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William & Mary Law School

2019 Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA)

Graduates l Agenda l Slideshow

The 2019 Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) at William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg, VA, July 28 - August 2, 2019 provided training in special education advocacy for experienced advocates, law students, new attorneys, and attorneys who are new to special education law.

ISEA 2019 also provide an Advanced Advocacy track for returning alumni who wanted to receive the William and Mary Law School Certificate in Special Education Advocacy.

ISEA is a five-day training program hosted by the William & Mary School of Law and co-sponsored by the PELE Special Education Advocacy Clinic, and Wrightslaw.

*** ISEA 2020 scheduled for July 26 - July 31, 2020 ***
Applications will be considered on rolling basis bi-monthly, from October, 2019

ISEA 2019 Agenda

The Institute opened Sunday evening, July 28, 2019, 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 CLEs (continuing legal education, includes ethics) credits and CEUs (continuing education units).

Topics:
  • The Importance of Inclusion
  • History and Relevant Law
  • Lives Worth Living (film)
  • Cultural Competency in Special Education Advocacy
  • Neuropsychological Evaluations
  • Understanding Test Psychometrics & Scores
  • Nuts and Bolts of Law/Advocacy Practice
  • Ethical Considerations for Advocacy Practices (CLE credit)
  • Ethics for Attorneys & Advocates
  • Making the Case for Eligibility
  • Alternatives to IDEA
  • School Discipline and Bullying
  • Introduction to Legal Research
  • Preparing a Case for Trial/Due Process
  • Evidence Strategies Panel by Attorneys
  • Addressing Behavior in School;
  • Manifestation Determination Hearings
  • School to Prison Pipeline
  • Restraint and Seclusion
  • Mistakes in Due Process
  • Systemic Change / Class Action
  • Critical Decision Making
  • Client and Case Selection
  • Children Who are Homeless / Foster Care
  • Legal Developments 2018 / 2019

Attendees were selected via an application process. Attendees received over $200.00 in texts, comprehensive course materials, resource materials, and multimedia training required for completing pre-assignments. Law students earned two graded credits for this course. 

ISEA 2019 Faculty

Judge Stacey Bawtinhimer Judge Stacey Bawtinhimer. Prior to her appointment as an Administrative Law Judge on August 1, 2016, Judge Stacey Bawtinhimer practiced law for 26 years, 20 of which focused on special education law. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of William and Mary and her Juris Doctorate Degree from the Georgia State University College of Law. She is a member of the Alaska, Georgia, and North Carolina State Bars; the Supreme Courts of Georgia and North Carolina; all federal district courts in North Carolina; the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the United States Supreme Court. As a practitioner, she filed and/or participated “as counsel” in over 100 due process cases filed in the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings (“OAH”). In addition, she appealed special education cases to federal court and to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. As an Administrative Law Judge she has presided over 70 special education contested cases with over 900 hours of hearings. She has made presentations on the topic of special education law for the NC Bar Association; NC Department of Public Instruction; Duke Law School, UNC-Chapel Hill Law School Festival of Lights, Wake Forest University Law School, Legal Aid of NC, and Campbell University College of Education. When not at OAH in Raleigh, Judge Bawtinhimer resides in Ayden, North Carolina with her husband, Gary. She has three grown children and two grandchildren. Judge Bawtinhimer (aka Judge “B”) is a certified bee keeper and honey producer in her spare time.



Jim Comstock-Galagan, EsquireJim Comstock-Galagan has served the past thirteen years as the Executive Director\Senior Attorney 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. Recently on July 15, 2014, Jim retired.

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 Texas P&A program 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 five systemic IDEA Administrative Complaints filed under the IDEA in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Florida. Jim has also made numerous presentations at both regional and national conferences on IDEA and ADA issues.



Roseann Duplan, AdvocateRoseann Duplan is a Legal Advocate for the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. The center is the federally funded protection and advocacy system (P&A) in Oklahoma. RoseAnn is the mother of three children, including a son who has multiple disabilities. She has over twenty years of advocacy experience which includes both individual and systemic advocacy. RoseAnn is a 2001 graduate of the Oklahoma Partners in Policymaking Program and has been an instructor with the program since 2011. She is the 2016 winner of the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Diana McCalment Award for Outstanding Advocacy.




