2016 WAVE Conference Presenters

Norm Ames
Norm Ames currently serves as the Associate Director of TAESE – the center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education. He is responsible for the successful management of numerous state and local level contracted projects that focus on special education program improvement. Norm provides technical assistance, consultation and facilitation for educational agencies across a wide spectrum of topics within the special education environment. Prior to his time at TAESE, Mr. Ames worked in the public education system for more than 15 years as a director of special education, school administrator, and school psychologist. Mr. Ames has more than 20 years’ experience working with students with disabilities, families, IEP teams, and supporting agencies such as VR, IHEs, and advocacy groups. Mr. Ames and his wife are the parents of a child with autism who is currently living the “reality” of transitioning to postsecondary life which helps bring a personal perspective to his professional expertise.

Felicia Arce, M.Ed.
Felicia Arce, M.Ed., is an Assistive Technology Program Specialist for Wyoming Institute for
Disabilities. Her current focus is developing demonstrations of assistive technology and other technology devices for individuals with disabilities, educators, and members of the community. She also works on the development, implementation and oversees the Wyoming Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Clearinghouse which includes coordination of AEM services for K-12 students and educators in Wyoming.

Erin Auerbach
Erin Auerbach joined Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC in May 2010.  Ms. Auerbach assists her clients with various federal education matters, including fiscal and programmatic compliance under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, and the Carl. D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.  Ms. Auerbach also works with clients on the requirements of the Uniform Grants Guidance and other administrative regulations, such as the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) and the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). Additionally, Ms. Auerbach actively represents state and local educational agencies as well as postsecondary institutions in the resolution of adverse audit and program review determinations. Ms. Auerbach also represents local charter school clients in due process litigation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Auerbach served as a law clerk at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.  During law school, Ms. Auerbach worked at the Public Defender’s Service for the District of Columbia, Civil Legal Services Division where she assisted in advocating for juvenile clients under the IDEA.  Ms. Auerbach also worked for the U.S. House of Representatives, Office of the General Counsel where she aided in representing the institutional interests of the House. Ms. Auerbach received her Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Maryland in 2004 and graduated from American University, Washington College of Law in 2009.  Ms. Auerbach is admitted to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Dr. Tessie Rose Bailey
Dr. Tessie Rose Bailey is an Adjunct Professor at Montana State University Billings (MSUB) and a Senior Technical Assistance Consultant at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). For AIR, she provides technical assistance and consultation for the Center on Response to Intervention (RTI), CEEDAR Center, and National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI), state departments of education, and local districts. Additional responsibilities include supporting research, product development, and technical assistance for states and districts in the area of RTI. She has extensive experience in RTI in a variety of capacities. She served as Co-coordinator of Technical Assistance for the National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI) and collaborated on the development of numerous national and state RTI/MTSS technical assistance resources. While a professor at Montana State University Billings (MSUB), she collaborated with local districts to develop a pre-service teacher preparation program in RTI/MTSS for which she was honored with the 2014 Montana State University Billings Faculty Excellence Award. She has coordinated several MTSS/RTI grants and contracts, including facilitation of a statewide MTSS Community of Practice, evaluating the efficacy of multi-tiered systems of supports (MTSS) implementation, developing model demonstration sites in progress monitoring, supporting RTI implementation in rural schools, and scaling up RTI/MTSS. As a result, she has provided direct MTSS/RTI support and professional development to teachers and leaders in 39 states. She completed her PhD at the University of Utah in special education and post-doctoral work in RTI/MTSS at Lehigh University’s Center for Promoting Research to Practice.

Mike Bender
Mike Bender joined Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC in April 2013. Mr. Bender assists clients with federal grants management and various federal education programs, including the Individuals with Disability Education Act, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the Higher Education Act, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  Mr. Bender also represents charter schools in IDEA due process administrative hearings.  Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Bender worked as a policy analyst with the Maryland Department of Legislative Services in Annapolis, Maryland. During law school, Mr. Bender interned with the San Diego Unified School District, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the Juvenile Court of the San Diego Superior Court, the Children’s Advocacy Institute, and the University of San Diego’s Special Education Clinic. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Bender taught English to children in the Republic of Korea and was employed as an audit associate by KPMG, LLP in Washington, D.C. Mr. Bender graduated from the University of Richmond with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting in May 2004 and received his J.D. from the University of San Diego in May 2010. Mr. Bender is a member of the bars of Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia and has a CPA license from the state of Virginia.

