2013 Presenter Bios


2013 Presenter Bios

Raphael Bernier, Ph.D. Clinical Director, UW Autism Center, Associate Professor, Departments of Psychiatry, Educational Psychology, and Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Dr. Bernier is a licensed clinical psychologist, the clinical director of the UW Autism Center, and Associate Professor at the University of Washington in the Departments of Psychiatry, Educational Psychology, and Psychology. He received his PhD at UW, his clinical training at UCLA, and also holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Tufts University. Dr. Bernier’s clinical and research interests span many aspects of autism–from genetics and neuroscience to diagnostic characterization and cognitive-behaviorally based interventions. As the author of over 50 scientific articles and chapters and the book Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Reference Handbook, the Principal Investigator of several studies focused on the etiology and neuroscience of ASD, and clinical director of the UW Autism Center, Dr. Bernier is at the intersection of science and practice of ASD.

Julie Esparza Brown Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, Special Education, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

Julie Esparza Brown, EdD, is a third generation Chicana, and an assistant professor in the Special Education Department at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. She received her doctorate from Portland State University, her master’s in special education at the University of San Diego and her bachelor’s of music at Willamette University with a specialization in Music therapy. Before relocating to the Northwest, she completed her school psychology training at San Diego State University. She taught in bilingual, special education at all levels in San Diego and Vancouver, Washington for almost 15 years and worked as a practicing bilingual school psychologist for one year. Currently, her teaching, research, and publications focus on the interface of bilingual and special education. Additionally, she consults locally and nationally on issues related to RTI and ELL students, least biased assessment of ELL students, and effective instruction for diverse learners. She is currently on the National Advisory Board for the National Center on Response to Intervention. Her publications include a chapter in the book The Psychology of Multiculturalism, published by the National Association of School Psychology, and a chapter in the International Reading Association’s book Improving Literacy Achievement in Urban Schools. She is a co-author of a national brief A Cultural, Linguistic, and Ecological Framework for Response to Intervention with English Language Learners. Since 1998, much of her focus has been on preparing ESL and bilingual teachers and most recently, bilingual special educators.

Art Cernosia, Attorney/Education Consultant, Williston,      Vermont

Art Cernosia is an attorney and an education consultant from Williston, Vermont. He is also associated with the University of Vermont’s Education Law Institute. Art      previously worked as a teacher, a practicing attorney, staff member with the Northeast Regional Resource Center, and served as an Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Vermont Department of Education. He also volunteered as a      surrogate parent for students with disabilities who were placed in juvenile detention facilities in Vermont. He provides training, consultation and other technical      assistance services to state and local education agencies and advocacy organizations throughout the nation pertaining to special education legal issues.

Connie Compton, Past President, Kent Education Association and Special Education Teacher, Kent, Washington

Connie Compton has been a special education teacher for more than 30 years and during that time has worked with a wide range of students. Throughout her career Connie has taken deliberate steps to stay current with regard to best practices in the classroom, as well as on the statutes and case law in the field of special education. As an active member in her local association, Connie focused much of her work to improve working conditions for special education staff. She has been part of the Kent Education Association Bargaining Team for the last ten years, including serving as lead governance member in 2009 when KEA first negotiated caseload language for Special Education teachers, as well as ESAs.  Also, during the 2009 bargain, the Team successfully negotiated language to guarantee the rights of teachers, when confronted with threatening or violent behavior from students. For the last two years, Connie has served as the local and council president of the Kent Education Association. The many facets of these positions included taking an active role in advocating for special education teachers and supporting all KEA members in better understanding their roles and rights under special education laws.

Clayton Cook, Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, College of Education, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Clayton Cook joined Drs. Mazza and Jones as a member of the School Psychology faculty at the University of Washington in the Fall of 2010. Prior to the University of Washington, Clayton was an Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University. He completed an APA-accredited internship in Omaha, Nebraska at Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, prior to Louisiana State University. While at Boys Town, he worked in the Behavioral Pediatrics and Family Services Outpatient Clinic, under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Friman.

