Presenter, Reactor & Moderator Bios
Peter C. Amuso, Esq. is a partner in the law firm of Rudolph Clarke, LLC. He has litigated special education issues in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and focuses his practice on education law. He handles labor law matters and union contract negotiations for the large southeastern Pennsylvania school districts for which his firm serves as solicitor. He represents school districts in the state and federal courts, and before the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education. A former active-duty Army officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, he has represented individuals in criminal matters in nearly every conceivable forum, from tents in Kosovo to the courtrooms of Bucks and Montgomery County, and continues to handle criminal matters for his firm. Prior to joining Rudolph Clarke, Peter managed zoning and land-use litigation for a major developer throughout eastern Pennsylvania, and has represented school districts, individuals, community groups, educational institutions in zoning and land use matters, and is the Solicitor of the East Norriton Township Zoning Hearing Board. Peter was elected to the School Board of Springfield Township (Montgomery County) in 2005 and served as Chair of the Property Committee during a period of major school construction. Peter earned his A.B. from Georgetown University and his J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School.
David P. Andrews, Esq. is General Counsel to Juniata College, where he has handled several student disability cases on behalf of the College. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Private College and University General Counsels of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. Prior to becoming a General Counsel, Mr. Andrews was Managing Partner of the law firm of Andrews and Beard, which represented approximately 100 public School Districts in Pennsylvania in Special Education matters. Mr. Andrews is licensed before the United States Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the Federal District Courts for the Western District, Middle District and Eastern District of Pennsylvania, as well as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He is a graduate of Juniata College and Dickinson School of Law. Mr. Andrews teaches Employment Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution at Juniata College where he also coaches the College's Mock Trial Team.
David Berney, Esq. is the founder of Berney & Sang. His firm concentrates its practice in education and employment discrimination litigation and represents parents in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. David serves as an adjunct professor of special education law at the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law. He also writes as a guest columnist for the Legal Intelligencer on education law issues. Over the years, he has been an active member of the Philadelphia Bar Association, serving as a Chair of its Civil Rights Committee. In April 2018, his firm tried the first hostile school environment/bullying case in state court under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and achieved a landmark judgment in excess of one million dollars. He has also argued several civil rights cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. From 2008-2019, Philadelphia Magazine named David a “Super Lawyer.” He recently finished a book-length manuscript on the ability of civil rights litigation to remediate racial inequality. David is a magna cum laude graduate of Lehigh University and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. David can be contacted directly at email@example.com or 215.564.1030.
Christine Taylor Brann, Esq. is an associate at James, Smith, Dietterick and Connelly, LLP in Hershey. She heads the firm’s Medical Cannabis Group and chairs the Dauphin County Medical Cannabis Law Committee. Since 2013, Ms. Brann has worked closely with the co-sponsors of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act from the inception of the drafting of the legislation. She has testified before the Pennsylvania Senate regarding the medical marijuana legislation and has met with the Physician Generals under both the Corbett and Wolf Administrations as well as the Director of the Office of Medical Marijuana regarding implementation of Act 16. Ms. Brann is a frequent speaker regarding Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana legislation, including before the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the Pennsylvania Association for Government Relations, Law Seminars International, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Medical Society, Smart Talk Radio (WITF), Marijuana Policy Project and several local organizations throughout the State. Christine is an original and founding member of Campaign for Compassion, which received a national award from Americans for Safe Access for their lobbying efforts. Ms. Brann graduated from Bucknell University in 1995 and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Widener University School of Law in 1998. She was admitted to practice before all Pennsylvania and New Jersey state courts in 1998 and has since focused her legal career in family law matters and medical cannabis. Ms. Brann is also a trained mediator, certified to practice Collaborative Law and is a member of both the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) and the Collaborative Professionals of Central PA (CPCP), where she is currently acting as Vice President. She is also a member of the Pennsylvania and Dauphin County Bar Associations, Family Law Section. Ms. Brann is a current board member of Cocoa Packs, Inc., a food assistance program for students in the Hershey area. She is also serving an appointment to the Derry Township Board of Supervisors Vacancy Board.
John J. Burns is a graduate of Widener University School of Law. Mr. Burns has been Counsel with the New Jersey School Boards Association since 1999. Prior to joining NJSBA, Mr. Burns completed a clerkship with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County, with the Honorable Charles A. Delehey, J.S.C. Mr. Burns is a frequent presenter at NJSBA conferences and is a contributing author to many of its publications.
Daniel B. Cooper, Esq. is the managing member of the Law Offices of Kenneth S. Cooper, having joined the practice as a full-time attorney in 2013 after working as a legal assistant in the practice since 2010. Daniel attained his law degree from the Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2013 and is a 2010 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, where he attained a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Both at Temple and at Penn State, Daniel earned Dean’s List honors.