Pat Howey, Advocate Pat Howey has supported families of children with disabilities in several ways since 1985. She has a specific learning disability and became involved in special education when her youngest child entered kindergarten. Pat has children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who have a variety of disabilities and she has used her experience to advocate for better special education services for several of them.

Pat is a charter member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), serving on its Board of Directors from 2000 through 2003. She has been a Commissioner on the Tippecanoe (County) Human Relations Committee, a graduate of Leadership Lafayette and Partners in Policymaking, and a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau. Pat has an A.S. and a B.A. in Paralegal Studies from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is an Indiana Registered Paralegal and an affiliate member of the Indiana Bar and the American Bar Associations. Pat began her advocacy career as a volunteer for the Task Force on Education for the Handicapped (now InSource), Indiana’s Parent Training and Information Center. In 1990, she opened her advocacy practice and served families throughout Indiana by them at IEP Meetings, mediation, and representing them at due process hearings.

In 2017, Pat closed her advocacy practice and began working on a contract basis as a special education paralegal. Attorneys in Indiana, Texas, and California contracted with her to review documents, spot issues, draft due process complaints, hearing preparations, and assist at hearings. In January 2019, she became an employee of the Connell Michael Kerr law firm, owned by Erin Connell, Catherine Michael, and Sonja Kerr. Her duties have now expanded to assisting with federal court cases.



Clarice JacksonClarice Jackson is the Founder of Voice Advocacy Center, A Dyslexia Screening and Tutoring (The first of its kind in the state of NE) and Special Education Advocacy Center servicing families of children who receive special education services in school and providing screening and tutoring to children, teenagers, and adults who struggle to read, write, and spell due to dyslexia and/or other reading related issues. She is also the Founder of Decoding Dyslexia NE a chapter of a nationwide parent support group created to raise awareness around the subject of dyslexia. Clarice is trained in The Spalding Method, Orton Gillingham and the The Barton Reading and Spelling System. Clarice Jackson studied Business Communications at Bellevue University; Bellevue, NE. Clarice’s transformative work on the family and education mountain has been nationally recognized and praised making her a recipient of the prestigious 100 National Coalition of Black Women Education Reform award. As the Former Education Chair of the Omaha NAACP, her resolution to promote Dyslexia Awareness and Advocacy was adopted by both the National NAACP and The Congressional Black Caucus.

Her professional affiliations include:
• Chair of the City of Omaha's Mayor's Human Rights and Relations Board
• Board Member of the National Center on Improving Literacy 2018
• Past State Board Member of the NE Health and Human Services Developmental Disabilities Awareness Planning Council
• Board Member of The Nebraska Dyslexia Association and the Phoenix Academy Private School and
• Academic Advisory Council Member for Nelson Mandela Elementary School
• Education Advisory Board Member –Boon Philanthropy

Clarice fundamentally believes that ALL children deserve a high quality education that takes into consideration their learning style or differences. She believes that her love for education is a God given passion which blossomed from a child to whom and what she does today. Clarice is an Ordained Minister and seeks the Kingdom of God in all that she does. She resides in Omaha, NE and has two children, one of whom has Dyslexia.



Paul Marcus, College of William and MaryCatherine M. Michael is a licensed attorney and practices throughout the state of Indiana, Texas, and Michigan. She represents students and their families in a variety of education and personal injury matters including Special Education Due Process, Section 504 matters, expulsion, disciplinary issues, personal injury of children including injury, sexual abuse, molestation, and rape cases both in and out of school environments, private school issues and discipline as well as other civil rights and disability claims experienced by students. She possesses extensive knowledge regarding special education due process, teacher and student discipline and dismissal matters, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), personal injury of children in schools, and other civil rights matters.

Catherine Michael has been featured hundreds of times in both the national and local media. She is a frequent guest on syndicated radio and television shows for her education law expertise. Her nearly two decade career in education has focused on ensuring that the needs of children in schools are met. She has represented school shooting victims, children abused in school, and hundreds of special needs children who families needed a voice.


