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2015 Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA)
The 2015 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 2016 scheduled for July 31- August 5, 2016***
The Institute opened Sunday evening, August 2, 2015, 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 25.5 CLE (continuing legal education) credits and 2.8 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. 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.
Maureen Hollowell, as Director of Advocacy and Services at the Endependence Center in Norfolk, Virginia, supervises staff that provides peer mentoring, Medicaid support coordinators, and a number of advocates working on promoting compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability rights provisions.
Maureen has directed several statewide grants focused on Medicaid-related issues including the following: information and workshops about consumer-directed supports; outreach to people living in nursing facilities and families of children in these facilities about community services; establishment of the Medicaid Waiver Information Center to develop materials and training for a cadre of Medicaid Mentors, and establishment of the Virginia Medicaid Waiver Network. She serves on the Board of Medical Assistance Services (Virginia’s state Medicaid agency)
Education related activities include coordination of the Virginia Coalition for Students with Disabilities, chair of the National Council on Independent Living Education Committee, extensive involvement with the US Department of Education during the legislative process to amendment IDEA in 1997 and 2004, previous membership on the State Special Education Advisory Committee, and various state and local education committees addressing school accountability and student progress. She has also directed statewide grants to develop and disseminate materials and training on special education regulations and the Americans with Disabilities Act. She is a Board member of the Virginia protection and advocacy agency, the disAbility Law Center of Virginia.
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.
Paul Marcus is the Haynes Professor of Law at the College of William and Mary. Formerly the law dean at the University of Arizona, his teaching and research interests are in the criminal justice, comparative law, and intellectual property areas. He has spoken to numerous judicial, bar and university groups in the U.S., and has lectured in several other nations. He is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law. Prior to going into teaching, Professor Marcus clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and practiced law in Los Angeles. He is the author of several books in the criminal justice area and has written numerous articles in the field as well. Professor Marcus regularly serves as a consultant in on-going criminal prosecutions.
William B. Reichhardt, Esquire, is the principal in the firm of William B. Reichhardt & Associates in Alexandria, 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 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.
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.
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.
Meet the ISEA 2015 Graduates l View the Slideshow
ISEA Alumni Group
The ISEA Alumni Group has been established as a forum for networking and collaboration among advocates and attorneys who have successfully completed the Institute of Special Education Advocacy at the College of William and Mary School of Law.
Note to ISEA Grads: Save the date! The ISEA Reunion and Advanced Advocacy Institute is in Florida, February 12-14, 2016. Details will be posted on the ISEA Alumni Group Facebook page.