Clayton’s clinical experiences have focused on providing direct and indirect services to children and youth who are academically and/or behaviorally at risk. He has clinical experience providing individual and family therapy, school consultation, and risk and culpability assessments. The diagnostic profiles of the youth he served varied widely and included conduct disorder, affective disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and clinical exotica (e.g., Tourette’s syndrome, trichotillomania, enuresis/encopresis).

Elaine Eberharter-Maki, Attorney at Law, Eberharter-Maki & Tappen, P.A., Boise, Idaho

Elaine Eberharter-Maki, J.D., has practiced law  since 1985, receiving her law degree from the University of Idaho  in 1984.  She is a partner with the law  firm Eberharter-Maki & Tappen, PA and practices in all areas of  education law. Ms. Eberharter-Maki has represented school districts  throughout Idaho  since 1995 and has a particular interest in special education, student discipline,  and employment issues. She teaches a graduate-level course in special education  administration for the University of Idaho—Boise, a graduate-level course in  education law for the University of Phoenix—Idaho Campus, and has been a  speaker at the University of Washington’s Pacific Northwest Institute on  Special Education and the Law annually since 1996. Ms. Eberharter-Maki is  also frequently invited to speak to educators, administrators, and board  members relative to various legal issues. She acts as a hearing officer for the  Idaho Personnel Commission, and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. Prior  to private practice, she served as a deputy attorney general for the State of Idaho  and as in-house counsel to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the  State Department of Education, the State Board of Education, and related State  agencies.

Zelda Foxall, Senior Equal Opportunity Specialist, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Seattle, Washington

Zelda Foxall, a senior equal opportunity specialist, has  been with the Office for Civil Rights for over 20 years and has significant experience  investigating a variety of cases.  In  addition, she has mediated cases and provided technical assistance to parental  and advocacy groups as well as to schools, colleges and universities.

Paul Goodwin, Attorney at Law, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Seattle, Washington

Paul Goodwin has been an attorney with OCR for  10 years, and has resolved numerous Section 504 and Title II disability  complaints, including complaints regarding eligibility/evaluations, provision  of services, discipline, harassment and accessibility.  He has given multiple presentations to  schools and parents on disability-related issues.  Prior to joining OCR, Paul worked for a  private law firm and represented school districts in Oregon.

Michael S. Harley, Compliance Officer, Student Support Services Division, Clark County School District, Las Vegas, Nevada

Michael S. Harley is an attorney who has specialized in special education litigation since the early 1980s. He began his legal career with an intellectual property law firm in Chicago, Illinois. After leaving the law firm, he served as the Legal Counsel for Equip for Equality (the Illinois Protection and Advocacy agency), representing developmentally disabled and mentally ill adults and children. In addition, he volunteered with a free legal clinic in Chicago and began representing wards of the state and parents of children with disabilities against various Illinois school districts helping them access special education and related services in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. He also represented Illinois wards on behalf of  the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in the Katie I. et al v. Kimbrough class action lawsuit against the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Thereafter, Mr. Harley was recruited to join the Chicago Public Schools where he eventually served as the Compliance Officer, charged with the responsibility for ensuring CPS’ compliance with special education, Section 504, and various other disability rights laws.

Currently, Mr. Harley is the Compliance Officer for the Clark County School District (CCSD) in Las Vegas, Nevada, and oversees the district’s compliance with state and federal laws, regulations, and district policies governing the administration of special education and related services, Section 504, NCLB, FERPA, ADA, ELL and Title I, impacting students with disabilities. His office represents the CCSD in special education and Section 504 due process administrative hearings. Mr. Harley received a B.S. in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois, and a Juris Doctorate degree from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Harley is a frequent speaker on special education law and disability rights issues.

