Attracting Personnel to Serve Children With Disabilities (August 2019)

New Leveraging Briefs Series on Attract, Prepare, Retain Available Now!

The new leverage briefs are the culmination of OSEP’s Attract, Prepare, Retain: Effective Personnel for All Initiative and highlight 13 leverage points covering strategies recognized by various stakeholders as essential to addressing critical shortages in the special education workforce.

Speaker Bios

Laurie VanderPloeg is the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), at the U.S. Department of Education. VanderPloeg ensures the effective implementation of OSEP's legislative mission, advises the Assistant Secretary on federal education policy related to individuals with disabilities, and provides leadership in addressing issues of American education for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities through OSEP activities and within the context of the policies of OSERS, the Department, and Congress.

Prior to joining the Department, VanderPloeg served as Director of Special Education at Kent Intermediate School District (Kent ISD) in Michigan. Also at Kent ISD, she served as assistant director for monitoring, compliance and parent support. Prior to Kent ISD, she served as a local supervisor of special education, and a special education teacher in the Grand Rapids Public Schools. VanderPloeg also served as an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University in the special education administration program. She is a parent of an adult with disabilities.

VanderPloeg graduated from Grand Valley State University with a master’s degree in special education administration and a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State College. She holds administrative approvals as both supervisor and Director of Special Education and certification in learning disabilities, cognitive impairment, emotional impairment, and K–8 regular education.

Benny Delgado Jr. is the president and owner of Leaps & Bounds Family Services Inc. and president of the Illinois Developmental Therapy Association. He is a credentialed developmental therapist/evaluator and has over 24 years of experience in working with children with developmental delays from birth to age three. Benny currently serves as a provider representative on the Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention and is also a social emotional consultant for a Parents as Teachers program and Early Childhood Developmental Enrichment Center. Benny specializes in providing relationship based/family centered treatment and has provided parent and professional training workshops on a variety of topics including childhood brain development, challenging behavior in young children, typical and atypical development, providing services in the natural environment, empowering parents to be active participants in their IFSP meetings, maximizing parent engagement in therapy sessions, building resiliency in young children and best practices in the effective treatment of autism.

Jaumeiko Coleman, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, FNAP, is the director of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) School Services team. Her responsibilities include tracking national trends that impact the work of school-based speech-language pathologists and collaborating on the development of resources and policy to support school-based ASHA members. Her previous work positions follow: speech-language pathologist in a K-5 school setting, an assistant professor, a district-level school administrator, associate director in ASHA’s National Center for Evidence-Based Practice, and associate director on ASHA’s Continuing Education team. Her clinical and research background includes spoken language and literacy development and disorders, issues in K-12 schools, evidence-based practice of school-based  speech-language pathologists, and treatment outcomes of school-based speech-language pathologists.   

Lisa Dieker, Ph.D., is a Pegasus Professor and Lockheed Martin Eminent Scholar in the College of Community Innovation and Education at the University of Central Florida (UCF). She serves as the Director of the UCF/Lockheed Martin Mathematics and Science Academy, Program Coordinator for the Ph.D. program in special education, and Co-Director of the UCF Center for Research in Education Simulation Technology (CREST). Her research focuses on harnessing the power of teachers working across disciplines in inclusive settings in teacher education, special education, and simulation. She has led and managed more than $17M in grant funding and has two newly funded doctoral leadership grants to work across teacher preparation, learning sciences, and STEM. She has provided over 100 keynotes and has produced 5 books and over 65 articles and chapters. She holds one patent in simulation and has a second patent pending. She serves on numerous editorial review boards and is the past Associate Editor and Editor of three journals.

Whitney Hanley is a doctoral student, AACTE Holmes Scholar, and LEAD IT scholar in the Ph.D. Exceptional Education program at the University of Central Florida. Whitney received her B.S. in Special Education from University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky and her teaching certificate in Special Education P-12 for students with learning and behavior disorders. She received her M.Ed. from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. While teaching in Georgia, Whitney also completed her Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction at Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. For seven years, Whitney taught in three different classroom settings. For the first six years of her teaching career, she taught students with learning and behavior disorders in the Elementary setting. Her seventh year of teaching, she taught 8th grade students with learning and behavior disorders. Her research interests include the use of evidence-based supports and interventions for culturally diverse females with emotional and or behavior disorders.

Lindsey Hayes, senior researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR), provides technical assistance for projects related to special education and educator preparation. Hayes is the intensive technical assistance lead for the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center. She supports staff teams to create robust networks between state education agencies, educator preparation programs, and local districts to align preparation policy and professional learning systems for teachers and leaders serving students with disabilities. She serves as the state technical assistance lead for CEEDAR teams in Colorado and New York. Hayes also works with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL) to help states advance educator talent management strategies. She leads GTL’s educator shortages in hard-to-staff contexts project and serves on the mentoring and induction team as a content development lead. Hayes earned her M.Ed. in special education from George Mason University.