Tricia Berg
Tricia Berg has been a national and international education consultant since 2011. As an education consultant focusing on developing evidence-based sustainable systems, she has provided professional development and coaching support to educational organizations, districts, and schools in the area of reading, math, Special Education, Response to Intervention (RTI), data-driven decision making, and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS). Tricia started her career as a special education teacher, working with students with emotional/behavioral disabilities.  As her skills grew, the district assigned the role of behavior specialist/PBIS coordinator.  As such, she trained and coached her colleagues on schoolwide, classroom, and individual support systems for elementary, middle, and high school.  Eventually she began to work on research projects in the areas of mathematics intervention, and positive behavior intervention supports.  She holds a special education, general education, and administration license and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oregon in Special Education with an emphasis on the relation between behaviors and academics, effective professional development practices, and the development of effective interventions for students.

Wayne Callender
Wayne Callender is an author and national RTI Consultant who has worked at the State, district and building levels improving educational outcomes. Wayne currently trains and advises educators across the country in the implementation of systems for school improvement, both on-site and through nationwide seminars. In addition to being featured as keynote speaker at over a dozen state and national conferences, Wayne has authored numerous articles, chapters and training books on the implementation of a School-Wide Approach to RTI and improved instructional practices.

Brooke D. Carson, Ph.D.
Brooke D. Carson, Ph.D., is the state autism specialist for the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) where she is the ASD State Coordinator for the Colorado Autism Education Network. In this role, Dr. Carson oversees a statewide initiative for developing model demonstration sites in school districts around Colorado and coordinates the Autism Leadership Cadre, which includes autism professionals across the state employed to carry out CDE initiatives, as well as professional development in the area of ASD. Carson has held positions as a state and district autism specialist, district coordinator, university author and instructor, project director for national autism grants.

Terri Dawson
Terri Dawson has been the Director of Parent Information Center (PIC) and the Parent Education Network (PEN) since founding PIC in 1991. Terri has a BSW and MPA from the University of Wyoming.  After her son Ted was born with Down Syndrome, she began the 30-year journey of supporting families to help them understand special education and to partner with schools for greater school success. After 7 years of working with families of children with disabilities, she expanded with PEN to support schools and families of all children to increase meaningful family engagement—not just at IEPs. She is a passionate advocate for all kids.  She and her husband live in Buffalo, WY, have three adult children, and two grandsons.  Terri enjoys traveling, reading, gardening and spending time with family.

Theron (Bill) East, Ed.D.
Theron (Bill) East, Ed.D. began his work at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) in 1998 as Deputy Executive Director and was appointed Executive Director a year later. Previous to this national organization role, Dr. East served in several roles in the Alabama State Department of Education including State Director of Special Education. Other prior experiences include work within the state special education division as curriculum supervisor, an adaptive physical education supervisor; unit director in the Alabama mental health system; and teacher in the K-12 education system. East currently serves as Co-Principal Investigator for the Center on Online Learning for Students with Disabilities, and he represents the organization as a partner in the National Center for Systemic Improvement and the Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) Center. Dr. East is recognized as a national leader in education by stakeholders involved in both special and general education. His expertise, years of experience, and connections to many partners important to helping states and local districts improve student outcomes and IDEA compliance make him well-suited for his role at NASDSE.

Robert Frantum-Allen
Robert Frantum-Allen is the Director of Student Services for Adams 14 School District in Commerce City, Colorado. He was a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing for 22 years, general education teacher for 6 years, and is currently finishing up his 9th year in special education leadership, primarily focusing on effective instruction for students who have a disability, especially print and language based disabilities. In his free time you will see him at the Denver Zoo where he has been a docent for 16 years.

Marilyn Friend, Ph.D.
Marilyn Friend, Ph.D., has spent her career as a general education teacher, special education teacher, researcher, professor, administrator, teacher educator, and staff developer. She is Professor Emerita of Education in the Department of Specialized Education Services at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and she is Past President of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. Currently, she is President of Marilyn Friend, Inc. Dr. Friend has consulted with school professionals nationally and internationally (more than 3500 presentations and projects in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia) as they collaborate to educate their students, assisting them to create classroom partnerships through co-teaching, to form productive and efficient work teams, and to foster inclusive practices.  She is the author or co-author of three widely used college textbooks on special education; a variety of co-teaching materials for teachers and administrators; more than 60 articles about collaboration, inclusive practices, and co-teaching; and a highly popular video series on co-teaching and other inclusive practices.  

