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Blakemore, Catherine, Board member, 1998-2001

"While IDEA (and its many predecessors) have always had a clear vision and wonderful tools for ensuring that students with disabilities received equal educational opportunities; too often the law is merely a glimmer of possibilities without the strong advocacy of students, parents and their advocates. The advocacy, training and support provided by COPAA and its members is a wonderful means of helping students and families turn that vision into reality."

Dobel, Kathryn, COPAA Chair, 2001-02, Board Member, 1998-2003 

"How can I best describe the early days of COPAA? "Inspiring" and "exhilarating" are the first words that come to mind, and yes there was also a large complement of "frustration." But, for the first time we had available all in one location a committed cadre of individuals from across the nation focused only on the educational rights of students with disabilities. As a side benefit, we would also have a more comfortable alternative to the usual special education conference with school district orientation. No shared podium with, or seat in the audience to listen to, someone talking about the dangers of the holding in your case. No argument over the importance of inclusion and services providing intensive intervention.

Our first national parent advocate and attorney conference and the creation of our dedicated national non-profit Board happened at once over a brief few days. Of course Jim Rosenfeld, our first Executive Director, had long worked on the vision of a national group with parent orientation before the initial Board first met as a group. But, what were we thinking? This sounds like an endeavor calling for many years of preparation to first raise funds for the support staff required to take on this large-scale national effort. Surely this was the job of more than one person or an all-volunteer Board. Instead it was the adrenaline from within and the incredible dedication of our planning group of committed individuals volunteering their time to COPAA that carried us forward.

We soon established an important email list where members could quickly access and share information across the country. This was fairly novel at the time!

I was the second COPAA Chair, beginning my tenure in March of 2001. I had no idea how formidable and exhausting that task would be before I signed on to the job. At the beginning of the 2001 conference, we met in teams at the Capitol to discuss the need for change during the reauthorization process. Of course the reauthorization would be delayed after September 11th, as would our next annual conference, and the reauthorization would take its toll on all of us for the next several years. However, the seeds of COPAA's national presence were planted in Washington in those early days, and the formation of COPAA's committee structure during my tenure provided the forum for a more focused national presence.

I want to acknowledge Matt Cohen, Joyce Ginsburg, Pat Howey, Judith Gran, Bill Dussault and Pete Wright (Sonja Kerr was out with an injury) for their support and assistance on the steering committee we convened at (and after) the 2001 conference, as we met and worked to create the committee format that has helped to carry COPAA forward with strong member support.

I am awed by the many accomplishments that COPAA has worked hard to achieve since that time on behalf of disabled students, especially in the legislative and amicus arenas, and the important allies that COPAA has gained in the process. Over these ten years, individual members have contributed greatly, but it is the collective strength of the membership that has always kept COPAA strong, effective and forward moving. I do not know of a more dedicated membership and all volunteer Board that accomplishes at the level of COPAA.

It is hard work to build a diverse organization, with a national base and a national network, based on the overriding principle that what the collective membership can do for COPAA is critical to the operation of the organization. The COPAA experience has not been easy for all. As with any organization, there are always individuals who find it easier to work in a group format, and there are individuals who can contribute more toward the day-to-day work. The sum of all contributions over these ten years has helped COPAA to grow in a positive way. As a result, COPAAns are now able to come together to celebrate the achievements of the first ten years with a commitment to carry on the mission of COPAA, so that no child with a disability is ever left behind.

It is with fond memories of Diane Lipton and Beth Goodman, who fought hard with us to keep COPAA going during the early formative years, even when they were critically ill, that I celebrate COPAA."

 

1998-2016 Members, Board of Directors
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc.