Robin L. Cunconan-Lahr, Esq. is of Counsel to the law firm, Greater Good Legal. She focuses her practice in the representation of families and individuals with disabilities, primarily in special education law matters. She counsels families of children with disabilities, attends IEP meetings, and provides legal representation in negotiations, settlements, and due process hearings. Her work also involves advocacy through education and trainings in such topics as Universal Design for Learning (UDL), inclusive practices in early childhood environments, and family - school collaborations. In addition, Robin is an adjunct faculty member of Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, teaching special education courses to future teachers. In this capacity she has coordinated several federal and state grants providing professional development and pre-service preparations and developing tools and resources including the Building Inclusive Child Care Universal Design for Learning Checklist, referenced and used nationally in the field of early childhood. She has presented at numerous national and state conferences, including CEC and TASH. Throughout her career, Robin has been associated with various disability rights advocacy groups and currently serves as president of the Board of Directors for Mikayla’s Voice, a non-profit organization that inspires children of all abilities to share the message of inclusion.
Sarah Jane DeHaas, Ph.D. is the Martin G. Brumbaugh Professor of Education and Education Department Chair at Juniata College. Dr. DeHaas earned her PhD in Special Education at Pennsylvania State University in 1991, a Master degree in Special Education at Providence College in 1988, and a Bachelor degree in Elementary and Special Education at Slippery Rock State College in 1980. Her areas of interest include preparing general and special education teachers to understand legislation and litigation as they relate to teacher responsibilities and student rights as well as addressing the academic and social needs of students with exceptionalities. Dr. DeHaas served as a Board Member of Easter Seals Central Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators, and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill- Blair County. She presents at annual national conferences. She holds General and Special Education teacher and administrator certifications in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Sarah B. Dragotta, Esq., founded her own law practice in 2002, after a successful career of more than two decades as an educator. Since that time, Ms. Dragotta litigated dozens of cases in State and Federal Court. She polished her courtroom skills in City Hall in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in civil litigation. Ms. Dragotta has represented hundreds of students, teachers and faculty, at every level -- from early childhood to higher education, including for parents and guardians in regular and special education matters. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Ms. Dragotta worked in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in various positions, using her education and clinical skills, in three areas of certification. She served as a Director of Special Education, a Speech and Language Pathologist, and a Teacher of the Hearing Impaired. Sarah joined Latsha Davis & McKenna, P.C. in 2015.
Bradley R. Flynn, Esq. is an attorney with the Philadelphia-based law firm, Montgomery Law, LLC. His current practice involves special education and school law issues, as well as representing students in higher education. He has litigated due process cases both before Pennsylvania’s hearing officers and in New Jersey administrative law courts (the Office of Administrative Law). Mr. Flynn earned his juris doctor from Vermont Law School, and a master’s degree in legal history from Rutgers University. Prior to attending law school, he spent several years working in public schools with children with disabilities.
Ira M. Fingles, Esq. is a partner with Hinkle, Fingles & Prior, Attorneys at Law. He has devoted his entire legal career of over two decades to the representation of individuals with disabilities and their families. His motivation to enter this field stemmed from his experiences with his sister, who has multiple disabilities. He has provided representation in a variety of areas, including educational rights for children with disabilities, benefits and services for adults with disabilities, guardianship, and estate planning. He received his JD from Temple University School of Law in 1992 and is a member of the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida Bars.
Julie B. Fogt, Ed.D. is director of Centennial School of Lehigh University, an Approved Private School located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education at Lehigh University. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Dr. Fogt holds assistant superintendent letter of eligibility, as well as principal, supervisor of pupil personnel services, school psychologist, and elementary education certifications. Dr. Fogt has extensive experience in developing effective school-wide, class-wide and individual positive behavior supports to assist children and adolescents with behavior disorders and routinely consults with school districts, charters, and private schools on those topics. She is the recipient of Lehigh University’s Tradition of Excellence Award, a prestigious award for exemplary character and performance.
Hillary D. Freeman, Esq. is deeply committed to her work representing people with disabilities and their families. As the sister of a man with autism and national speaker in special education matters, she is able to combine personal experience with her legal training to help families advocate for services and supports. She has experience representing clients in special education and Section 504 issues, higher education issues including accommodations on high stakes testing and graduate school admissions tests, guardianship matters, estate planning and adult services. She was named a Rising Star℠ by Super Lawyers & Magazine for from 2013-2018. She has been honored with Robin Sims Trailblazer Award in 2015 and has presented at the United Nations for World Autism Awareness Day. She holds a JD from Widener University School of Law and practices in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Ms. Freeman is a member of Council of Parent and Attorney Advocates ("COPAA"); has been awarded the Community Partnership Award from the Family Resource Network and Family Support Center of New Jersey (2012); former Vice President of Learning Disabilities Association of New Jersey; member of ASCEND: Asperger & Autism Alliance for Greater Philadelphia: Executive Board (2010-Present); Learning Disabilities Association of New Jersey (Professional Advisory Board) (2009-2012); Quest Autism Programs: Human Rights Committee (2009-2010); New Jersey State Bar Association, Elder and Disability Law Section (2008-present); Member of International Dyslexia Association (2006-present); Member of COSAC/Autism New Jersey (2005-present).