Elena M. Gallegos
Elena M. Gallegos has practiced law with Walsh Gallegos for more than 25 years. A former special education teacher, her practice emphasizes special education litigation and student issues. In addition to practicing law, Elena served as a Program Specialist with the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center (MPRRC) from 2000 to 2005. This resource was funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to provide technical assistance to state departments of education in ten states including New Mexico and the Bureau of Indian Education. Having lived and worked in Austin for many years, Elena returned to her New Mexico roots to open the firm’s New Mexico office. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Education Law Association (formerly the National Organization on Legal Problems of Education), and is a nationally-known speaker on issues of school law.

Melisa Genaux
Melisa Genaux works with school districts across the country in the areas of classroom and behavior management, Autism Spectrum Disorders, social skills training, effective consultation practices for itinerant staff, and special education legal/compliance issues. She presents at conferences and workshops for teachers, school administrators, related services staff, and parents. In addition, she provides consultation services on individual student case management and district program development. She has worked as a special education supervisor and has served as a consultant to the Utah State Office of Education. She has written and produced training videos for the education and law publishing company, LRP Publications, and is a speaker at the LRP Institute on Legal Issues of Educating Students with Disabilities.

Dr. Jane Groff
Dr. Jane Groff has served as the Director of the Kansas Parent Information Resource Center (KPIRC) for nine years. While supervising all KPIRC priorities, Dr. Groff provides professional development and technical assistance on family engagement in education to Kansas districts and schools. She also provides trainings for families on parent leadership, parent advocacy and family engagement in education. Jane is a Family Engagement Resource Provider (FERP) focusing on the engagement of families in 21st Century Community Learning Center in the Central Region. She is a certified teacher in early childhood education, elementary education, and special education K-12. She taught for 25 years in both general and special education classrooms. Jane has earned a Masters degree in Education and a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Kansas. Jane’s passion is to increase meaningful family engagement in all schools.

Canyon Hardesty, M.S.
Canyon Hardesty, M.S., is the Coordinator of Community Education for the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities at the University of Wyoming. In this position, she oversees programs, training, and technical assistance related to health, education, early intervention and assistive technology.

Jason Hillman
Jason Hillman graduated with a degree in elementary education from Dickinson State University in Dickinson, ND and a Master’s Degree in school administration from The University of Wyoming.  He has spent over a decade studying and researching leadership strategies, and has a comprehensive understanding of school culture and school improvement. Most importantly, Jason can explain in real context how he turns theory into practice within his own school. The examples and strategies he shares will have an immediate and substantial impact on schools. His ability to simplify and offer practical viewpoints is invaluable to school districts in this age of accountability.

Darcy Hutchins, Ph.D.
Darcy Hutchins, Ph.D., is the Family Partnership Director for the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). She provides support to districts to increase family engagement, particularly through parent participant on school and district accountability committees.  She also staffs the State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education (SACPIE). Before joining CDE, Dr. Hutchins worked eight years as a Senior Program Facilitator at the National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University. In this role, she provided technical assistance to districts across the country to implement school, family, and community partnership programs. She began her career as a first grade teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools. Dr. Hutchins has conducted several research studies about the impact of school- and district-level leadership on school, family, and community collaboration, as well as evaluation projects. She has multiple book and article publications, including Family Reading Nights (Eye on Education, 2014) and Multicultural Partnerships Involve all Families (Eye on Education, 2012).

Marc Johnson
Marc Johnson is in his 40th year in public education having spent 16 years as a teacher and 7 as a superintendent/principal in a single school district and 14 years in leadership in the Sanger Unified School district, the last eleven as superintendent.  Sanger Unified is in the heart of the Central Valley of California and is a high poverty, high minority, high EL, low parent education district that mirrors the demographics of the region.  During his time in Sanger the District experienced dramatic improvement moving from being one of the lowest performing 98 districts in California to a district that has consistently ranked in the top 10% in annual achievement gains.  The foundation of this improvement was built on the shift to Professional Learning Communities as a district and the development of a collaborative culture focused on student learning.  Although Marc retired as Superintendent in 2013 he continues to serve school districts as the co-director of the Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute at Fresno State and is an Associate and Author with Solution Tree.