Suzy Harris, Legal Counsel (Special Education/Section 504), Portland Public Schools, Portland, Oregon

Suzy Harris is an assistant general counsel for Portland Public Schools.  Previously, she was a sole practitioner representing school districts and educational agencies with a focus on special education and Section 504.  She has also been a legal specialist for the Oregon Department of Education, an attorney at a state protection and advocacy agency and, before law school, a special education teacher.  She provides training and technical assistance on issues related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and related state and federal laws.  She is a frequent presenter at state and regional special education conferences and writes a blog at spedlawnews.blogspot.com/.

Graham M. Hicks, Attorney at Law, Graham M. Hicks, P.C., Beaverton,      Oregon

Graham is an attorney in private practice in Beaverton, Oregon. He advises and represents school districts throughout Oregon and Southwestern Washington on special education law and other disability law matters. After 33 years with the      Portland office of Miller Nash, LLP, Graham founded his own law firm in 2006. He is a member of the Education Law Association, NSBA Council of School Attorneys, Oregon Council of School Attorneys, and the state bars of Oregon and Washington. Graham is a frequent presenter at law conferences and conducts workshops and trainings for school district staff on a variety of special education topics. He is an author of “The Educator’s Guide: Student Discipline in Oregon,” a widely-used reference on discipline of general and special education students.

Christopher L. Hirst, Attorney at Law, Partner, K&L Gates LLP, Seattle,      Washington

Mr. Hirst practices in the areas of municipal and education law, and represents a variety of public school districts and a major school district risk retention pool. He performs work directly for school districts and indirectly through the risk retention pool by representing public educators in student-related disputes, public owners in construction disputes, and public employers in employment disputes. In addition, he represents public entities in various forms of administrative disputes and provides primary outside counsel advice to them.

Mr. Hirst is a frequent speaker and presenter at seminars and client training sessions. He is a member of the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB), which is comprised of Governor-appointed representatives of various stakeholders in the construction industry. CPARB evaluates public capital projects construction processes and advises the State Legislature on policies related to public works delivery methods. He is also a member of the board of the Future of the Law Institute of the King County Bar Foundation, which seeks to encourage minority and disadvantaged youth to consider careers in the law.

Darcy L. Kriha, Attorney at Law, Franczek Radelet P.C., Chicago, Illinois

Darcy L. Kriha represents public school districts and special education cooperatives throughout Illinois. In addition to overall school board representation, Ms. Kriha is known for her expertise related to special education and high-profile student discipline matters. Ms. Kriha has given oral arguments in two precedent-setting special education cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, both of which were decided in favor of the school districts: T.D. v. LaGrange School District No. 102, 222 F.Supp.2d 1062 (N.D. Ill. 2002); aff’d. 349 F.3d 469 (7th Cir. 2003) and Beth B. v. Lake Bluff School District 65, 211 F.Supp.2d 1020 (N.D. Ill. 2001); aff’d. 282 F.3d 493 (7th Cir. 2002). Ms. Kriha was Counsel of Record for Amici Curiae in the United States Supreme Court case Arlington Central School District Board of Education v. Murphy, No. 05-18 (2006). The U.S. Supreme Court held in favor of the School District, holding that parents who prevail in special education disputes are not entitled to expert witness fees. She represented the National School Boards Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the New York State School Boards Association and the New York State Council of School Superintendents in support of the Arlington Central Board of Education. In July 2006, Ms. Kriha was selected by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company as one of Illinois’ “40 Under Forty Attorneys to Watch.” She was recognized for her unique and exceptional lawyering skills in the field of education law and her commitment to the profession, including extensive volunteer work. Ms. Kriha joined the firm in 1997. She received her law degree in 1992 from the John Marshall Law School and graduated magna cum laude from Mundelein College in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.

