Terrie A. Rymer COPAA 2013 Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Educational Advocacy Award Recipient
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Posted by: Denise Marshall
2013 Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Educational Advocacy
The COPAA Board of Directors of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. is pleased to announce COPAA member Terrie A. Rymer as the recipient of the 2013 Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Educational Advocacy on Behalf of Children with Disabilities. The award is given to an individual or group of individuals who have made a particularly exceptional and outstanding contribution to COPAA's primary mission: obtaining high-quality educational services for children with disabilities, and honors the memory of Diane Lipton, a tireless advocate for children with disabilities for over two decades. She began as a parent-advocate on behalf of her own daughter, Chloe, who had been placed in a segregated school, separated from her peers without disabilities by a chain link fence. Diane became an attorney for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), where she championed the civil rights of children with disabilities. Each year we receive many nominations for this prestigious award. This year the Board chose Terrie in recognition of her exceptional and outstanding contribution to obtaining high-quality educational services for children with disabilities.
Terrie served as the director of the Chicago Jewish Federation’s Legal Advocacy Services program for 23 years, having retired just this past December. According to her nominator, a fellow Chicago attorney, Terrie was instrumental in the development of a community of lawyers, advocates, and allied professionals in the Chicago area who are dedicated to ensuring that children receive a free appropriate public education, and she has advised, counseled, and encouraged many professionals working with children and families.
Terrie is particularly known and respected for her commitment to abused and neglected children and to the Orthodox Jewish community, two vulnerable populations in the special education system. She is a skilled negotiator and litigator, and recently won a challenging due process hearing in which she not only obtained an appropriate placement and extensive services for the child, but also was able to craft a way for the parents, both of whom have significant mental health disabilities, to participate in the hearing. Although retired, she will continue to advise and encourage the network of Chicago special education children and family attorneys.
Terrie continues to serve on several community boards, including the Chicago Bar Association’s Mental Health and Disability Law Committee, the Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Mental Health Law, and the Illinois Attorney General’s Disability Rights Bureau.
Terrie's nominator closed with these words: "’Terrie Rymer was the only one willing to help my son; she forced them to provide his IEP with full services. Terrie Rymer gave back to my son something that the school system tried to steal—his hope!’
These accomplishments and more truly embody the intent of the Diane Lipton Award. Please join us in congratulating Terrie. The award will be presented at the COPAA Conference Awards Luncheon in Albuquerque, NM, on Saturday, March 7, 2013.