Beyond the IDEA and WIOA Requirements: Knowing What to Expect When it Matters!

Join us as we look beyond the requirements of IDEA and WIOA to maximize the experiences and opportunities for children, youth and young adults with disabilities and their families.

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General and special education teachers, related service providers, administrators, and vocational rehabilitation specialists can all support high expectations, engagement, and empowerment by building their collective capacity to support children, youth and young adults with disabilities and their families throughout their educational and professional endeavors. Join us as we look beyond the requirements of IDEA and WIOA to maximize the experiences and opportunities for children, youth and young adults with disabilities and their families.

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Valerie Williams, Director, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

Valerie Williams, Director, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

Valerie C. Williams serves as the director in the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing administration of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which authorizes formula grants to states under IDEA Part B and to lead agencies for the infants and families program under IDEA Part C. IDEA also authorizes discretionary grants under IDEA Part D to institutions of higher education and other non-profit organizations to support grants for state personnel development, technical assistance and dissemination, technology, and parent training and information centers.

Williams most recently served for six years as senior director of Government Relations and External Affairs at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. She has decades of experience, which include supporting state-level special education leaders by overseeing federal government public policy activities, federal regulatory affairs, public relations, and key initiatives to promote equity and guide positive systemic change, thereby improving outcomes for students with disabilities. She also served as the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Public Policy Fellow, on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee advancing disability policy and civil rights. Prior to that, she managed the budgeting and finances for numerous multi-million-dollar programs within the Departments of the Navy and the Air Force, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Danté Allen, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, U.S. Department of Education

Danté Allen, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, U.S. Department of Education

On December 6, 2023, the United States Senate confirmed Danté Allen as Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to his confirmation, Mr. Allen served as the Executive Director for CalABLE, California’s qualified federal ABLE Act savings and investment program for people with disabilities. Mr. Allen led CalABLE since its launch in 2018 and grew the program’s reach with more than 8,000 active accounts with nearly $80 million in assets under management. During its three years in operation, CalABLE became the fastest-growing ABLE program in the United States. Prior to joining CalABLE, Mr. Allen served as a communications leader in the public and private sectors. Mr. Allen served in the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity as a senior communications officer, and at Kaiser Permanente, where he served as the communications director for the organization’s senior operations executive. Born with spina bifida, Mr. Allen is a fulltime wheelchair user. Mr. Allen is a staunch proponent of disability rights and equity. He has been a champion in advocating for the awareness of the reduction of healthcare and financial disparities especially among people of color and people with disabilities. He serves as a board member for Resources for Independent Living, Sacramento, a nonprofit that supports the needs of people with disabilities to live as independently as possible. He has also contributed in leadership roles in employee resource groups for people with disabilities throughout his career. Mr. Allen received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Davis and a master’s degree at The University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication.

David Bateman

David Bateman, Principal Research, American Institutes for Research

David F. Bateman is a principal researcher at AIR. He is a former professor at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education where he taught courses on special education law, assessment, and IEP implementation/development. He is also a former due process hearing officer for Pennsylvania for over 580 hearings. He uses his knowledge of litigation relating to special education to assist school districts in providing appropriate supports for students with disabilities and to prevent and to recover from due process hearings.

Dr. Bateman has been a classroom teacher of students with learning disabilities, behavior disorders, intellectual disability, and hearing impairments. He has recently co-authored the following books: A Principal’s Guide to Special Education, A Teacher’s Guide to Special Education, Special Education Law Case Studies, Special Education Leadership: Building Effective Programming in Schools, Developing Educational Meaningful and Legally Sound IEPs, and Current Trends and Issues in Special Education. He was recently co-editor of a special issue of TEACHING Exceptional Children focusing on legally proficient IEPs. He is also co-editor of the new Special Education Law and Policy Series for Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Since 2020 Dr. Bateman has been involved in 115 due process hearings. During COVID he led the Pennsylvania Department of Education monthly presentations on working with students with disabilities in virtual environments. He also works with multiple state education agencies on system-wide change, including supervising a class-action lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Education as the neutral fact-finder, and rewriting SEA procedures for charter schools for the Guam Department of Education.

Johan Mora Valverde, Youth Engagement Manager, SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN)

Johan Mora Valverde (he/him)Youth Engagement Manager, SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) 

Johan's journey began when he immigrated to the United States at the age of 3, guided by hardworking parents who instilled in him the values of education and public service. With eight years of experience in service provision and management roles, Johan has a strong foundation in the field.

He holds a bachelor's degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration from Rutgers University and is pursuing a Master of Public Administration. Complementing his academic pursuits, Johan is a Youth Engagement Manager at the SPAN Parent Advocacy Network, providing crucial support to families, professionals, and policymakers.

His diverse experiences and unwavering commitment to public service position him as a dedicated professional capable of thriving in government and public administration roles. His unique immigrant journey and dedication to making a difference are the cornerstones of his career.