Kelli Lydon-Medak, Attorney at Law, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Seattle, Washington

Kelli Lydon Medak joined OCR in 2008 as an  attorney in both the Atlanta and Seattle regional offices.  Kelli is the daughter of an elementary school  principal and a middle school teacher, and taught fifth grade on an emergency  credential in Salinas, California before enrolling in the University of San  Diego School of Law.  At USD, Kelli  represented students with disabilities in the Special Education Clinic, and  children in both dependency and delinquency proceedings through the Children’s  Advocacy Clinic.  Upon graduation, Kelli  joined a law firm representing public schools in a variety of education law  related matters including special education due process hearings under the  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Laura Matson, Special Services Director, Puget Sound ESD, Renton, WA

Laura Matson earned a B.A. and M. Ed. in Special Education from Central Washington University.  She earned her Doctorate in Special Education from University of Oregon and has teaching credentials in elementary and special education. Dr. Matson has over thirty years of experience in education as a teacher, behavior specialist and special education administrator. She is currently a program specialist for the Franklin Pierce School District in Tacoma, Washington, where consulting with educators who support students preschool to high school with challenging behaviors is one aspect of her job. She frequently presents on topics related to Functional Behavior Assessments, Positive Behavior Supports and issues related to reducing the use of aversive interventions.

Mike McNett, Advocacy Specialist, Washington Education Association, Federal Way, Washington

Mike McNett has been a professional union advocate for the past twenty years, and has successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements for certificated and classified school employees in Washington, Oregon, and Wisconsin. He has additionally been the Association advocate in numerous arbitration and unit clarification hearings. He is currently employed as a specialist in collective bargaining and contract enforcement, working as part of the Advocacy and Organizing Center of the state’s largest education employee union. His responsibilities include the development and delivery of training for WEA staff and leaders in topics related to negotiations, analyzing the impact of changes in public policy, developing model contract language, and providing assistance in preparation for bargaining and arbitration.

Prior to accepting his current position, Mike was the WEA UniServ Representative for the Kent Education Association, was the Director of Collective Bargaining and Research for the Wisconsin Education Association, and served as the Executive Director of the Lakewood UniServ Council in Brookfield, WI. During his 19-year teaching career in Washington, Montana, and Oregon, he became president of the South Umpqua Education Association in Myrtle Creek, OR, and the Douglas County Education Council in Roseburg, OR. Mike is currently the president of the National Association of Bargaining Professionals, an organization within NEA, and is the president of WEASO, a union consisting of WEA staff.

Pamela McPartland, Program Supervisor, OSPI Special Education, Olympia, Washington

Pamela McPartland has worked in the Special Education Section of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in Washington State since 1999.  She coordinates the dispute resolution options available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  This includes OSPI’s special education citizen complaints investigated by OSPI, and, coordination with the Office of Administrative Hearings (due process hearings) and Sound Options Training and Mediation Group (mediation.) Pamela received her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Oregon and her Juris Doctor from Seattle University Law School (formally University of Puget Sound) in 1983. Prior to working at OSPI, Pamela worked at the Department of Social and Health Services in the Lands and Buildings Department from 1996-1999, and Puget Sound Legal Assistance Foundation from 1983 to 1996.

Regina M. Moreno, Ed.D. Director of Special Education Programs, Associate Professor, College of Education, Concordia University, Portland, Oregon

Dr.  Moreno  currently serves as the Director of Special Education Programs for Concordia  University. Prior to joining Concordia University, Dr. Moreno served in the  special education teacher preparation program at Portland State University  since 2004.  She has a Doctorate in  Educational Leadership and a Master’s of Science in Special Education. Her  scholarly agenda includes the examination of early-career special education  teacher practices, the support and staff development of paraeducators and the  use of evidence-based strategies of school-age students with intellectual  disabilities and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Regina has over  thirty-five years of experience in the field of special education.  She has an expertise in the assessment and curriculum  program development for children and youth with moderate to severe intellectual  ASD.  In addition to working with  children and youth with disabilities, she has expert knowledge in working with school  teams and families. She continues to provide consultative services to public  schools and families in both Oregon and Washington States.  Regina is a well-recognized leader in the  field of special education and has unwavering commitment to the pursuit of an  equitable and quality education for individuals with disabilities.