Erin Gilsbach, Esq., represents public schools as an attorney with the PA-based law firm of Steckel & Stopp and is the Executive Director of EdLaw Interactive, which provides high-quality live and web-based school law training programs to educators and school leaders nationwide. Erin is a frequent presenter and author for such organizations as the National School Boards Association , NSBA's Counsel of School Attorneys, the Education Law Association, LRP’s National Institute, and the National Business Institute. She currently serves as the President of the PSBA Solicitor’s Association.
Timothy E. Gilsbach, Esq. is an attorney at King Spry in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and is member of the firm’s Education Group, concentrating his practice in the area of special education and student related issues, and Employment Group. For more than ten years, Tim has defended school districts, intermediate units, and charter schools in all phases of special education litigation, from state level administrative hearings to federal court appeals to advising clients on special education matters prior to litigation. Tim also advises clients on a wide variety of other educational law issues, including FERPA, student records, and the issue of medical marijuana, including addressing specific issues as the arise and providing guidance on policies in these areas. Tim is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law and Messiah College. Tim was selected as a Pennsylvania Rising Star in the area of school law from 2012 through 2014 and Pennsylvania Super Lawyer in the area of school law from 2017 through 2019.
Beth Godett, Ed.D., J.D., brings a wide range of experience from education K-12 and at the university level. She has been privileged to serve as a high school and middle school teacher; as principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels; and at the district level as assistant superintendent and superintendent. Beth has been responsible for leading middle school transformations and strategic planning initiatives, as well as for establishing school business partnerships. Her body of work includes, but is not limited to, curriculum design, human resource management, and district compliance in schools across Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Beth currently serves as an adjunct professor teaching school law and consults with school teachers and administrators on legal topics related to education.
Judith Gran, Esq. Prior to joining Reisman Carolla Gran, Ms. Gran practiced law at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia from 1984 to 2009. She served as Director of Disability Projects from 1998 to 2009. She has conducted class action litigation to obtain community services for institutionalized persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Montana, California, Illinois and Tennessee. Her work as counsel for the Arc of Pennsylvania and the plaintiff class during the implementation phase of the consent decree in Halderman v. Pennhurst from 1986 through 1998 led to significant improvements in community service systems in Philadelphia and other counties. Ms. Gran represents special education students in administrative and judicial proceedings in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states, including the class action suit Gaskin v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a case brought to enforce the least restrictive environment mandate of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that is now in the implementation phase.
Ms. Gran is a founding member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates ("COPAA"), a national independent, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization of attorneys, advocates and parents. COPAA's primary mission is to secure high quality educational services for children with disabilities. She served on the COPAA Board of Directors from 1999 to 2008, as chair of the Amicus Committee in 2001-2002 and as Chair of COPAA from 2002 to 2004. Ms. Gran speaks regularly to groups of parents, attorneys, educators, advocates and service providers on topics related to special education, civil rights, and disability rights.
Diane Holben, Ed.D is an Assistant Professor in the Professional and Secondary Education Department. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in education. Over the past five years, Diane has conducted research on civil litigation related to bullying at the K-12 public school level and has published several journal articles on the topic. Prior to her employment at ESU, Diane completed a 30-year career in public education, serving as a high school teacher, assessment and accountability director, and assistant superintendent in several Pennsylvania school districts. She is currently studying the ultimate outcomes of bullying litigation claims and beginning a study of state efforts to support social-emotional learning instruction in schools.
Heather M. Hulse, J.D., M.S., M.A. is a shareholder with McAndrews Law Offices, P.C., in their Scranton area office where she contributes her diverse educational and professional background. She has been a member of the firm since May of 1999. Ms. Hulse’s practice consists of Special Education Law. With over fifteen years of experience, she has broad knowledge in the area of Special Education. In addition, Ms. Hulse’s extensive background in the area of psychology provides her with considerable understanding of students with learning differences. While pursuing her Juris Doctor, Ms. Hulse was a student attorney at the Center for Child Advocates in Philadelphia where she developed a research proposal on measurable outcomes and strategies for child advocacy for children with special education needs. The purpose of the proposal was to evaluate the work of child advocate attorneys and to achieve improved quality of special education for children involved with the child welfare system. As part of her Master’s program at Drexel University, Ms. Hulse presented on “Factors Determining the Efficacy of Alternative Education Programs” at the American Psychological Law Society Conference. In addition to her current legal practice, Ms. Hulse has extensive experience in psychology, including the administration of forensic psychological evaluations and providing therapy to children and adolescents. She is a graduate of Villanova University school of Law, J.D.; Drexel University, M.S. (Clinical Psychology); Marywood University, M.S. (Psychology); and West Virginia University, B.A. (Psychology).
