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2017 Diane Lipton Award Recipient


The COPAA Board of Directors is pleased to announce Robert K. Crabtree as thepicture of Robert K. Crabtree recipient of the 2017 Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Educational Advocacy on Behalf of Children with Disabilities. 

The award is given each year during the COPAA Conference 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.  Diane 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. 

We always receive many worthy nominations for this prestigious award. This year the Board chose Bob, who was nominated by several people, in recognition of his exceptional and outstanding contribution to obtaining high-quality educational services for children with disabilities in Massachusetts.

Bob, a partner at Kotin, Crabtree & Strong, is known as consistent and fearless; dedicated to doing whatever is needed to ensure the right outcome for students with disabilities and their families.  Along with his individual advocacy, Bob is an extraordinary leader in the special education field.  His knowledge, experience, energy and leadership have contributed in many ways to advancing the systemic rights of students with disabilities in Massachusetts through legislative and regulatory changes.  Bob has also mentored many law students, parent advocates, and younger attorneys throughout the country. He is a person of integrity who can be counted upon –whether in engaging in state administrative and legislative advocacy in pursuit of equal educational opportunities for all students with disabilities, providing workshops, technical assistance and support to families supported by the State’s Parent Training Information Center, or contributing to publications.

In addition to his private practice, Bob works pro bono with the Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC), testifying on proposed legislation, advising on proposed legislative language, strategizing around difficult individual cases. 


Bob has been the lead trainer for the Federation for Children with Special Needs Advocacy Course and has trained thousands of advocates throughout Massachusetts. His training never ends with each workshop, for countless advocates seek his counsel well after the course is completed.  In addition to these trainings, Bob has given so much of his time to training parents, health care professionals and other lawyers in special education law.


Please join us in congratulating Bob for this prestigious award.  The award is given on Saturday, March 4th at the Awards Luncheon as part of the COPAA Conference in Dallas, TX. 


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