Shirley Oliver, Senior Equal  Opportunity Specialist, U.S. Department of Education, Office  for Civil Rights, Seattle, Washington

Shirley Oliver, a senior equal opportunity specialist,  has been with the Office for Civil Rights for over 10 years and has experience  investigating a variety of cases with some emphasis on Title IX  athletics.  In addition, she has provided presentations to parental and  school groups, and works as the FOIA Coordinator for the Seattle office. Prior  to joining OCR, Shirley worked at the U.S. EEOC in support of litigation  activities and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  investigating housing discrimination complaints.

David Putnam, Director, Oregon RTI, Tigard-Tualatin School District, Tigard, Oregon

David began his work in the Tigard-Tualatin School District as a manager with the Oregon Response to Intervention (OrRTI) project in 2007. He returned to the project after two years of work as Tigard-Tualatin School District’s assessment coordinator and Response to Intervention (RTI) coach. In this role, he managed district-wide assessment activities, developed assessment systems for monitoring student progress, and worked with secondary schools to develop RTI practices. Prior to his work in Tigard-Tualatin School District, David worked as a school psychologist in public and private schools in the US and abroad. He earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees in School Psychology from the University of Oregon. Direct and repeated measurement, evidence-based practices, and data-based decision making are cornerstones of his educational philosophy that have guided his research and practice throughout his career.

Phoebe V. Redmond, Assistant General Counsel, Clark County School District , Las Vegas, Nevada

Phoebe V. Redmond, a native of Chicago, has been representing school districts for over twenty years.  Ms. Redmond began her legal career in New York on Wall Street representing Fortune 500 companies and multi-national banks with a focus on commercial litigation, banking, antitrust and civil rights.  Thereafter, she joined the New York City Public Schools, supervised its special education litigation unit which handled over 3,000 hearing requests at year, and served as the chancellor’s counsel on the Jose P. and Ray M special education class actions.  She also served as the chancellor’s special assistant, advising on various school law related issues.

Currently, Ms. Redmond is the director special education due process compliance for the Clark County School District, where she represents the school district at resolution meetings, due process hearings, and administrative appeals.  Ms. Redmond regularly provides advice, trainings and presentations on matters concerning the rights of students and their parents under the IDEA, ADA, Section 504, Title 1, FERPA and ELL.  Ms. Redmond is a school law adjunct professor for Nova Southeastern University and holds a master’s degree in Speech and Drama from The George Washington University, and a juris doctorate from Howard University Law School.

Steve Riley, Equal Opportunity Specialist, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Seattle, Washington

Steve Riley joined OCR as an Equal Opportunity  Specialist in 1998.  He has extensive  experience in investigating and resolving complaints of disability-based  discrimination; to include harassment and denial of FAPE.  He also provides mediation for recipients and  complaints to successfully resolve complaints of discrimination.  In addition, Steve provides technical  assistance on a variety of civil rights topics to the public, parent and  advocacy organizations, as well as to school districts, colleges, and  universities.

Michael H. Rorick, Attorney at Law, Porter Foster Rorick LLP , Seattle, Washington

Mike Rorick serves as general and special counsel to public school districts throughout the state of Washington. Mike has extensive experience negotiating collective bargaining agreements on behalf of public sector management and litigating a wide range of personnel, student and special education issues. Mike also advises and represents clients in the development and management of public facilities including issues involving real property and construction contracting.

Mike graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California in 1977 and from the University of Washington School of Law, with honors, in 1980. At the UW, he served as an Articles Editor of the Washington Law Review and won membership in Order of the Coif, a legal academic honors society. Mike’s broad background in civil litigation includes three years as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alaska.

