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2014 Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA)
The 2014 Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) at William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg, VA, August 3 - August 8, 2014 provided training in special education advocacy for experienced advocates, law students, new attorneys, and attorneys who are new to special education law.
***ISEA 2015 scheduled for August 2 - August 7, 2015***
The Institute opened Sunday evening, August 3, 2014, 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) credits and (25 contact hours) 2.5 CEUs (continuing education units).
Marilyn Bartlett, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Educational Law and Policy at Texas A&M University in Kingsville and Special Education Advocate. Dr. Bartlett, a person who has dyslexia, is a graduate of ISEA 2012. She is an active member of the national AHEAD (Association of Higher Education and Disabilities) and of AERA (Ed Admin SIG and the Law SIG). She is an active member of the Educational Law Association (Membership Committee) and she is the Academic Advisor to the Chi Upsilon Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi at TAMUK. Dr. Bartlett is an advocate for students with special needs and their parents in the ManaSota schools in Florida. Dr. Bartlett is well published and presents locally, nationally and internationally on topics of educational law including IDEIA, ADA-AA, and Section 504 as well as bullying in the schools, homeless children’s education and the rights of LGBTQ students. As the former plaintiff, she enjoys sharing her story about her 10 year battle with the New York Board of Law Examiners as she sought accommodations to take the NY Bar Exam.
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. 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.
Dr. Beth Heller is a licensed clinical psychologist and nationally certified school psychologist. She completed an Ed.S. in School Psychology at James Madison University in 1988 and worked for many years in Virginia public school systems, serving preschool through high school populations. In 2005 Dr. Heller earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. While there she was awarded the Richard Abidin Award for Clinical Excellence. Presently, Dr. Heller is Associate Director of the Center for Psychological Services and Development, a primary training site for psychology doctoral students at Virginia Commonwealth University. In this capacity, Dr. Heller provides administrative oversight of CPSD's assessment service and intensive training and supervision for Ph.D. students in psychological and psychoeducational assessments.
Dr. Heller's experience also includes work in community mental health and in-patient psychiatric facilities. When not working, Dr. Heller can be found in her garden or hanging out with her two teenage daughters.
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.
William 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 involves 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 in the area 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.
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.
Crystal Shin is a Visiting Professor of Practice and 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.
Joe Tulman directs the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law’s (UDC-DCSL) Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic. He has been a professor at the law school, directing the Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic, since the late 1980s. From 1988 until 2002, Professor Tulman served as counsel for plaintiffs in Evans v. Williams, a class action on behalf of persons with mental retardation. The suit, filed in 1976 by an Antioch law professor, led to the closing in 1991 of Forest Haven, a large institution. An agreement, filed by the Evans parties and approved by the court in 2001, establishes and funds a non-profit organization (The Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities) to advance the interests of people with disabilities in D.C.. With his colleagues in the law school clinic, Tulman has pioneered the use of special education advocacy for children in the neglect and delinquency systems. Among other numerous awards, The D.C. Bar Foundation named Professor Tulman the winner of the 2001 Jerrold Scoutt Prize for sustained, full-time service to under-represented people in the District of Columbia. In 2007, the Association of American Law Schools Clinical Section Committee on Lawyering in the Public Interest named Professor Tulman as a Bellow Scholar. In 2011, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) honored him with its Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Educational Advocacy on behalf of children with disabilities. In 2012 the University of the District of Columbia honored him with The Dr. Cleveland L. Dennard Distinguished Service Award, honoring an individual who has demonstrated a long-term commitment of outstanding service to the University or to the Washington, D.C. community.
Pete Wright is an attorney who represents children with special educational needs. In second grade, Pete was diagnosed with learning disabilities including dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADHD. He was fortunate – his learning problems were identified early. His parents obtained intensive Orton-Gillingham remediation for him by Diana Hanbury King. Pete's determination to help children grew out of his own educational experiences. While attending Randolph Macon College, Pete worked in a Juvenile Training School as a houseparent. After graduation with a degree in Psychology, he worked in another Juvenile Training School as a counselor and later became a Juvenile Probation Officer in the Juvenile Court system. In 1972, he was honored as Virginia's "Juvenile Probation Officer of the Year." During that time, Pete was also attending evening college in a graduate psychology program at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 1977, Pete graduated from T. C. Williams Law School at the University of Richmond.
On October 6, 1993, Pete gave oral argument before the United States Supreme Court in Florence County School District Four v. Shannon Carter, 510 U.S. 7 (1993). Thirty-four days later, the Court issued a unanimous decision for Shannon Carter. Pete 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, 2nd edition (2005) and Wright law: All About IEPs. He appeared as the parent's attorney in in the award-winning DVD video, Surviving Due Process: When Parents and the School Board Disagree - Stephen Jeffers v. School Board (2004). Pete and Pam Wright are advisors at the William and Mary Law School's Special Education Law Clinic (PELE). They are the founders of Wrightslaw, the #1 ranked website about education law, special education law, and special education advocacy.