Laura E. Knittle
Laura E. Knittle is an associate in the Education Law Practice Group at Franczek Radelet P.C. Laura focuses her practice in all areas of education law. She has experience in student discipline and special education, including due process matters, discipline hearings, and the development of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Prior to joining the firm, Laura served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Ruben Castillo of the U.S. District Court of Northern District of Illinois. While at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, she served as president of the Education Law and Policy Society. She was also a staff writer for Loyola Public Interest Law Reporter and a member of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court team. After attending The University of Georgia, Laura participated in Teach for America as a second grade teacher and received the Hickory Grove Elementary School First Year Teacher of the Year 2008-2009 Award.

Patrice Cunniff Linehan, Ed.D.
Patrice Cunniff Linehan, Ed.D. joined the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) in 1997 and is currently working as a technical assistance facilitator for the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) at NASDSE.  Through her work at NCSI at NASDSE, she supports six states seeking to engage a range of stakeholders as partners in implementing their State Systemic Improvement Plans (SSIP) focused on improving social emotional outcomes. The strategy of inviting groups with similar interests, concerns and goals to undertake shared work is called Leading by Convening, and is a culmination of sixteen years of learning and collective action pursued by 50+ national professional organizations and family groups affiliated through the IDEA Partnership at NASDSE. At the IDEA Partnership Project, Patrice specialized in convening and cultivating communities of practice on a range of issues related to improving results for children and youth with disabilities (e.g., universal design for learning, response to intervention and multi-tiered systems of support, working across general and special education, and cradle through college and career). Before joining NASDSE, Patrice worked with research and program evaluation teams at Harvard University, Jobs for the Future, and The George Washington University, where she received her doctoral degree in 2010 from the Department of Teacher Preparation and Special Education. She also taught English language learners for ten years, most recently in inclusive classrooms at the middle school level in Alexandria, VA.

Barbara Locke, B.S., A.T.P.
Barbara Locke, B.S., A.T.P., is an Assistive Technology Specialist with the outreach services for the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities Assistive Technology Resource Center. She has worked for WIND since July 2007 and continues to be based in Lander.  Barbara is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. Barbara helps to implement the use of assistive technology with Wyoming school districts, developmental preschools, and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation clients. She also provides consultations, device demonstrations, and training within the topics of implementation of assistive technology in educational or vocational settings. Before working with WATR, Barbara served as a behavior analyst specialist, case manager and program manager at the WY Life Resource Center (WLRC). After leaving the WLRC, she taught preschool in a fully-integrated, computer-based classroom in Ft. Washakie. She later served as the director of Region 14 of the Developmental Preschools, where she also acted as grant coordinator for a federal grant project awarded to the Eastern Shoshone Tribe from the Department of Indian Education. The project worked in conjunction with WIND to develop assessment and implementation processes for assistive technology in early childhood settings

Sheldon Loman, Ph.D.
Sheldon Loman, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of special education at Portland State University. His research interests include functional behavioral assessment and interventions for students with emotional and behavioral disorders, inclusive education, and School-wide PositiveBehavioral Interventions and Supports. Dr. Loman has co-authored the Basic FBA to BSP training manual and presentations that has been used by more than 10 states as a model for training school-based personnel to conduct FBA.  Prior to his work at PSU, he worked with an inner-city school district to systematically include students with disabilities (including students with emotional and behavioral disorders) in general education settings. Dr. Loman has provided training and consultation nationally to schools and school districts on the implementation of SW-PBIS across all three tiers.