Tim Sell, Senior Attorney, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Seattle, Washington

Tim has been with OCR since 1999 and has handled  a wide range of cases involving athletic eligibility of students with  disabilities and participation by students with disabilities in  extra-curricular activities. Before coming to OCR, he directed the University  of Washington’s internal complaint investigation and resolution office, working  directly with administrators, disabled student services, department faculty,  and others to ensure compliance with Section 504 and Title II of the ADA. He  has also practiced law in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Washington,  and as a public defender in King County, represented children and parents in  juvenile court abuse and neglect proceedings. He resides on Bainbridge Island,  Washington, and enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, bicycling and  skiing.  He performs regularly in musical  theatre productions on Bainbridge and with the eclectic swing dance band “Get  the Oxygen Tank”.

Julie J. Weatherly, Attorney at Law, Resolutions in Special Education, Inc.,      Mobile, Alabama

Julie J. Weatherly, Esq. is the owner of Resolutions in Special Education, Inc. with attorneys in Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama.  Julie is a member of the State Bars of Alabama and Georgia, and for more than twenty-six years, she has provided legal representation and consultative services to school districts and other agencies in the area of educating students with disabilities.  In June of 1996, Julie appeared with Leslie Stahl on CBS news program “60 Minutes” to discuss the cost of meeting the legal requirements of the IDEA.  She has been a member of the faculty for many national and state legal institutes and is a frequent speaker at special education law conferences.  Julie has developed a number of videotape training series on special education law and has been published nationally as a part of her trainings, workshops and seminars.  She is the author of the legal update article for the National CASE quarterly newsletter and is a member of LRP’s Special Education Attorneys Advisory Council.   In 1998, Julie was honored by Georgia’s Council for Exceptional Children as Georgia’s Individual who had Contributed Most to Students with Disabilities and, in April 2012, Julie received the National Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) Award for Outstanding Service.

Diane F. Wiscarson, Attorney at Law, Wiscarson Law, Portland, Oregon

Diane Wiscarson, Esq., represents students and their families in education matters, with a particular focus on special education law. Having experienced the sometimes difficult IEP process first-hand as a parent, Diane has a unique parent perspective on how to navigate the IEP maze, as well as recognized legal expertise. Diane actively represents families throughout Oregon and Washington. Additionally, Diane serves on numerous boards and committees related to special education interests, and is a frequent presenter at local, state, regional and national meetings and conferences.

Diana Browning Wright, Educational/Behavioral Consultant, Sierra Madre, California

Diana Browning Wright is a well known initiative leader with successful Behavioral RtI and other initiatives on improving educational outcomes for all students in states and regions across the country. Diana’s extensive background is in school psychology, behavior analysis and classroom teaching. She has worked with students with and without disabilities from preschool through graduate schools, across all disabilities and diversity groups, and is known for her practical, use-tomorrow materials. She has published her work in numerous peer reviewed journals, authored three books  on Behavioral RtI for LRP publications and three editions of “Positive Interventions for Serious Behavior Problems” published by the State of California as well as many articles on both teaching and behavior support.  Ms. Wright participated in developing the first national PBIS initiatives in the late 70s and continues and expands on that work now within RtI structures she teaches. Ms. Wright is a co- author of the Behavior Support Plan Desk Reference and the BSP Quality Evaluation Guide, work that teaches how to develop function based behavior plans and how to evaluate their quality across student populations, with and without disabilities.

Ms. Wright is co- founder of the statewide network of behavior trainers for the state of California, http://www.pent.ca.gov/ and past director of Arizona’s High Achievement for All (AHAA) statewide network of schools striving to achieve high outcomes for all students as well as many district initiatives. She regularly consults on how to maximize outcomes for students in restrictive settings for E/BD through evidence-based interventions and structures. She serves as educational consultant for LRP legal publications, and is the program advisor for LRP’s annual conventions on special education law. Diana’s current research is on how belief barriers in school staff can be identified and  overcome in order to embrace educational reform across schools in a district, as well as how effective data management systems can support achievement of educational goals and objectives.