Claudia Huot, Esq. concentrates her practice in the area of School Law. Ms Huot is a partner at Wisler Pearlstine, LCC, where she represents school districts, charter schools and educational management organizations, particularly in the areas of special education and student rights. She advises clients in many aspects of school law and special education law, including representation in administrative proceedings, appeals and litigation in state and federal court. Ms. Huot represented educational management organizations in contract negotiations with the School District of Philadelphia, with regard to delivery of special education services. She also successfully defended her school district clients in federal court appeals addressing a variety of special education issues, including the statue of limitations under the IDEA. She regularly makes legal presentations to school district clients, prepares written materials and plans and presents at seminars regarding school law matters. Ms. Huot has extensive experience in general litigation, having tried cases to verdict in federal and state courts in Pennsylvania.
Stephen J. Jacobson, Esq., Psy. D. is a founding member and current Managing Partner of Jacobson & John LLP. Originally from Loveland, Colorado, Dr. Jacobson graduated cum laude from Colorado State University with a degree in Psychology in 1991.
In 1998, Dr. Jacobson earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology cum laude from Widener University, and concurrently earned a law degree cum laude from the Widener University School of Law. Immediately following law school, Dr. Jacobson was employed by the United States District Attorneys’ Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and by the Center for Psychotherapy Research at the University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to representing students with special needs throughout Pennsylvania, Dr. Jacobson was a partner in a Bucks County law firm that focused exclusively on education law, where he represented school districts in a multitude of special education matters for nearly a decade. Dr. Jacobson has presented extensively on both special and general education topics across Pennsylvania to educators, parents, attorneys and hearing officers.
Dr. Jacobson served as co-chairman of the Exceptional Children Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association from 2012 to the start of 2016. He has been selected as a 2016 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters, a rating service of outstanding attorneys.
Charles W. Jelley, Esq. LL.M. received his undergraduate and master degree from Slippery Rock University. Mr. Jelley then received his first law degree from Duquesne Law School, and received his second law degree an LL.M. in Health Law, from the University of Loyola School of Law, Institute for Health Law in Chicago, Illinois. From 1980–1991, Mr. Jelley worked for Westmoreland County ARC, first as a lay advocate, then as the Director of Educational and Legislative Advocacy, and then for a short period of time after graduating from law school as the Executive Director.
Mr. Jelley was the Co-Editor of the Health Law Institute’s first health law journal, The Annuals of Health Law. In 1991, Mr. Jelley’s LLM Thesis focused the application the anti discrimination provision in Section 504, the Americans’ with Disability Act and the Employee Retirement Income Security Action (ERISA) as applied to persons with disability accessing health insurance. After graduating from Loyola, Mr. Jelley worked as a consultant to the Chiropractic Legal Defense Fund, in Englewood Colorado.
In April of 1993, Mr. Jelley joined the Law Office of Margaret Tremba and resumed his school law practice in Westmoreland County. Mr. Jelley’s practice focused on children’s issues, school law, juvenile justice, children and youth services, health law, disability law, Medical Assistance issues, community services, estate planning for families of persons with disabilities, civil rights litigation, ERISA litigation and legislative analysis and policy analysis for persons with disabilities.
In the past, Mr. Jelley severed as the Solicitor for the Parent Education Network, the first IDEA Pennsylvania Parent Training initiative. Mr. Jelley severed as the solicitor for the American Red Cross in Westmoreland County. Mr. Jelley, was the first solicitor for Westmoreland Case Management and Supports Inc. Westmoreland Casemanagement and Supports, Inc. is a non-profit organization leading the way in helping to integrate people with health or intellectual disabilities into our community. In 1999, Mr. Jelley, also acted as the lead lawyer in incorporating the Spectrum Charter School. Spectrum Charter school, located in Monroeville Pennsylvania, provides a structured program to meet the needs of students who do not learn well in the typical classroom setting due to unique cognitive, communication, and sensory challenges including persons falling on the autism spectrum disorder. Mr. Jelley is the past Co-Chairman of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Exceptional Children’s Committee. Mr. Jelley is also a past member of the Westmoreland County Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Westmoreland County Ned Nakles Inns of Court.