Julia Martin
Julia Martin joined Brustein & Manasevit in January of 2011 as its Legislative Director.  She works to keep clients updated on federal legislative and regulatory activities.  She also assists clients in developing and accomplishing legislative and policy goals that allow them to more effectively implement federal education programs. To provide this assistance, Ms. Martin monitors all federal education and workforce training legislation and regulatory changes in Congress and among the federal agencies.  In addition to staying in contact with members of Congress and officials at the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services, Ms. Martin also maintains contacts among the various education groups in the Washington D.C. advocacy community.   Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Martin served as a LegislativeAssistant for Congressman Gregorio Sablan, whom she staffed on issues related to his membership on the Committee on Education and Labor, including education, child nutrition, labor, health, and family issues.  Ms. Martin also worked as an Education Policy Advisor for the Committee on Education and Labor under Chairman George Miller, where she assisted on various education and civil rights issues as well as major legislation like the HigherEducation Opportunity Act and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.  Her responsibilities at the Committee also included consulting with school districts, institutions of higher education, advocacy groups and other stakeholders on draft legislation, as well as working with other staff to organize Committee hearings. Ms. Martin graduated from Georgetown University in 2005 and received her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School in 2008.  Ms. Martin is admitted to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Deborah Mattison
Deborah Mattison has represented persons with disabilities, with a concentration in special education cases, for the past thirty-six (36) years. She graduated from Antioch School of Law in Washington D.C. in 1980, and was admitted to the Michigan Bar in 1980. Also in 1980, Ms. Mattison began working with the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc., where she served in a number of positions, including as the Legal Services Director. While at MP&A, Ms. Mattison practiced exclusively in the area of complex civil rights litigation relative to the rights of persons with disabilities; and, she was lead counsel in a number of systemic impact cases. Additionally, while at MP&A, Ms. Mattison taught a clinical course within Michigan University’s School of Law regarding special education law. In 1993, Ms. Mattison moved to Alabama and was admitted to the Alabama Bar. That same year she joined the firm of Wiggins, Childs, Pantazis, Fisher, Goldfarb (then called Wiggins and Childs) where she is currently a Shareholder. Since joining the firm, Ms. Mattison has continued to represent persons with disabilities, including litigating the rights of persons with disabilities under the aforementioned statutes. Beginning in 1984 and continuing, Ms. Mattison has frequently lectured at numerous national, state and local seminars, generally regarding disability law, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400, et. seq., Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 794 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et. seq. Ms. Mattison has also published articles regarding In 1990, Ms. Mattison received the Distinguished Contributions to NonAdversive Behavioral Intervention, by the Association of Persons with Severe Handicaps (TASH). In 1993, she was recognized by the Michigan Legislature for my advocacy work on behalf of persons with disabilities in Michigan. See, House Resolution No. 75 and Concurrent Senate Resolution No. 19651993. Ms. Mattison is a member of the Michigan State Bar, the Alabama State Bar, the Eleventh Circuit Bar and the United States Supreme Court Bar.

Dr. Adena Miller
Dr. Adena Miller, Client Solutions Consultant at McREL, is a licensed school administrator, elementary and special education teacher. Dr. Miller’s experience encompasses teaching and coaching learners of all ages, preschool through adult, and implementing comprehensive school reform efforts at the state, district and school level. With expertise in implementation of Response to Instruction & Intervention (RtI), Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), data teams, standards-based instruction and intervention, differentiated instruction, and providing professional learning and coaching for teachers and school district leaders, she has a strong record of success with supporting adult learners to improve outcomes for students.

Dallas C. Myers II, M.S.
Dallas C. Myers II, M.S. (Dal) is the Director of Special Education at Fremont County School District #25, and has been in this position for the past six years. Prior to this, he held positions in Secondary Administration, as a high school science teacher, and as a high school Ag teacher. He has been a Crucial Conversations trainer since 2010.

Dr. Douglas Petersen
Dr. Douglas Petersen is an Associate Professor in the Division of Communication Disorders at the University of Wyoming. His research is driven by a desire to greatly increase the prevalence of academic success for all children, including those who are culturally and linguistically diverse. Specifically, his research involves developing, validating, and testing methods of prevention, assessment, and intervention for decoding, spoken language, and written language. His work is centered around the principles of learning potential and modifiability, which has resulted in dynamic assessment measures, longer term progress monitoring measures, and multi-tiered systems of learning support. His work focuses on turning the complex arena of language into simple, efficient, and effective narrative-based assessment and intervention procedures.

Nancy Reder, MSW, JD
Nancy Reder, MSW, JD, has served as NASDSE’s deputy executive director and director of government relations for 16 years.  She has been an advocate and ‘public policy wonk’ for more than 30 years working on policy issues affecting children and families, with a primary focus on education, economic matters and civil rights. Nancy worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, a child welfare worker and Title I school social worker prior to beginning her public policy career. She served as the Director of Social Policy at the League of Women Voters Education Fund and then as a senior staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families. Nancy received her B.A. and M.S.W. degrees from the University of Michigan and her law degree from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law.

