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Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)

Special Education Advisory Panel

Under both the Massachusetts General Laws (c. 15, §1G) and federal regulations (34 CFR § 300.167), the Department is required to establish and maintain a Special Education Advisory Panel composed of individuals involved in or concerned with the education of children with disabilities. In existence for over 30 years, the council's membership has included a diverse group of individuals reflecting both the state and federal statutory requirements of membership, including agency designees. The responsibilities of the Special Education Advisory Panel include:

  1. advising on unmet needs within the state in the education of children with disabilities;
  2. commenting on proposed rules and regulations involving special education;
  3. advising in developing evaluations and corrective action plans; and
  4. assisting in the coordination of services to children with disabilities.

Special Education Advisory Panel Documents

Panel Members

The Special Education Advisory Panel is composed of members appointed by the Commissioner on behalf of the Board of Education. Appointment to the Council is for a three-year term, and no member may serve more than two terms. Over half of the voting members are individuals with a disability or a parent of a child with a disability. Membership is presently comprised of local education officials, teachers, and representatives from higher education, charter schools, special education schools, and organizations that provide transition services to children with disabilities. A reasonable balance of business, civic, labor, and professional groups, and geographic areas, is currently maintained.

NameTitleInstitution
Edith BazileParent RepresentativeRandolph, MA
Kelly BilodeauParent RepresentativeWestborough, MA
Paul BottomeSpecial Education Compliance SupervisorNew Bedford Public Schools
Michelle BotusDirector of Cross Agency InitiativesDepartment of Mental Health, DMH designee
Catherine BrownDirector of Disability AccessDepartment of Transitional Assistance, DTA designee
Mary Dennehy-ColorussoProcedural Safeguard CoordinatorDepartment of Public Health, DPH designee
Ruth DiazParent Training & Information Center DirectorFederation for Children with Special Needs
Beth DoyleDDS Education ManagerDepartment of Developmental Services, DDS designee
Jennie DunKleyParent RepresentativeSouth Easton, MA
Susan FarrellExecutive DirectorCentral Mass Collaborative, Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives (MOEC) designee
Shai FuxmanParent RepresentativeNatick, MA
Elizabeth BosticAssistant Director, Division of Children and Youth with Special Health NeedsDepartment of Public Health, DPH designee
Judy HurlburtChief Administrative OfficerEvergreen Center, Milford, Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools designee
Carla B. JentzExecutive DirectorMassachusetts Administrators for Special Education
Nina Kagan West Roxbury, MA
Amy LaBargeParent RepresentativeLeominster, MA
Cynthia MahoneyParent RepresentativeFlorence, MA
Laurie MasonDirector of Special EducationBrockton, MA
Laurie McCarronParent RepresentativeChelmsford, MA
James Morrison Education ManagerDepartment of Children and Families, DCF designee
Christine Palladino-DownsParent RepresentativeBoxford, MA
Carmen PimentelParent RepresentativeEverett, MA
Helen ScarrParent RepresentativeNewton, MA
Lisa SiroisAssistant Director of Educational ServicesDepartment of Youth Services, DYS designee
Sarah SlautterbackHomeless Education State CoordinatorDESE
Jean SperaAssistant Director, Office of Special EducationCambridge Public Schools, Mass Urban designee
Thomas StewartParent RepresentativeGeorgetown, MA
Andrea StolarDirector of Special EducationChicopee, MA
Aubry ThrelkeldDirector of Graduate EducationEndicott College
Renee TothParent RepresentativeByfield, MA

2022-2023 Meeting Schedule

DateLocationTime
October 11, 2022 Special Education Advisory Panel
Virtual Meeting
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
December 13, 2022 Special Education Advisory Panel
Virtual Meeting
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
January 10, 2023 Special Education Advisory Panel
Virtual Meeting
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
February 14, 2023 Special Education Advisory Panel
Virtual Meeting
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
March 14, 2023 Special Education Advisory Panel
Virtual Meeting
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
May 9, 2023 Special Education Advisory Panel
Virtual Meeting
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
June 13, 2023
Hold
Special Education Advisory Panel
Meeting Location TBD
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Public Participation in Special Education Advisory Panel

All Panel meetings for the 2021-2022 year are being held virtually.

The Special Education Advisory Panel welcomes public comment on matters within its purview. Accordingly, a maximum 30-minute period is made available at its meetings for persons in the audience to address the Panel for no longer than 3 minutes. Written material of any length may be submitted. Preference will be given to persons who seek to address specific agenda items for the upcoming meeting. Agendas for upcoming meetings are posted prior to the meeting on the Special Education Advisory Panel website. Persons wishing to speak are strongly encouraged to submit their request before the day of the meeting; contact information is provided below. Preference will be given to those who submit requests by 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday preceding the scheduled meeting. If time permits, the Chair will allow members of the public who have not contacted the Department in advance to speak in the public comment period; those individuals must sign in prior to the start of the meeting. The Chair may limit the number of speakers due to time constraints and may increase or reduce the time allocated per speaker. While there is no requirement to submit comments in writing, a speaker who elects to do so should submit copies of their comments prior to or at the meeting for distribution to Panel members. Requests to address the Panel, written comments, and other inquiries may be transmitted by mail, e-mail, fax, or telephone to: Special Education Advisory Panel, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148, Phone: 781-338-3375. E-mail: specialeducation@doe.mass.edu . Please make any requests for special accommodations or interpretation services at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled meeting.

Contact Information

For further information, including meeting agendas/minutes, please contact:

Special Education Planning and Policy Office
specialeducation@doe.mass.edu

Last Updated: December 7, 2022

 
Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370

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