Michael F. Kaelber, Esq. is the Coordinator for Online Course Development for LEGAL ONE NJPSA/FEA. He is currently an education law consultant, retiring in July 2017 from his position of Director of Legal and Labor Relations Services Department of the New Jersey School Boards Association after over 29 years of service to the Association. Mr. Kaelber is currently doing project work for various educational organizations, including but not limited to, the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials, the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and the New Jersey Association for Gifted Children. A member of the NJSBA legal staff since March 1988, he previously served as an associate with the Woodbridge, New Jersey law firm of Hutt, Berkow and Jankowski and was a mathematics teacher and coach in the Woodbridge Township school district from 1973 through 1986. He served as staff liaison to several NJSBA committees, co-authored numerous NJSBA publications and was, and continues to be, a frequent presenter on school law issues at programs sponsored by the NJSBA and other educational and legal organizations. He has been a part of the Lehigh University Special Education and Law Conference for close to 30 years and believes that Perry Zirkel is the best education law presenter he has ever seen.
Mr. Kaelber is a 1973 graduate of Lafayette College, A.B. Math, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, Rutgers University, M.S. Statistics, 1977 and Rutgers University School of Law, J.D., 1986. He is a recipient of the New Jersey Association of School Attorneys Distinguished Service Award and is a member of the New Jersey Association for Gifted Children Hall of Fame. He has been a high school basketball official for over 35 years and has been member of North Jersey Board 33 of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials since 1981 and has been an Executive Board member since 2000, currently serving as President. Mr. Kaelber lives in Woodbridge with his wife Patricia, a retired business education teacher from the Woodbridge Township school system, a graduate of Rider University, B.S. Business Education and The College of New Jersey M.Ed. Business and Distributive Education. Daughter Kelli, a 2004 graduate of Albright College, cum laude, Kean University M.A. Education with distinction, 2009, and a second grade teacher in the Woodbridge Township school system resides in Middletown with her husband Len Schaefer and sons Brayden Michael and Landon Kellen.
Son Brian, a May 2010 graduate of DeSales University, B.A. Mathematics, and a high school mathematics teacher and soccer and baseball coach in the Woodbridge Township school system resides in Colonia with his wife Elizabeth.
Paul C. Kalac, Esq. concentrates his practice in the areas of education law, public sector labor law and administrative law. He represents public boards of education in all areas affecting their operation, with a focus on special education law and labor negotiations.Paul has practiced school law for over seventeen (17) years with specific emphasis on special education law and labor negotiations.
In the area of special education, Paul has appeared countless times before the Office of Administrative Law in the State’s three (3) vicinages located in Trenton, Newark and Atlantic City, New Jersey. He has tried scores of special education cases to their conclusion for the legal benefit of the respective boards of education he represented. Paul has also participated in hundreds of mediation sessions throughout the State. As such, he has a distinct advantage in that he is fully familiar with the Mediators’ styles to reach resolution of disputed matters. Paul has capitalized on those styles during mediations to reach settlements that are beneficial to his clients and the education of the child at issue.
Josh Kershenbaum, Esq. is the owner and co-founder of Frankel & Kershenbaum, LLC, a law firm representing the legal rights of children and students. Josh brings a unique combination of passion, intellect and experience to his comprehensive education- and family-focused practice. His clients benefit not only from his extensive litigation experience, but from the valuable perspective and knowledge he gained in his previous career as a teacher in a public elementary school. Today, Josh represents children and families in matters ranging from special education law, school discipline and truancy, bullying and discrimination, child-centered personal injury, and the Constitutional rights of students. He also represents college and graduate students in disputes with institutions of higher education.
In addition to maintaining his busy practice, Josh is a frequent author and lecturer. He is a contributing writer to MetroKids magazine; developed and taught a Special Education Law Seminar as an Adjunct Professor at Temple University Beasley School of Law; and trains parents, attorneys and other advocates in all aspects of special education law. Josh has also appeared on WHYY’s “Voices in the Family” with Dr. Dan Gottleib, WOGL’s “Philadelphia Agenda” with Brad Segal, and the podcast, "Good Law Bad Law" with attorney Aaron Freiwald.
Josh is a frequent presenter at local and national conferences and seminars, including for the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), Lehigh University, Pennsylvania State University, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Gina MacFalls Ed.D. holds bachelors (1988) and masters (1990) degrees in special education from the Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate (2002) in Educational Leadership from the same institution. Dr. MacFalls has been employed as the Director of Special Education for the Bellefonte Area School District since October, 2007. Prior to her position there, Dr. MacFalls had been employed as the director of special education in the Williamsport Area School District for over 8 years. She has also served as a supervisor of IU8’s emotional support programs, gifted programs, and has worked as a teacher of students with emotional disturbance in urban settings. She currently teaches adjunct graduate and undergraduate courses for Wilson College and Penn State University.