Ray Reutzel
Ray Reutzel is the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Wyoming.  Previous to his current position, he was the Emma Eccles Jones Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair of Early Literacy Education at Utah State University for 14 years. He is the author of more than 225 published research reports in top tier research journals, articles, books, book chapters, and monographs. He is the author of the best selling textbook on the teaching of reading, Teaching Children to Read: The Teacher Makes the Difference, 8th Edition published by Pearson Education, Boston, MA.  He has received more than 17 million dollars in research/professional development grant funding. He has been active in securing legislative and private foundations gifts in excess of 25 million dollars. He is the past Editor of – Literacy Research and Instruction, and The Reading Teacher and the current Executive Editor of the Journal of Educational Research. He received the 1999 A.B. Herr Award and the 2013 ALER Laureate Award from the Association of Literacy Researchers and Educators. Ray served as President of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers –ALER from 2006- 2007. He was presented the John C. Manning Public School Service Award from the International Reading Association in May 2007 in Toronto, Canada and served as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Reading Association from 2007-2010. Ray was a member of the Literacy Research Association’s Board of Directors from 2012-2015. Dr. Reutzel is a member of the International Reading Hall of Fame and was elected to serve as President of the Reading Hall of Fame in 2016.

Aaron Stabel, M.A.
Aaron Stabel, M.A., is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst based in Truckee, California. As a behavioral and educational consultant for school districts and families, he assesses and implements interventions for children with ASD, ADHD, emotional disturbances, and other developmental disabilities across the United States.  Aaron also worked at the UC Davis MIND Institute consulting on applied research within public school systems, most recently for the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism. Mr. Stabel has extensive experience and knowledge in the area of Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS) and Response to Intervention (RtI) programs. His acquired skills allow him to teach how interventions can apply to everyone in education who is involved with managing problem behaviors all across school settings.

Dr. George Sugai
Dr. George Sugai is Professor and Carole J. Neag (“Knee-ag”) Endowed Chair in the Neag School of Education, Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. His research and practice interests include school-wide positive behavior support, behavioral disorders, applied behavior analysis, and classroom and behavior management, and school discipline. He has been a classroom teacher, program director, personnel preparer, and applied researcher. Currently, he is co-director of the OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, research scientist in the UConn Center on Behavioral Education and Research, co-director of the OSEP Early Childhood Personnel Center

Dr. Sharon Vaughn
Dr. Sharon Vaughn, Manuel J. Justiz Endowed Chair in Education, is the Executive Director of The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, an organized research unit at The University of Texas at Austin.  She is the recipient of numerous awards including the CEC research award, the AERA SIG distinguished researcher award, The University of Texas Distinguished faculty award and outstanding Researcher Award, and the Jeannette E. Fleischner Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of LD from CEC. She is the author of more than 35 books and 250 research articles. Several of these research articles have won awards: one the A.J. Harris IRA award for best article published and another the School Psychology award for best article.  She is currently Principal Investigator on several Institute for Education Sciences, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and U.S. Department of Education research grants.  She works as a senior adviser to the National Center on Intensive Interventions and has more than six articles that have met the What Works Clearing House Criteria for their intervention reports.  She currently has 20 of her previous doctoral students who are faculty at universities across the United States including University of Colorado, Florida State University, University of Maryland, and University of Virginia.

Jim Walsh
Jim Walsh graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1975 and began his career in Texas school law by serving as the attorney for the Region XIII Legal Service Program, beginning in 1979.  In 1983, Mr. Walsh, Joe Hairston and Tom Doyal founded the firm, now known as Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo and Kyle P.C., to focus on representing Texas public schools.  He is the co-author of The Educator’s Guide to Texas School Law and the author of The Common Sense Guide to Special Education Law.  For many years he authored the “Law Dawg” column in the Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest, for which he also served as publisher and managing editor.  He is the author of a monthly newsletter on special education, This Just In… and is former editor in chief and still a regular columnist for Texas School Business magazine.  He serves on the Advisory Board for LRP Publications and the Board of Directors for the National School Board Association Council of School Attorneys.  He has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for at least five years for his work in the practice area of Education Law.  Mr. Walsh has taught school law at the graduate and/or undergraduate levels at Texas State, Baylor and St. Edward’s.  He has conducted inservice training sessions at every Education Service Center in the state of Texas and at hundreds of school districts.  Mr. Walsh is a highly sought-after speaker in Texas and throughout the nation, and the author of a daily blog on school law issues at www.edlawdawg.com.

Wendy Warren
Wendy Warren is the University of Wyoming ECHO project coordinator, and in this position she coordinates University of Wyoming ECHO networks for building the capacity to meet the needs of educators in Wyoming.  Her work includes facilitating stakeholder discussions, planning and launching networks for specific education and disability related topics for professional development needs, and the evaluation of University of Wyoming ECHO network outcomes.

