Much of the day-to-day work of COPAA is achieved through involvement of our member community. COPAA’s richest asset is our diverse and knowledgeable network. We depend on volunteer activities to accomplish our mission. Members are encouraged to contribute their unique skills and talents by serving on one of more of the standing committees.
To join a committee, simply log into your COPAA profile, select the "Members Only" tab, then select "Find a Group", and then "Committee/Workgroups". Click on the name of the committee you wish to join and select "Request Membership" to join. A member of the committee will contact you to welcome you and to provide further instructions.
Current committees include the following:
The Advocates Committee serves as a forum to discuss the needs of COPAA’s special education/disability rights advocates. This committee provides input and direction to the other committees to help steer the activities of COPAA with the needs of advocates in mind. David Beinke, Naomi Grossman, Cynthia Daniels-Hall and Diane Willcutts are Co-Chairs of this committee.
The Amicus Committee considers requests to participate in or draft an amicus brief in those cases that present an issue or issues that are consistent with the COPAA mission statement and those specifically identified by the Amicus Committee. The issue presented to the court for a decision must have precedential value and the decision of the court should materially affect students with disabilities. The organization is also interested in those cases that have substantive or procedural due process rights violations. The Amicus Committee reviews all timely requests. Please see the Amicus Committee policies for further specifications regarding requests for assistance. Catherine Merino Reisman and Ellen Saideman are the Amicus Committee Co-Chairs.
The Attorney Committee is working to establish a mentoring system for members and initiate a schedule of topical roundtable discussions. Jennifer Laviano and Craig Goodmark Co-Chair this committee.
The Awards Committee is responsible for administering COPAA’s scholarship programs, the Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Educational Advocacy, and other COPAA Awards. Dana Jonson and Jon Zimring Co-Chair this committee.
The Conference Committee is responsible for the program design of the annual conference and the logistics of how to make the conference run smoothly and effectively. The committee meets by conference call throughout the year on at least a monthly basis. Tasks of the committee include, among other thing, design of the Pre-Conference Skills Trainings, Recruitment and training of Pre-Conference Trainers, design of Request for Proposals, Selection of Proposals, budgeting, location selection and numerous matters relating to logistics. Missy Alexander and Mandy Favaloro Chair the Conference Committee.
The Development Committee is responsible for steering COPAA's revenue and fund development. Maureen van Stone and Carrie Watts Co-Chair this Committee.
The Executive Committee - The Officers of the Board and the Executive Director shall constitute the Executive Committee of the Board. The Board, by resolution passed by a majority of the whole Board, may otherwise designate an Executive Committee or add members to the Executive Committee. At least one member of the Executive Committee shall be an Advocate Member of COPAA.
COPAA’s Current Executive Committee includes:
Chair – Alexis Casillas, Esq.
Vice Chair – Maureen van Stone, Esq.
Secretary – Mandy Favaloro, Esq.
Treasurer – David Jefferson
Immediate Past Chair - Michele Kule-Korgood, Esq.
At large – Carrie Watts and Jon Zimring, Esq.
The Government Relations Committee participates in public policy matters at the national level, both through participation on the Education Task Force of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, and through additional independent legislative and other activities. Through the work of the Government Relations Committee, COPAA produces position statements regarding issues of importance to its membership and undertakes efforts to ensure that special education laws and policies protect the rights of students and their families to the greatest extent possible. Diane Willcutts and Andrew Feinstein Chair this committee.
The Media Relations Committee is a relatively newly formed committee charged with developing a strategy for public and media relations. Julie Swanson Chairs this committee.
The Membership Committee is comprised of COPAA members from various geographic regions and member categories. The committee works on activities, initiatives and outreach geared towards membership growth, retention and expansion, identifying and addressing the needs of COPAA’s members, and addressing issues related to membership policies and their implementation. Subcommittees are established under the committee as needed to address specific needs, and currently include the Law Student Subcommittee and the Parent Subcommittee. Carrie Watts and Mallory Finnare Co-Chairs.
The Parent Committee is new in 2016. The committee was previously a sub-committee under Membership. Dana Jonson and Elizabeth Ballert are the Co-Chairs and will work with the committee to establish goals and priorities.
The Scholarship Committee administers the restricted Beth Goodman Scholarship Fund on behalf of the Board. Michael Gilberg, Bob Berlow, and Amber Foote Co-Chair this committee.
The Social and Racial Equity Committee focuses on COPAA's commitment to consider fully the intersectionality of disability, race, national origin, ethnic, cultural and/or religious identity, sexual/gender identity/ sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, in our efforts to protect and enforce the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities and their families. David Jefferson is Chair of this committee.
The Training Committee is responsible for developing all trainings outside of the Annual Conference for parents, advocates and attorneys. Recent activities include development of COPAA’s Webinar Series. Past initiatives include the Special Education Advocates Traninig, under a grant from the US Department of Education, in collaboration with the University of Southern California. Eileen Crumm and Mark Kamlieter are Co-Chairs.
Members are encouraged to play an active role in the work of these Committees and workgroups.
Committee and Workgroups are not the only way to volunteer for COPAA. Here are some other ways members can support the work of COPAA:
- Accurately responding to listserv questions
- Posting information on the COPAA Member Forum
- Lead or participate in a topical workgroup on issues of significance to COPAA Members
- Authoring a publication or fact sheet
- Promote membership in COPAA, the COPAA Conference, Webinars, or other events. We believe there is tremendous power in peer-to-peer communication and ask you to spread the word!
Volunteering is a commitment of time. Please review the Volunteer Service Policy to fully understand expectations.
If you are interested in volunteering for COPAA please submit fill out our Contact Form and a member will contact you to discuss.