Cheryl PoeCheryl Poe is the founder of Advocating 4 Kids, Inc a Special Education Advocacy organization that provides resources, information, and workshops to parents and professionals with a special focus on addressing needs of Black and Brown children and those from lower-socio economic status

Mrs. Poe holds a Master of Arts Degree in Urban Education and Counseling. She also has completed over 15 credit hours of post graduate hours in psychology. In June of 2004, she completed the Nation Group Psychotherapy Institute at the Washington School of Psychiatry in Washington D.C. in the study of Group Psychotherapy. Mrs. Poe is the past Chair for The National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities (NAEAACLD) Parent Network. Mrs. Poe also served on the board for the Council of Parents, Advocates, and Attorney's (COPAA) where she helped develop strategic goals to address the needs of minorities within the organization. Mrs. Poe also served as the Co-Chair for the Social Racial Equity Committee where she developed, created, and implemented activities to ensure the needs of Black and Brown Children were addressed and respected within the COPAA organization. Ms. Poe is a past guest trainer for the Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT) through the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) on the topic of Race and Special Education. Mrs. Poe is the current President of the Board for the national special education not- profit called the National Allies for Parents in Special Education (NAPSE). She has also been selected to present at this year's 49th Annual National Black Child Development Institute Conference (NBCI) on "What the African American Community needs to know about special education law."

Ms. Poe is the mother, two boys with learning disabilities ages 23 and 21. Ms. Poe prides herself on understanding the struggles that parents face when dealing with special education issues. Ms. Poe is diagnosed with ADHD and learning disabilities and received special education services in as a child!


Pat Popp, Ph.D.Patricia A. Popp, Ph.D. is the state coordinator for the education of homeless children and youth in Virginia and a clinical associate professor at the William & Mary School of Education. In addition, she serves as a Virginia Department of Education liaison to the Virginia Department of Social Services to ensure educational stability for children and youth in foster care. Prior to joining the university in 1995, Pat was a teacher for students with learning disabilities. Her research interests include students experiencing homelessness and high mobility, students with disabilities, and teacher quality. Her publications include Students on the Move, Reading on the Go, and Effective Teaching and At-Risk/Highly Mobile Students for NCHE and West Meets East for ASCD. She has presented at international, national, and state level conferences in the areas of highly mobile and homeless students, classroom management, and teacher effectiveness. Pat is a past president of the Virginia Council for Learning Disabilities, past president of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), and past chair of the NAEHCY Education Scholarship Fund.



Bill Reichhardt, Esquire William B. Reichhardt (Bill) is now retired from the full time practice of law and lives in Annapolis, Maryland. He received a B.A. from the University of Virginia (1971); a M.Ed. degree in counseling from the University of Virginia (1976) and a J.D. from George Mason University School of Law (1983). He has been admitted to practice in Virginia and Maryland.

His current efforts are limited to pro-bono work in Maryland and consulting and lecturing regarding special education and school law. For over 33 years, Mr. Reichhardt litigated at the trial and all appellate levels of the Virginia State and Federal courts. He has represented parents in special education due process hearings and Federal Court appeals.

In August 2006, Mr. Reichhardt was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia to serve on the Virginia State Bar Professionalism Course Faculty where he served for six years. Bill is a co-author of the Juvenile Law and Practice Handbook published by the Virginia Law Foundation and he has lectured extensively on topics related to school discipline, the rights of children, special education, criminal defense practice i juvenile court, and the laws of child abuse and neglect. He is the 2010 recipient of the 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.



Valerie Slater, AttorneyValerie Slater is an Attorney/RISE for Youth Coalition Coordinator in the JustChildren Program at Legal Aid Justice Center. Valerie joined Legal Aid’s JustChildren Program in 2016 as a juvenile justice attorney and coordinator for the RISE for Youth Coalition. Previously, Valerie worked at Virginia’s protection and advocacy agency representing juvenile justice involved youth and youth with disabilities with issues related to special education, transition, conditions of confinement, and access to services. Valerie earned her B.A. from Colorado State University and her law degree from the University of Richmond.



Dr. Ann Van SkiverDr. Annie VanSkiver loves working with individuals and families through the assessment process to help them go from "what's wrong?" to "what do we do now?" Dr. VanSkiver specializes in diagnostic evaluations and assessments for autism, learning disabilities, social-emotional concerns, giftedness, ADHD, and other assessments often necessary to assist young adults and children with getting the accommodations and assistance they need to be successful. She is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and has been a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the state of Virginia since 2013.



