Process v. Settlement
  • Dispute Resolution: State Complaints, Due Process, Mediation, Remedies
  • When and Why Parents Need an Attorney
  • Mistakes Parents and Schools Make: Parent & School Perspectives
  • Eligibility: IDEA & Section 504
  • Evaluations
  • Tests and Measurements
  • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
  • Scientifically Based Educational Methodology

ISEA 2011 Faculty

Peter W.D. Wright, Esquire Peter W. D. Wright, Esquire, has represented children with disabilities for more than 30 years. In second grade, Pete was diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD. His determination to help children grew out of his own educational experiences. Pete represented Shannon Carter before the U.S. Supreme Court in Florence County School District IV v. Shannon Carter, 510 U.S. 7 (1993) and won a landmark victory that has benefited all children with disabilities.

Pete provides training in special education law and advocacy for parents, advocates, attorneys, educators, and others who seek to ensure that children with disabilities receive quality special education services.

Kayla Bower, Esquire 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.

Joy Turner, EsquireJoy J. Turner, Esquire, 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.

Bill Reichhardt, Esquire William B. Reichhardt, Esquire, is the principal in the firm of William B. Reichhardt & Associates in Fairfax, Virginia. His primary practice areas include family law, criminal defense, school law, special education and mental health issues. He has successfully represented children and parents in special education appeals at the administrative and court appellate levels.

Mr. Reichhardt had early experience as a juvenile probation officer, Director of a therapeutic group home and school of special education for emotionally disturbed adolescent boys, and as the intake supervisor for the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.

In 2001, Mr. Reichhardt received the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award from the Fairfax Bar Association. In 2009, Mr. Reichhardt was appointed by the governor to serve on the Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice and is also a sitting member on the Virginia Bar Association Commission on the Needs of Children. He is the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award bestowed by the Virginia State Bar in recognition of his efforts to provide and support legal advocacy for children.

Mark Kamleiter, Esquire Mark S. Kamleiter, Esquire, is Board Certified in Education in Florida. He holds a BS degree in Education from Old Dominion University, Virginia and J.D. from the College of William and Mary 1978. He also earned a teaching certificate in Special Education from the University of South Carolina. He has taught regular education as well special education classes and served as a behavior specialist in public schools.

In 1993, Mark established a law firm (now Special Education Law and Advocacy) in St. Petersburg, FL offering legal advocacy for children with disabilities across the state. Mark is the President of STAND (Statewide Advocacy Network on Disabilities), is on the administrative board of the Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA), and a frequent national speaker on issues related to the education of children with disabilities. Mark represents children with disabilities in due process and Federal Court, in an effort to obtain an free appropriate education in the public school systems.

Pat Howey, Advocate Pat Howey has been involved in special education advocacy since 1985. Pat has four children, seven grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. Several of her children, grandchildren and one great grandchild have a variety of disabilities. Pat, who has a specific learning disability, 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 BA in Paralegal Studies from Saint Mary of the Woods College.

Jim Comstock-Galagan, Esquire Jim Comstock-Galagan is the Executive Director and Senior Attorney for the Southern Disability Law Center. His entire 32 year legal career has been devoted to advocating for the rights of people with disabilities.

He is a graduate of Tulane School of Law. His seasoned legal career includes past positions as executive director of Advocacy, Inc. (Texas’ protection and advocacy agency), legal director of Advocacy Center (Louisiana’s protection and advocacy center), and staff attorney for the Louisiana Center for the Public Interest. He has won the President’s Award from the State Bar of Texas and the Disability Rights Activist Award from ADAPT of Texas. He now directs the Southern Disability Law Center where he pursues systemic litigation and advocacy under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

For the past 9 years Jim and his organization, along with assistance from the State Bar of Texas and in collaboration with the Southern Poverty Law Center, have engaged in large-scale litigation against school districts. He has also made use of a new tool, systemic IDEA administrative complaints filed with state education agencies, most of these cases have resulted in successful settlement agreements.

Jason Ballum, EsquireJason Ballum, Esquire, is an attorney with Reed Smith LLP, a law firm that has offices across the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Jason works out of the firm's Richmond, Virginia office and represents public school boards throughout the Commonwealth. Jason graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2003 and began working with the education law practice group of Reed Smith shortly after graduation.

He is the author of "Resolution Sessions and Mediation Under the IDEA: Settling Disputes Without Due Process Hearings," published by LRP Publications. Jason earned his undergraduate degree from Colgate University. Prior to attending law school, Jason worked for several years in the admission offices of Colgate University and the University of Richmond.

Patty Roberts, Esquire Professor Patty Roberts, Esquire, has served William & Mary Law School in a variety of administrative roles including Associate Director of the Legal Skills Program, Director of the Academic Support Program, Director of the Externship Program, and Associate Dean for Academic Programs. Teaching responsibilities included Legal Skills I and II, the teaching of professional skills and ethical standards of practice through simulated client representation; the externship seminar; and Negotiation and Settlement Advocacy. In 2007-08, Roberts was appointed Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, and served as Director of Clinical Programs and Legal Skills.

Professor Roberts is the Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, and in addition to overseeing four hybrid clinics taught by adjunct faculty, started two in-house clinics, a Veterans Benefits Clinic and a Special Education Advocacy Clinic, PELE. She has directed the Special Education Advocacy Clinic since its inception in January 2009. Professor Roberts is a recipient of the John Marshall Award in recognition of exceptional service. She is a member of the Special Education Advisory Committee for Williamsburg/James City County and serves on the First District Individuals with Disabilities Advisory Council. She is a former member of the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia, former member and president of the board of Legal Services of Eastern Virginia, and served as President of the Greater Peninsula Women's Bar Association.

