Saturday, January 20, 2018

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The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) applauds the nomination of Johnny Collett to be the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services at the U.S. Department of Education.

Mr. Collett has a wealth of experience in working with children, youth and adults with disabilities and their families. He has worked with stakeholders in the disability community at the local, state and national levels and has gained a reputation for valuing their input through an authentic stakeholder process.

He previously served as the Director of Special Education at the Kentucky Department of Education. In that capacity, he also served on the Board of Directors of NASDSE. He has continued his work with the state directors of special education through his tenure with the National Center for Systemic Improvement where he is based at the Council of Chief State School Officers.

“NASDSE looks forward to continuing our collaboration with the Department of Education and working with Mr. Collett should he be confirmed for this important position as Assistant Secretary,” Bill East, NASDSE’s Executive Director, said in a statement.   


October 30, 2017: NASDSE welcomes our new Board of Directors for 2018:

President: Santina Thibedeau, Director of Special Education, New Hampshire Department of Education

Secretary-Treasurer: Bill Hussey, Director, Exceptional Children Division, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

President-Elect: Jamie Wong, Director of Special Education, Louisiana Department of Education

Past President: Glenna Gallo, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education, Washington State Offfice of Superintendent of Public Instruction 


  • Barbara Guy, Director of Special Education, Iowa Department of Education
  • Steve Milliken, Director of Special Education, Nebraska Department of Education
  • Linda Turner, Director of Special Education Programs, South Dakota Department of Education
  • Monica Verra-Tirado, Director of Special Education, Florida Department of Education 


October 30, 2017: NASDSE Recognizes Special Education Leaders:

At our 79th Annual Conference, the following leaders in the special education community were recognized for their contributions to the fields of special education.

  • Martha J. Fields Award of Excellence: Presented to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Johnny Collett, Program Director for Standards, Assessment and Accountability, accepted the award on behalf of CCSSO.
  • R. Elwood Pace Humanitarian Award: Presented to Nancy Reder, NASDSE's Deputy Executive Director
  • Heritage Award: Presented to Gene Lenz who recently retired as the State Director of Special Education in Texas

For more information on NASDSE awards, click here


July 13, 2017: NASDSE is pleased to announce that Perry Zirkel has updated his legal Q&A for hearing officers. This new report is dated June, 2017 so if you have an older version, you may want to download this update. For your convenience, updated material is highlighted. Click here to download the report.   


May 8, 2017: National Association of State Directors of Special Education Opposes House-Passed American Health Care Act: The National Association of State Directors (NASDSE) is deeply disappointed in the result of House of Representatives’ vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The passage of this bill, which restructures Medicaid and removes mandates of critical coverage for comprehensive essential health benefits, jeopardizes healthcare for the nation’s most vulnerable children, especially students with disabilities. The AHCA rescinds Medicaid’s 50+ year commitment to provide America’s children with access to vital healthcare services that ensure they have adequate educational opportunities and can contribute to society by imposing a per-capita cap and shifting current and future costs to taxpayers in every state and Congressional district. Moreover, a per capita cap, even one with various “buckets” for beneficiaries, will disproportionally harm children’s access to medical care, including services received at school.

School-based Medicaid programs serve as a lifeline to children who can’t access critical health care and health services outside of their school. Many schools use Medicaid to pay for the personnel, services, and equipment required to help students with disabilities. These funds supply wheelchairs, lifts, physical, speech and occupational therapies, and a multitude of other supports necessary to help students with disabilities thrive in the school setting, while meeting the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The projected loss of $880 billion in federal Medicaid dollars will compel states to ration health care for children. School-based health services are required by IDEA and do not cease simply because Medicaid funds are capped by the AHCA. In other words, the cost of providing those services will be shifted to every school district in the country, in some cases requiring school districts to eliminate other programs and/or raising local taxes.

Our nation’s vulnerable youth deserve better. We urge the Senate to reject these harmful proposals in the AHCA and preserve the availability of comprehensive Medicaid services, including those provided at school.


April 26, 2017: Check out the latest addition to our new page on resources for online learning. From the Center for Online Learning and Students with Disabilities: Report on the Online Teaching Standards and Teacher Certification Workgroup for Students with Disabilities. Click here to see the document or click the left side of this page and then click on Resources on Online Learning to view all of the resources that are posted.


April 6, 2017: We have created a new section on our website. Resources on Online Learning, to address the growing role of online learning in K-12 education. Click here to see What’s New on this Resource page.


January 20, 2017: For the past two years, NASDSE’s Board of Directors, with NASDSE member input, has been working on a set of principles for the reauthorization of IDEA. The Principles are now final. Please click here to review them. Your feedback is welcome – please send your comments to


January 13, 2017: NASDSE’s Board of Directors, with input from NASDSE members, including our 619 and data managers affinity groups, has developed Principles for the Reauthorization of IDEA. Please click here to view the Principles. NASDSE’s Board will be developing brief White Papers to explore each of these issues in greater depth.


December 28, 2016: At its December, 2016 meeting, the NASDSE Board adopted Government Relations priorities for 2017. Click here to see the list of priorities.


October 19, 2016: NASDSE President Announces New Priorities for 2016-17. At the installation and Awards ceremony at the conclusion of the NASDSE/CASE Joint Conference, newly installed NASDSE President Glenna Gallo announced her priorities for the upcoming year.


October 14, 2016: NASDSE recently concluded its first-ever joint annual conference with the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) in Milwaukee. At the meeting, new officers and a new board were elected to steer NASDSE in the coming year. NASDSE is pleased to announce its new board of directors for 2016-2017:

  • Glenna Gallo (UT) President
  • Bill Hussey (NC) Secretary-Treasurer
  • Santina Thibedeau (NH) President- Elect
  • John Eisenberg (VA) Past President
  • Barbara Guy (IA) Member-at -Large
  • Linda Turner (SD) Member-at-Large
  • Monica Verra-Tirado (FL) Member-at-Large
  • Jamie Wong (LA) Member-at-Large


October 1, 2016: NASDSE is pleased to announce a new publication, Surrogate Parents and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, jointly published by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) and NASDSE. To view and download a copy of this publication, please click here.


March 9, 2016: Professor Perry Zirkel has recently updated his 2014 document, Impartial Hearings Under the IDEA: Legal Issues and Answers. You can find the updated document by clicking here.




Visit NASDSE's Other Websites!!

Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities:

NASDSE's IDEA Partnership has two websites: and

NASDSE'S Project Forum website,, has been taken down. All documents from the old Project Forum website are available on our website on the Project Forum Project page.


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