Bridget O'Connell, Ed.D. has served as the Superintendent of the Palisades School District (Bucks County, PA) since August 2011. During her tenure she has demonstrated student-centered leadership with a focus on promoting academic excellence, customized learning and community partnerships. As superintendent, she has received leadership awards from the Red Cross, National School Development Council, Blended Schools Network, and she was named a top five Superintendent to watch in 2015 by the National Academy of Education Arts and Sciences. In addition, she has collaborated with colleagues at both Google NYC and the U.S. Department of Education on issues related to technology in education. She is a member of the St. Luke’s Quakertown Hospital Board of Trustees and the Upper Bucks YMCA Board of Directors. Dr. O’Connell earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees from Lehigh University where she remains actively involved as an adjunct professor in the College of Education and a correspondent for the Class of 1995.
Shannon R. Pierce, Esq. is an associate in the Education Law Group of Fox Rothschild LLP. She represents school district and intermediate unit clients in a variety of education law matters with a focus on special education. Shannon provides hands-on guidance to clients before encountering litigation and regularly represents clients in due process hearings and federal appeals in matters involving the IDEA, Pennsylvania School Code, student discipline and inclusive education practices. She has also handled cases involving gifted education, testing accommodations, special needs trusts and estate planning, and guardianship petitions. Shannon earned her J.D. with honors from the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law and her B.A. from the Pennsylvania State University Schreyer Honors College.
David B. Rubin, Esq. is a sole practitioner in Metuchen, New Jersey, and also of counsel to The Busch Law Group LLC. A graduate of Duke University and Rutgers School of Law –Newark, Mr. Rubin represents public school districts and private schools throughout New Jersey, and has argued numerous precedent-setting cases at all levels of the state and federal court system generating over 50 published judicial opinions. He has served as President of the New Jersey Association of School Attorneys, Chair of the National School Boards Association’s Council of School Attorneys, Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s School Law and Professional Responsibility and Unlawful Practice Committees, and is a frequent lecturer and author in the field of education law. Mr. Rubin is listed in SuperLawyers Magazine and Best Lawyers in America, holds the AV rating from the Martindale Hubbell Legal Directory, has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America as Lawyer of the Year in the field of legal ethics (Newark Region), and is a recipient of Distinguished Service awards from the NSBA Council of School Attorneys and the New Jersey Association of School Attorneys.
R. Taylor Ruilova, Esq. concentrates his practice in the representation of public and private/independent schools and other members of the educational community. Taylor’s education practice includes student matters, construction issues, renewable energy projects, public contracts and bidding, contract review and preparation, budgetary issues, labor and employment, and union negotiations. Taylor also works extensively with clients in the management of special education issues and litigations. Taylor has successfully litigated a variety of matters in several states and in New Jersey before the Office of Administrative Law, the Superior Court and the Appellate Division.
In addition to his general education law practice, Taylor has served as an Adjunct Professor for Fairleigh Dickinson University teaching School Law, as well as regularly lecturing and providing in-service trainings to education professionals throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania on a wide range of school law topics, including board of education ethics, special education, Section 504, QSAC compliance, administrative issues, pupil residency, and pupil discipline.
Jennifer Y. Sang , Esq., a partner at Berney & Sang. She focuses her practice on education law. In 2015, The Legal Intelligencer named Jennifer a Lawyer on the Fast Track. And in 2017, the Philadelphia Magazine named her one of the best attorneys under the age of 40 in Pennsylvania practicing special education law. Jennifer earned her Juris Doctor from Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2008, where she served as a Notes & Comments Editor of the Temple Journal of Science, Technology & Environmental Law. Prior to joining Berney & Sang, Jennifer served as a fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA where she participated in constitutional litigation.
Brooke E.D. Say, Esq. is the Chair of Stock and Leader’s School Law Group and practices in the areas of education (school) and employment law. In her school practice, she advises school districts in special education, gifted, discipline, labor and employment, and civil rights matters. She counsels her clients through internal compliance audits and defends them in administrative hearings and federal litigation. She represents school districts before various administrative bodies.
Dr. Gina R. Scala is chair of the Special Education/Rehabilitation Department at East Stroudsburg University. In addition to teaching at the undergraduate/graduate level, she is a student teacher coordinator and works within the Partnership of Professional Development Schools. She has been appointed to the Special Education Advisory Panel by the Governor, as well as numerous state appointed committees on monitoring, certification, and mental health professional guidelines. Dr. Scala has been appointed as Research Liaison to the Executive Committee of the International Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE). She continues to consult with many districts, provide in-service training, present at many local, state, and national conferences, and maintains membership in many state and national organizations. She is a recent recipient of an OSEP grant for training of Highly Qualified Secondary Special Education teachers. She has been selected to be a member of the Office of Dispute Resolution Stakeholder group. She is also involved in the Creating Agreement initiative at the state and federal level. Previously, she held a variety of positions at Centennial School/Lehigh University. She is a wife and mother of two daughters.
