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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.

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. Cynthia Daniels-Hall, David Beinke, and Naomi Grossman 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.  Alexis Casillas, 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 round table discussions.  Jennifer Laviano and Craig Goodmark Co-Chair this committee.

The Conference Committee is responsible for the program design of the annual conference. 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.  Kimberly Jackson 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 –   Maureen van Stone, Esq.
Vice Chair – Mandy Favaloro, Esq.
Treasurer – David Jefferson
Secretary - Jesse Cutler, Esq.|
Immediate Past Chair - Alexis Casillas, Esq.
At large – Jon Zimring, Esq.

The Government Relations Committee participates in public policy matters at the national and state level, both through participation on coalitions such as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR) the Education and Rights Task Forces of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), and through additional independent legislative and other activities. Through the work of the Government Relations Committee, as approved by the Board, COPAA produces positions 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. Michele Kule-Korgood 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.  Mallory Finn, Michael Gilberg and Tal Goldin are Co-Chairs.

The Parent Committee works to provide information of interest to our parent membership. Denise Smith and Monika Jones are the Co-Chairs and work with the committee to establish goals and priorities. 

Scholarship Committee/ Awards Committee administers the restricted Beth Goodman Scholarship Fund on behalf of the Board and the Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Educational Advocacy, and other COPAA Awards.  Jesse Cutler is the Chair of 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 and Shenikwa Medlock 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 is Chair.

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 discussion group 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 be sure to log into your COPAA profile and Click Here to submit the REQUEST .

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