 

Board Member

Term

 

 

Alexander, Missy

2007-present, Secretary 2010-2011, Vice Chair 2011-2012, Chair 2012-2013

 

Almazan, Selene

2003-2015; Chair 2006-07, Secretary 2007-2009, Treasurer, 2010-2011

 

Archibald, Rose Marie

2006-2008

 

Bateman, Barbara

1998-2000

 

Beinke, David

2012-Present

 

Berlow, Bob

2002-2014

 

Blakemore, Catherine

1998-2001

 

Bruce, Susan

2012 – present Secretary 2014-16

 

Butler, Jessica

2004-2009; Chair 2007-08

 

Byrnes, Wendy

2007-2009

 

Casillas, Alexis

 2013 - present

 

Chewning, Donna

1998-2003, Secretary 1998-1999

 

Cohen, Matthew

1998-2002, 2007-2009, 2015-present

 

Cortiella, Candace

2003-2006

 

Crumm, Eileen

2011-present

  Daniels-Hall, Cynthia
2013-present

 

Diehl, Nancy

1998-2000

 

Dobel, Kathryn

1998-2003; Chair 2001-02

 

Dussault, William

1998-2002; Treasurer 2001-03

 

Ebenstein, Barbara

2003-2007; Chair 2004-05

 

Favaloro, Mandy

2012-present

 

Feinstein, Andrew

2011-present

 

Gilhool, Thomas

1998-2001

 

Ginsberg, Joyce

1998-2005; Secretary 2000-05

 

Goodman, Beth

1998-2003

 

Gran, Judith

1998-2008; Chair 2002-04

 

Grossman, Naomi

2006-2008

 

Gudger, Sharon

2009-present

 

Hakola, Stewart

1998-2001

 

Hickman, Frank

2001-present

 

Holt, Teresa

2004-2008

 

Howey, Pat

1998-2003

 

Hughes, Ginny

2003-04

 

Jonson, Dana

2012 – present; Secretary 2013-14,Treasurer 2014-16

 

Kamleiter, Mark

2002-present

 

Kerr, Sonja

1999-2004; 2008-2015; Chair 2000-01

 

Klebanoff, Howard

1998-2001

 

Kule-Korgood, Michelle

2008-present, 2015-16 Vice Chair

 

Laviano, Jennifer

2009-present, Secretary 2011-2012, Vice Chair 2012-2013, Chair 2013-2014

 

Lilly, Sheryl

1998

 

Lipton, Diane

1998-2003

 

Little, Christine

2006-2007

 

Macleod, Anne

2001-2002

 

Margolis, Leslie Seid

2001-2013

 

Martin, Mark

2010 – present, Treasurer 2013-14, Vice Chair 2014-2015, Chair 2015-2016

 

Mattison, Deborah

1998-2001

 

Graves, Maureen

2004-05

 

McIntire, Michael

2002-04

 

McKnew, Mary

2001-03

 

Nelson, Alice

2006-2015; Chair 2008-10

 

O’Connor, Mike

2001-2008; Treasurer 2003-06

 

Ordover, Eileen

1998-2001

 

Palmer, Brice

2001-07; Secretary 2005-07

 

Gloria Perez-Stewart

2014, Present

 

Philpot, Dorene

2003-04

  Poe, Cheryl
2015- present

 

Reisman, Catherine Merino

2008-present, Treasurer 2009-10, Vice Chair 2010-2011, Chair 2011-2012

 

Rogers, Brenda

2007-present

 

Ruppman, Jamie

2003-07

 

Siegel, Jodi

2002-present; Chair 2004-05; Treasurer 2006-2011

 

Sindelar, Tim

2006-07

 

Smith, Dawn

2003-05, 2008-2013 Vice Chair, 2009-10, Chair 2010-2011

 

Steedman, Wayne

2001-07

 

Traynor, Lana

2012-2015

 

Vanaman, Valerie

1998-02

 

Maureen van Stone

2014-present

 

Warshaw, Meredith

2004-2008

 

Watts, Carolina

2011-present, Secretary 2012-2013, Vice Chair 2013-2014, Chair 2014-2015

 

Weschler, Terry

2003-04

 

Whitehead, Nikole

1998-2001

 

Whitney, Sue

2003-06

 

Willcutts, Diane

2008-2009; 2014 to present

 

Wright, Peter

1999-2003

 

Zimring, Jon

2010- present

 

Executive Directors

 

 

Rosenfeld, James

1998-2002

 

Marshall, Denise

2005-present

 

Staff

 

 

Hipple, Marcie

Member Services Coordinator 2006-present

 

Robin Pick

Legal Analyst, 2013- 2014

   Selene Almazan Legal Director 2014-present

  

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