Sandy Shacklady-White, M.Ed. has been employed since May 2017 as an educational consultant with the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN). Her main areas of focus at PaTTAN are: procedural safeguards, behavior, and special education leadership. Previously she was employed as a supervisor of special education in two public school districts. She was a special education teacher for 18 years in both a residential treatment facility and a public school.
Nicole D. Snyder, Esq. is a Shareholder at Latsha Davis & McKenna. She represents numerous schools in special education law, education law and charter school law. She routinely advises and represents schools in cases arising under IDEA and Section 504 and regularly conducts trainings for school personnel and school boards. Ms. Snyder is a member of PBI’s Legal Services for Exceptional Children’s Committee, the Education Law Association, Alliance of Public Charter School Attorneys, American Educational Research Association, iNACOL and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. She has lectured and presented published articles at various seminars on special education law, education law and ethics. Ms. Snyder has been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. She received her BA in English and her J.D. from Villanova University. Prior to joining private practice, Ms. Snyder served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter of the Commonwealth Court and served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Juan R. Sánchez when he presided over matters for the Chester County Court of Common Pleas.
Brian E. Subers, Esq. is a partner in the Education Law Group of Fox Rothschild LLP. He has represented numerous school entities as Solicitor and Special Counsel for more than twenty-five years. Brian currently leads the firm’s special education team, supervising six attorneys who focus their practices on special education from the child find and IEP processes through due process and state and federal court appeals. He also has extensive experience in general education, school construction, procurement, technology, charter school, student and employment matters. A past co-chair of the firm’s Construction Law Practice, Brian has extensive experience representing public and private sector owners in major construction renovation projects, having served as general construction counsel or special counsel on more than fifty major construction projects with a value of more than $750 million. He has successfully represented architects, developers, contractors and subcontractors in the defense and prosecution of complex construction claims. Brian earned his J.D. from the Widener University School of Law and his B.A. from Villanova University.
Dr. Harold M. Tarriff Ed.D. has an extensive background as a Special Education Administrator, in both public and private schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Minnesota spanning 45 years. He holds a doctorate in Special Education from Rutgers University and is a retired Director of Special Services, having also worked as an Elementary School Principal. He currently works as an adjunct professor for The College of New Jersey, a Due Process Hearing Panel Member in Delaware, and professional development speaker. He is known to bring a pragmatic approach, along with his vast experience, to all situations.
Mark W. Voigt, Esq. has over 30 years’ experience as a litigator. From 1996 until 2002, he represented public school districts statewide in a variety of education law matters at a small firm. Since then, Mr. Voigt has represented parents of special needs children throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey in legal and administrative actions under the IDEA and Section 504. He has extensive state and federal trial and appellate experience. Mr. Voigt has appeared on MSNBC and Fox and Friends and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other publications on education law matters. He has also lectured throughout Pennsylvania on special education and school law issues. Mr. Voigt is co-author of Municipal Liability in Pennsylvania (1st and 2nd Editions). He is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Georgia, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals and various US District Courts. Mr. Voigt received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History/ Government from the College of William and Mary in 1983. He earned his law degree at Emory University School of Law in 1986. He is a member of several bar associations. His office is in Plymouth Meeting, PA.
Jane M. Williams, Esq. is a partner with Sweet,Stevens,Katz & Williams, LLP, a law firm representing public school entities in Pennsylvania in all facets of educational law. With over 25 years in practice, Jane Williams is among the most experienced attorneys providing representation in special education and student matters. She has served as a hearing officer and advisor to school boards in student expulsion matters, and provided school district boards with in-service programs concerning special education and pupil services. She provides both proactive and defense representation to school entities in all phases of special education litigation.
She is a well-regarded speaker and consultant on special education and other education law-related topics, having lectured statewide to a variety of organizations consisting of both educators and attorneys. She has served for years as a planning committee member of the Lehigh University College of Education Special Education Law Symposium, and participated as a moderator and presenter over the years. She has served in several leadership roles in the Pennsylvania School Board Solicitors Association, including that of President.
Ms. Williams is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and admitted to the Bar of Pennsylvania, United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania, and the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. She received her J.D. from Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia, B.A. from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, and A.A. from Sullins College, Bristol, Virginia.