Jaime Vzquez-BernierJaime L. Vázquez-Bernier holds a BA from Stony Brook University (SUNY-1988), with a double major in International Relations and Comparative Politics & Latin American Literature, and a Minor in Latin American History. Subsequently, he obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law in 1991, and a Master of Laws (LLM) from Georgetown University Law Center in 1995. Jaime has worked as Law Clerk for the Hon. Antonio Negron-Barcia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (ret.), Assistant Solicitor General of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and many years in the private practice of law. He returned to the Government (as Under Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, Advisor to the Governor in Labor Relations, and
Assistant Executive Director for Hotel Development of the Tourism Company).Iin 2008, Jaime refocused his career and involved himself in counseling and representing parents and their children with special needs before the Department of Education. Jaime is an ISEA Alumni (2013) and a participant of ISEA Alumni conferences (2015, 2017, 2018). After ISEA’s first alumni reunion in 2015, Jaime refocused one hundred percent of his work to & with special education students and their parents. He worked to empower them to self-advocate effectively, engaging in training them while serving as their consultant, advisor, and advocate. His focus was at the school and district level, instead of due-process hearings, to obtain the needed educational and related services without litigation. Jaime founded Special Education Advocacy Center L3C, a public benefit corporation, aimed at providing orientation, training, advice, and advocacy to
low-income special education students and their parents.



Raymond VillarealRaymond Villereal graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior and earned his M.Ed. in School Psychology from the College of William & Mary in 2019. Raymond's passions are helping individuals with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, emotional and behavioral disorders, and individuals from underserved communities. As a Navy veteran, Raymond strives to continue his service to others by providing evidence-based assessments and psychological services to military families. Raymond is currently continuing his education at William & Mary to eventually become a Nationally Certified School Psychologist.


Pam Wright from WrightslawPam 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: 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 - 2018. 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. Pam designed and built several special education advocacy sites including Wrightslaw.com, Fetaweb.com, and the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities. Pam and Pete Wright provide special education law and advocacy training for parents, advocates, attorneys, educators, and others who are working to ensure that children with disabilities received quality special education programs.

For three semesters, as Adjunct Faculty, Pete and Pam Wright taught "Special Education Law" at the William & Mary School of Law in order to assist with the creation of their Special Education Law Clinic (PELE). They now teach at the week-long Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) Clinic at the Law School each summer.




Peter W.D. Wright, Esquire 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.

Pete attended Washington, DC public schools from Kindergarten through the eleventh grade at which time he was maintaining a "D" average. He then attended Moses Brown School in Providence RI where, as a condition of entry, he repeated the eleventh grade. In his senior year, he was co-captain of the football team and was "All New England" in football and track. He then attended Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA. 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 where he earned 30 credit hours toward a Master's Degree in Psychology. However, in 1975 Pete then shifted his focus and enolled in law school. In 1977, Pete graduated from T. C. Williams Law School at the University of Richmond. After passing the February, 1978 Bar Exam Pete became licensed to practice law in Virginia in April, 1978, is a member of the Virginia Bar in good standing and remains licensed to this date.

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.

In 2005, while the SCOTUS, Schaffer v. Weast, special education burden of proof case was pending, the National Council on Disability (www.nce.gov) contracted with Pete Wright to prepare a "Policy Paper" for submission to the Court as a part of their role being the federal agency concerned with national issues regarding disabilities. The "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Burden of Proof: On Parents or Schools?" was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on July 25, 2005 and is located on Wrightslaw at: https://www.wrightslaw.com/ncd/wright.burdenproof.pdf

On January 5, 2017, Pete Wright trained approximately 200 Office of Civil Rights staff attorneys and staff investigators about the interrelationship between IDEA, Section 504, and ADA.

Pete is the co- author of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law (1999), Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd edition (2005) and Wrightslaw: All About IEPs, Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments (2014) and the Wrightslaw Year in Review Series - Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2018 -2015. 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).

For three semesters, as Adjunct Faculty, Pete and Pam Wright taught "Special Education Law" at the William & Mary School of Law in order to assist with the creation of their Special Education Law Clinic (PELE). They now teach at the week-long Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) Clinic at the Law School each summer.


Meet the ISEA 2019 Graduates l View the Slideshow

W&M Law School IEA 2019

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

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Created: 08/31/19
Revised: 10/15/19

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