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SEAT 1.0 Instructors
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Gretchen Adams is the owner of Ohio Special Education Advocacy and has over 10 years experience as a professional advocate for parents of children with special educational needs.  She also has 11 years experience with a state of Ohio regulatory board and 3 years as a legal assistant in the local (Ohio) and federal court systems. She also holds a SEAT Certificate from COPAA (Cohort II 2013.  By leveraging her unique skill set, professional development, and experiences has allowed her to provide professional advocacy services to families all over the state of Ohio.


 As a parent of 2 children (one in college and the other in high school) who are both gifted and have special needs, she knows firsthand what it's like to sit on the parent's side of the table.   Gretchen has a keen interest in supporting families in navigating the often-complicated process of special education to bring assistance to students.  Her cumulative career and professional experiences have helped her to inform and ensure parents are aware of their rights and options.


 In addition to providing professional advocacy services, Gretchen also works as the SEAT Program Manager for COPAA’s Special Education Advocacy Training (SEAT) program.  She designs and implements assignments for students to apply what they have learned to real world situations.  She is an Instructor and Teaching Assistant for the SEAT programs, and has presented a break out session on IEP’s at the COPAA Conference.

Melissa Alexander (MD) - (Missy) is a parent educator with Maryland’s Parent Training and Information Center.  She works with families of children with disabilities in the 3 Southern Maryland counties, helping them advocate for appropriate educational services for their children and finding community resources to meet their children's needs. She presents parent and professional workshops on a variety of topics, and helps facilitate study groups using Wrightslaw's "From Emotions to Advocacy" framework. She is the parent advocate on the St. Mary's County's Local Care Team (formerly known as Local Coordinating Council), and is a member of the St. Mary's County, Maryland Local Management Board. Missy has been a guest lecturer at Towson University, Johns Hopkins University, and The College of Southern Maryland on parenting a child with autism. Missy is Secretary for the Learning Disabilities Association of St. Mary’s County, Maryland, and is on the Board of Directors for the Learning Disabilities Association of Maryland. And the Autism Spectrum Support Group of Southern Maryland.  Missy’s dedication and passion for advocating for children with disabilities stems from advocating for her own daughter.  Missy is an active member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, specifically the Membership and Conference Committees, and was the first advocate member to Chair of the COPAA Board of Directors in 2012-2013. 

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Eileen Crumm, PhD., (CA) is a longtime COPAA member who serves on the training committee and as a SEAT instructor.  Eileen works as the Executive Director of a nonprofit in northern California that serves families of children with developmental delays, disabilities, social emotional concerns and special health care needs.  Eileen and the multi-cultural, multilingual peer parent staff work with about 2500 families a year,  helping with community services including IEPs and IFSPs.   Eileen participates in Family Voices of California, Help Me Grow Alameda County and the Family Resource Center Network of California.   She has worked for the local Parent Training and Information Center (DREDF), as a special education advocate in private practice, and as a university professor.  Eileen is the proud parent of two young adults, one with physical disabilities.



Cynthia Daniels-Hall (NC), is the parent of children with diagnoses on the autism spectrum.  Cynthia is a special education advocate and owner of Every Child Solutions, an education advocacy business. Cynthia is an advocate member of COPAA, a Black American female born in the southeast, raised in the northeast, and now live in North Carolina in the southern eastern region of the USA.  As a person who was raised in a family of educators, and as the parent of young adults with disabilities, she understands the process from a unique and personal perspective.  Cynthia understands how the inconsistent implementation of special education laws by public school systems affects parents and their children. As a military spouse, having lived in six states, she realizes that when helping parents obtain a free appropriate public education for their children in the least restrictive environment, any solution must be tailored to their individual child and their situation.  Cynthia interest in serving on COPAA Board and committees is advocate training promoting the development of knowledge and skills necessary to support, inform, and empower parent's participation in the special education process. 

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David Jefferson (AZ) As a parent of special needs children, David understands and appreciates all of the difficulties parent’s face as they try and navigate the special education maze.  David formed Parent Support Arizona to ensure parents have a local resource and the tools they need to ensure their children’s educational needs are met. Over the past few years, David has sought administrative remedies through the State Department of Education, Office of Administrative Hearings OCR and FERPA.  David uses these experiences to provide civil rights advocacy, educational advocacy, parent training and represent parents in IDEA due process hearings in the State of Arizona.  In addition he offers self-help tools and resources that allow parents to advocate for themselves and on an equal footing with schools as they advocate for their children’s rights. 

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Paula Senigar (CA) is a Special Education Advocate who has helped hundreds of families to navigate the complexities of Special Education. She also supports special needs families by helping them identify and secure necessary services from medical insurance companies and Regional Centers. Paula is also a TA for the SEAT 2.0 level course. She has been married 21 years and has two children. Her youngest child has an autism diagnosis and is eligible for special education services.

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