D. Daniel Woody, Esq. of the Woody Law Offices, P.C. in Media, PA graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2010, where he was an editor of the school’s Water Law Review. Prior to law school he studied multi-cultural education at Eastern University and taught special education in the School District of Philadelphia. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Penn State University in 2006, where he focused his studies on child psychology and worked with his professors researching, as well as counseling, “at-risk youth.”
John K. Worthington, Esq. is a consultant for Legal One at NJPSA/NJFEA. John recently retired as Director of the Office of Special Education Policy and Procedure in the New Jersey Department of Education, where he was responsible, under federal statute and regulations, to operate a system of general supervision and monitor the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 in New Jersey. As director of OSEPP, John oversaw the operation of multiple systems, including: Monitoring; Dispute Resolution; Complaint Investigation; Distribution and oversight of the IDEA Part B Grant; Oversight of Approved Private Schools for Students with Disabilities; Development of Policy, Guidance, and Administrative Code; and Special Education Data collection and analysis.
Prior to becoming director of OSEPP, Mr. Worthington worked in several positions in his 30 years with the State of New Jersey, including Manager, Bureau of Policy and Planning in the OSEPP, Coordinator of Dispute Resolution and Policy in the OSEPP, Director of State Board Appeals, Hearing Examiner and Editor in the Office of Controversies and Disputes, and ten years as a New Jersey Deputy Attorney General, representing the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services.
Liliana Yazno-Bartle, Esq. is a senior associate attorney at THE LAW OFFICES OF CARYL ANDREA OBERMAN, LLC. She has been with Ms. Oberman’s firm since 1997, concentrating on legal issues of persons with disabilities and their families, education rights, estate planning, guardianship, and testing accommodations. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA), Montgomery County Bar Association and is an author and frequent lecturer to the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Lehigh University Special Education Law Conference and various parent groups in Pennsylvania. Ms. Yazno-Bartle served as the President of Pennsylvania Education for All Coalition (PEAC) from 2013 through 2018, a non-profit organization designed to promote inclusion practices in Pennsylvania. She is a board member of the Arc Alliance where she also serves on the Guardianship Services Board, the Chat-n-Chew Parent Training Committee and a member of the DELVAL Guardianship Association at the Arc Alliance. Ms. Yazno-Bartle was appointed and served as the chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Legal Services for Exceptional Children Committee from 2016 through 2018 and is a regular course planner for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Autism Conference. Ms. Yazno-Bartle also serves as a volunteer attorney for the Wills for Heroes Foundation, a program devoted to providing free Wills and other estate planning documents for Pennsylvania’s emergency first responders. In addition to her professional affiliations, Ms. Yazno-Bartle serves as a Kids Ministry volunteer for the First Baptist Church of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Before joining Ms. Oberman’s firm, she was a staff attorney at Legal Aid of Chester County, Inc. in West Chester for over four years where the primary emphasis of her practice concentrated on Domestic Relations, Landlord-Tenant, Public Benefits and Bankruptcy. She received her B.S. with Honors in Economics from Rutgers University, Cook College in 1989 and her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law, where she was president and co-founder of the Latin American Law Students Association. Ms. Yazno-Bartle was born in Colombia, South America and is fluent in Spanish.
Dr. Perry Zirkel is university professor emeritus of education and law at Lehigh University, where he formerly was dean of the College of Education and, subsequently, Iacocca Chair in Education for its five-year term. He has a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut, and a Master of Laws degree from Yale University. He has authored more than 1550 publications. He writes a regular column for the Exceptionality journal, Principal magazine and NASP's Communiqué. He served as president of the Education Law Association and co-chair of the Pennsylvania special education appeals panel from 1990 to 2007. In 2012, he received Research into Practice Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Excellence in Research Award from AERA’s Division A (Administration, Organization & Leadership). In 2013, he received the University Council for Educational Administration’s Edwin Bridges award for significant contributions to the preparation and development of school leaders. In 2016, he received the ELA’s Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law. He shares a monthly special education law update and various publications via his website perryzirkel.com
Aimee R. Zundel, Esq., is a partner with the law firm of Weiss Burkardt Kramer, LLC. She has focused her entire career on the practice of education law, with particular emphasis in the areas of student services and special education. Her work includes day-to-day compliance advising as well as advocacy for school district clients at all levels of state and federal litigation. Ms. Zundel also has extensive experience advising clients on school policy matters, including the development of policies to address new legislation. She has been a frequent presenter of professional development sessions for school district administrators and staff on a variety of topics, including special education law, Title IX, and student discipline. Ms. Zundel graduated magna cum laude from the University of Mount Union with a B.A. in Sociology. She obtained her law degree from The University of Pittsburgh in 2008, where she participated as Senior Research Editor for The University of Pittsburgh Law Review. Ms. Zundel is a member of the ACBA’s Association of School and Municipal Solicitors and the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Exceptional Children’s Committee.