Stephanie Weaver
Stephanie Weaver is a principal partner in Pingora Consulting, LLC.  She offers over twelve years of experience in strategic planning, fiscal controls and program improvement.  Business finance and data analysis served as the foundation for Ms. Weaver’s career.  This expertise proved invaluable as she followed her heart and her career into the field of education.  Now considered an expert and an indispensable resource on matters pertaining to educational leadership, Ms. Weaver is regularly engaged to work with school districts and states in programmatic finance, data analysis, legal compliance, and systems management.  

Maria Wilcox
Maria Wilcox currently serves as the Director of Professional Services for Rethink, working with districts throughout the western part of the United States. Her previous classroom teaching experience covers a wide range of student abilities including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Emotional Behavior Disorders, and Intellectual Disabilities in a variety of school sizes from large, urban areas to small, rural towns. Maria has dedicated her teaching career to developing plans, systems, and supports to ensure that students are fully-included in both school and community while being prepared for the most independent and successful life beyond school by utilizing collaborative planning teams and involving all stakeholders in the student’s program development. During her time in public education, she served on several statewide committees and task forces focusing on a variety of areas in education such as transition planning and teacher evaluation processes. Prior to life in the public school classroom, Ms. Wilcox worked extensively with youth in outdoor education settings teaching leadership seminars, survival and adventure courses, and conservation skills. Maria graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in special education and licenses in both elementary and K-12 special education. She is currently pursuing her graduate work as a special education intervention specialist with a focus in autism and applied behavior analysis at the University of Northern Colorado. In her spare time, she enjoys all of the outdoor pursuits that Colorado has to offer.

Lacy Wood
Lacy Wood is a principal TA consultant for American Institutes for Research (AIR). She has over 16 years of experience in family and community engagement and over 18 years of experience with support systems for school improvement. Currently she leads the Family Engagement State Leaders Network, a cadre of SEA family engagement staff across the United States, providing resources and capacity building supports for SEA family engagement initiatives. Wood also manages the Illinois Quality Afterschool Program, providing oversight for professional development, and technical assistance to all 21st CCLC grantees in Illinois and serves as lead for STEM out-of -school time activities in the Austin AIR office. Prior to the SEDL-AIR merger, she was the director of development at SEDL and the program manager for the Afterschool, Family, and Community unit at SEDL. Wood managed SEDL’s work with the National PIRC Coordination Center, which provided technical assistance, professional development, information resources, and performance reporting support for 62 Parent Information Resource Center grantees in every U.S. state and territory. She currently serves as a founding board member for the National Association of Family, School and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) and sits on the policy council for NAFSCE. Ms. Wood has extensive experience working with federal grantee programs and supporting SEA staff to implement federal policies and initiatives. Her expertise also includes expanded learning opportunities; education reform and school improvement tools; dissemination and knowledge utilization; research-based instructional resources; program development; proposal planning, development, and coordination; and business development. Wood coordinated the production of SEDL’s five research syntheses that examine key issues in the field of family and community engagement.

Dr. Naomi Zigmond
Dr. Naomi Zigmond is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Instruction and Learning, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh. She has been an active special education researcher and teacher for nearly 50 years. She has led the implementation of a full inclusion model of service delivery for students with learning disabilities in four elementary schools in Pennsylvania (Project MELD), and has also spearheaded a second model demonstration project documenting the implementation of an RTI model in a set of significantly under-resourced and underachieving schools in one school district in Western Pennsylvania.  Dr. Zigmond has worked closely with the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) and local school districts to implement progress monitoring systems in reading and math in elementary and middle school grades. Additionally, she has conducted several evaluation studies for the PA Bureau of Special Education. From 2003 to 2009 she co-directed the External Evaluation of Pennsylvania’s Reading First initiative.  Most recently, Zigmond has led a team of researchers and practitioners in the development, distribution, scoring, reporting, and validating of the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment, the Pennsylvania statewide alternate assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities. In 1997, Dr. Zigmond received the Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, and in 2008, she was awarded the highest honor that can be bestowed on a faculty member, promotion to the rank of Distinguished Professor of Education, the first (and only) faculty member in the history of the University of Pittsburgh, School of Education to achieve this rank. In 2013, she was honored by the Division for Learning Disabilities of CEC with the Jeannette E. Fleischner Career Leadership Award for advancing the field of learning disabilities through advocacy and research.