Harry Gewanter, MD Dr. Harry L. Gewanter, MD, FAAP, FACR, is a Richmond, Virginia pediatrician and pediatric rheumatologist in private practice and the Associate Medical Director of Medial Home Plus, Inc., a nonprofit agency that provides information and technical assistance to families of children with special health care needs and the professionals that serve them. An active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Arthritis Foundation and many other state and national organizations, he has served as a member of the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities.

Dr. Gewanter is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics as well as Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the VCU School of Medicine and the recipient of a variety of awards for his leadership and advocacy activities. The father of 4 children, 3 of whom had IEPs, his passion for improving the lives of all children and youth with special health care needs and their families is driven by his personal and professional experiences.

Bill Hurd, EsquireWilliam H. Hurd, Esquire, is a partner in the Richmond office of Troutman Sanders and leads the firm's Appellate Team. He previously served as the first Solicitor General of Virginia (1999-2004). Mr. Hurd's special education practice involved representing parents of children with disabilities in disputes with local school divisions, including IEP meetings, administrative hearings and federal appeals. He argued the case of Schaffer v. Weast, 546 U.S. 49 (2005) (allocating burden of proof at administrative hearings) as well as several key cases in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. His writings include:

  • Special Education Law, 2009 Annual Survey, University of Richmond Law Review (co-author).
  • Legal Consequences of Tuition Assistance Grant Program for Students with Disabilities, Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy (2009).
  • Autism, the IDEA, and Recent Developments in Virginia, Critical Issues in Education Law and Policy (Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute, Virginia Commonwealth University) (April 2007) (co-author).

In addition to practicing law, Mr. Hurd is an adjunct professor at George Mason University Law School, where he teaches a course on the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise clause.

Tom Coe, Ph.D Dr. Thomas Coe, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist in outpatient practice with the Colonial Psychiatric Associates of Williamsburg, VA. Dr. Coe graduated cum laude with a BA in Religion from Maryville College in 1972 and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Tennessee in 1976. He is certified by the University of Virginia in Forensic Evaluation.

Until 1987, Dr. Coe ran inpatient child and adolescent programs and was Director of Clinical Programs at Eastern State Hospital. His current specialty is Attention Deficit Disorder in children, adolescents and adults, with a special interest in Asperger's Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

Pamela Darr Wright, MA, MSW Pam Wright is a psychotherapist who has worked with children and families since the 1970s. 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.

Pete and Pam Wright are the authors of several best-selling books, including Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, and Wrightslaw: All About IEPs. The Wrights are the founders of, the #1 ranked website about education law, special education law, and special education advocacy.

Lori Korinek, Ph.DProfessor Lori Korinek holds a Ph.D. in Special Education (Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Disorders) from the University of Florida, Gainesville; M.Ed. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from the College of William and Mary, and a BS in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin. Her research and teaching focus on research-based instructional and behavioral strategies and promising practices for supporting students with learning and behavioral difficulties in inclusive educational environments. During her career she has published widely on these topics and been awarded numerous grants for supporting the professional development of special educators.

Lori Korinek is currently a Professor in Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education at William and Mary, teaching courses in learning and behavioral characteristics and strategies for students with mild/moderate disabilities in the general curriculum. She is also the Principal Investigator on the Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Center grant at W&M.

ISEA Class of 2011

Sharon Dennis

Deborah Dougherty

RoseAnn Duplan

Kristina Ekas

Marla Gabala

Patricia High

Cindy Hurlburt

Christina Jones

Melody Kruse

Susan Lawrence

Marcie Lipsitt

Jennifer Lockwood

Judy Mahler

Tammy Maus

Sara Peisch

Mary Peitso

Cheryl Poe

Julie Potter

Kelly Reinker

Meridyth Robinson

Patty Siglin

Barbara Taylor

Colleen Todd

Ann Trudgeon

Nancy Wade

Janice Williams

Tonya Williams

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ISEA Certificate

ISEA 2011 - Slideshow

ISEA 2018  l  2017  l  2016  l  2015   l  2014   l  2013  l  2012  l  2011

Blogging LIVE from ISEA 2013 l Day 1    Day 2    Day 3     Day 4    Day 5

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What ISEA 2011 graduates are saying...

You will leave this program with the tools, skills, and resources needed to be a an effective special education advocate. This ISEA seminar provided essential information for parents, advocates, and attorneys. It is a "must have" for anyone advocating for a special needs child.

A validating experience with a wealth of information, expertise, and networking opportunities.

Thanks for the wonderful opportunity – it inspired me and helped me remember why we all need to do this. I appreciated being surrounded by people who had passion and were committed to change. Greatly expanded my knowledge base and network.

An invaluable source of information and mentoring. I feel like we established a great network and I intend to take advantage of it. I didn’t realize what an opportunity I was getting when I enrolled.

For those with a good foundation in the issues faced by special education advocates, this course will take you to the next level and give you the opportunity to meet and network with advocacy leaders.

A weeklong overview of special ed, parental involvement, and advocacy that is well worth one's time. An incredible experience with lots of relevant information presented in a fast paced manner by a variety of speakers.

Enlightening - wealth of knowledge - empowering - a wonderful resource!

Thank you for giving me the honor to attend with so many knowledgeable and passionate people.

This has been an enriching and empowering program. Well worth the time and money.

This program was an intensive 4-day jump start for anyone who wants to advocate for a child with a disability.


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Created: 08/15/11
Revised: 01/20/12

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