NAESPA and NASDSE Panel - Cooperating Across IDEA and ESEA
The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) and National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA) have collaborated to bring leaders from two states to share their experiences and challenges with coordinating ESEA and IDEA programs. Please join us as state Directors of special education from Utah and Washington are joined by their ESEA counterparts to provide examples of coordination that are already occurring, the impact that collaboration has on increasing efficiencies and capacity at the state- level, and how it can improve overall student outcomes through the alignment of support and oversight to LEAs. The session will culminate in an opportunity for audience questions, and highlight how professional organizations like NAESPA and NASDSE can create future opportunities for their members to explore opportunities for coordination in their own states.
On December 4, 2018, John Eisenberg assumed the role of Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE). Before this new role, Mr. Eisenberg worked in the Office of Special Education and Student Services at the Virginia Department of Education for fifteen years, seven of those as the State Director of Special Education. Throughout his career in special education, he worked in a variety of other roles including Director of the Virginia Deaf-Blind Project, Technical Assistance Specialist with the National Technical Assistance Consortium for Deaf-Blindness and a classroom teacher for students with developmental disabilities and Deaf-Blindness. Mr. Eisenberg proudly served on the NASDSE Board of Directors for over four years and became President in 2015. Mr. Eisenberg earned his M.Ed in severe disabilities from Hunter College at the City University of New York and his B.A. from New York University. He is also a proud graduate of the Virginia LEND program from Virginia Commonwealth University. He comes from a family of teachers and special educators and is very passionate about improving the educational outcomes of children and families across the United States.
Erin serves as the CEO of the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA). She holds master’s degrees in teaching and marital and family therapy. She is a credentialed multiple-subject teacher with experience in classroom teaching, and TK-8 administration. She has experience in clinical mental health in medical settings, education, arts, and the criminal justice sector. She is a systems thinker and leader focusing on relationships and equity.
Dr. Tania May is the Assistant Superintendent of Special Education for the Washington state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Her work is focused on collaborating with schools, community partners, families, and students in support of improved outcomes for students with disabilities. Tania has over thirty years of special education experience in classrooms, districts, and with the state. Her previous positions have included elementary inclusive practices, high school co-teaching, multilingual supports for students with disabilities, and behavioral supports in non-public agencies.
Tania has a doctorate in educational leadership from University of Washington Tacoma, a master’s degree in special education from San Francisco State University, and a bachelor’s degree in political economy from the University of California Berkeley. She also has a deep, personal connection to the field of special education: she is the parent of an autistic teenager.
Jason Miller is Executive Director of Elementary, Early Learning, and Federal Programs at the Washington state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. He has worked in education for the past 25 years as a teacher at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels. Over the past 6 years Jason has worked for WA state managing the Title I, Part A and other ESEA programs. He currently oversees the state federal programs monitoring system and has worked closely on the development of Washington’s ESEA Consolidated Grant Application. Jason has served in various capacities on the NAESPA Board for the past 5 years.
Colleen Riley currently serves as an Independent Consultant providing technical assistance to states on behalf of the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE). Riley provides coaching and mentoring to state leaders in developing the infrastructure to align accountability systems to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.
Prior to working with NCSI and NASDSE, Riley served as the Kansas Director of Early Childhood, Special Education and Title Services. As state director, Riley worked to align state and federal accountability and technical assistance systems to implement the Kansas Integrated Accountability System (KIAS) and the Kansas Technical Assistance System Network (TASN). Riley’s responsibilities included providing and aligning resources for district teams to meet the requirements of multiple accountability systems including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Kansas State Performance Plan (SPP), and the Kansas Education Accreditation System (KESA). During her tenure at KSDE, Riley served in various leadership positions of the NASDSE including President, and as a Member at Large in the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA).
Leah Voorhies, PhD, works at the Utah State Board of Education as the Assistant Superintendent of Student Support and is a licensed school psychologist. Dr. Voorhies is responsible to supervise all Federal programs including special education and Title I, as well as the School Improvement, Prevention, Counseling, Adult Education, Safe and Healthy Schools, Child Nutrition, and Youth in Care programs. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, a master’s degree in school psychology, and a doctorate degree in counseling psychology, all from Brigham Young University. She then earned an Education Administration/Supervision credential from Utah State University. Dr. Voorhies was an instructor at Salt Lake Community College for seven years in both the Education and Social Sciences departments. She served for three years as Co-Chair of the Utah Child Welfare Improvement Committee that advised the Division of Child and Family Services; the Chair of a non-profit foundation, the Utah Deaf and Blind Children’s Fund for ten years; was the elected Utah delegate to the National Association of School Psychologist’s leadership assembly for three years; and is currently a Board member of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. Dr. Voorhies does educational humanitarian work in Kenya through the 501c3, RaFIKis, and in Central America through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Dean Zajic is an Assistant Director of the Special Education and Title Services team of the Kansas State Department of Education. In his role, he helps oversee the Kansas Integrated Accountability System, provides training and technical assistance to Kansas school districts on IDEA, ESEA, and ESSER, MTSS implementation, blending and braiding of programs, disproportionality analysis, and best practices to achieve results for all students. Dean is the Director of the OSERS-funded Kansas Youth Transition Network project, President of the Association of Educational Federal Finance Administrators (AEFFA), is the Past-President of the National Association of ESEA Program Administrators (NAESPA), and has served as an expert reviewer for the Center for IDEA Fiscal Reporting (CIFR).