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Speakers | Breakout Sessions


Spring ICASE 2022

Education as a Critical Infrastructure: A Leadership Development Series

Dr. Liz Bettini


Session: How Working Conditions Influence Special Educators' Efforts To Serve Students with Disabilities, Especially Students with Emotional & Behavioral Disabilities

Dr. Liz Bettini, Boston University Education Program at BU Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. Her research examines how working conditions influence special educators’ efforts to effectively serve students with disabilities, especially students with emotional and behavioral disabilities (EBD). Currently, Dr. Bettini is working on several research projects investigating the consequences and predictors of novice special educators’ perceptions that their workloads are manageable. She previously taught students with EBD in self-contained and inclusive settings in Arizona and Connecticut. 

Dr. Bonnie Billingsley

Session: Cultivating & Keeping Committed Special Education Teachers: What Principals & District Leaders Can Do

Dr. Bonnie S. Billingsley is a faculty member in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Virginia Tech. She has taught a range of courses over the last fifteen years in the areas of learning disabilities, emotional disorders, and the administration and supervision of special education. Dr. Billingsley began her career in special education teaching students with disabilities in both Tallahassee and St. Augustine, Florida. She also served as district supervisor of special education in both St. Augustine, Florida and in Roanoke City, Virginia. Dr. Billingsley’s research interests are in the preparation, support, and retention of special education teachers. Her interests in retention are focused on workplace conditions and the induction of new teachers. Dr. Billingsley has published numerous articles in leading journals on special education teacher retention, teacher support, and the needs of beginning special education teachers. She has served as a consultant in the area of special education teacher retention to various professional organizations, school systems, state departments of education, research groups, and universities and has been an invited speaker at various conferences.

Dr. Mollie Bolton

Session: Accelerating Competence: Teacher and Paraprofessional Induction Program

Dr. Mollie Bolton is the Executive Director of Teaching, Learning and Accountability at the Special School District of St. Louis County. In this role, the divisions of professional learning, applied behavior analysis, equity, curriculum, family engagement and evaluation and research are supervised by this office. 30 years in the field of education have provided a host of opportunities from special education teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, curriculum coordinator and executive director as well as adjunct faculty for area universities in undergraduate and graduate studies in special education and reading. Mollie is a trainer for several instructional programs including, Wilson Language Systems, Corrective Reading, REWARDS, and Step up to Writing. Mollie also works for a non-for-profit organization to support children who have Down’s Syndrome and their families. Mollie holds a Doctoral and Education Specialist Degree from Missouri Baptist University and a Master’s in Special Education and Bachelor's in Psychology from Truman State University.

Tina Maksche

Session: Accelerating Competence: Teacher and Paraprofessional Induction Program

Tina Maksche is the Director of Professional Learning at the Special School District St. Louis County. In collaboration with universities and professional learning administrators from 22 partnering districts she coordinates the design and implementation of the district's induction program aimed at accelerating the talent and growth of newly certified special education teachers and Paraprofessionals. For more than 25 years Tina has worked in education as a special education teacher, instructional facilitator, mentor and in recent years as a coordinator and director for professional learning. Tina is an Agency Trainer for Adaptive Schools through Thinking Collaborative and a graduate of the Learning Forward Academy class of 2019. Tina holds a master’s degree in education from Lindenwood University and a master’s degree in school administration from the University of Missouri St. Louis.

Dr. Cheryl Bremmber


Session: College & University School of Education Deans: Ensuring Graduates Are Ready to Be Successful Teachers

Dr. Cheryl Bremer serves as dean of the School of Education at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. For the past 15 years, Bremer has held positions as chair of the special education department, director of intense intervention, and most recently as dean. Before coming to Grace College, she taught special education for 10 years at Wawasee Community School Corporation and Warsaw Community Schools. She also owned and operated a Kindermusik Studio for 10 years. Cheryl earned bachelor of science degrees in music education, special education and oboe performance from Grace College. She received her masters of science in special education at Indiana University and her doctor of education in special education at Regent University. Upon graduation from Regent University, she received the Award of Excellence for the Outstanding Doctoral Graduate. In 2012 and 2020, she was awarded the Indiana Special Education Professor of the Year through the Indiana Council for Exceptional Children. Dr. Bremer lives in Winona Lake with her husband Chris and youngest son who is a senior in high school. She enjoys all things coffee and chocolate and loves spoiling Hazel, the family Cockapoo.

Dr. Anand Marri


Session: College & University School of Education Deans: Ensuring Graduates Are Ready to Be Successful Teachers

Ball State University Dean of Education

Dr. Leah Nellis


Session: College & University School of Education Deans: Ensuring Graduates Are Ready to Be Successful Teachers

Indiana University Kokomo Dean of Education

Dr. LaTonya Turner


Session: College & University School of Education Deans: Ensuring Graduates Are Ready to Be Successful Teachers

Dr. LaTonya Turner is currently associate director of the Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership. Prior to her work with the academy, she served in a number of administrative roles at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School including vice president for student life and leadership, principal and director of academic counseling. Turner was the first African-American principal at Brebeuf Jesuit. Turner holds a master of science degree in education from Indiana University and is a member of the academy’s first cohort. She has directed a number of task forces and chaired numerous committees. Her extensive 20-year experience in education includes teaching and counseling at the secondary and collegiate levels.

Dr. Brian Dinkins


Session: Sharing the WHY & Magic of the Profession

Dr. Brian Dinkins is a rising professional development trainer, keynote, and motivational speaker for the Center for Empowering Education where he serves as CEO. Brian teaches future principals in the educational leadership program at Marian & Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. Raised by a single mother in the inner city of Indianapolis, he achieved poorly graduating with a 1.9gpa but with support of Indianapolis Public School teachers, coaches, and mentors, earned a B.A. from Purdue University, two master’s degrees, Ed.S, and doctorate in educational leadership. His dissertation research focuses on the "Emotional Intelligence of Teachers, Impact on the Discipline Outcomes of African American Male Students in Urban Schools. Dr. Dinkins has served as turnaround principal in four high poverty schools, including traditional, charter, and private schools and has committed his work to serving children and families in need.

Christopher Dudick


Session: Panel of Partners in Education: How to Give Services When You Don't Have Staff

Chis is CEO at SiLAS and an Emmy award-winning producer, educator and entrepreneur. Chris’s passion for education and animation led him to develop SiLAS, a game-based social and emotional learning platform. SiLAS is a one stop shop for teachers and an engaging simulation platform for all students.

Megan Horsley


Session: Panel of Partners in Education: How to Give Services When You Don't Have Staff

Megan Horsley is a content expert and Client Success coordinator. She earned her BS in Elementary and Special Education, her Master’s of Special Education and Director of Exceptional Needs License. Most recently she received certification in Applied Educational Neuroscience. Megan spent 17 years in the public school system. She is a standout in her field due to a variety of experiences, extensive education, and commitment to advocate for ALL students.

Dr. Lucy Fischman

Session: Grown Your Own: Pathways to Licensure

Dr. Lucy Fischman currently works as a district coordinator, trainer and coach with the Indiana Center on Teacher Quality at IU Bloomington's Center for Education and Lifelong Learning, focused on embedding UDL in seven rural Indiana districts. As an independent education consultant, she developed and initiated the Pathway to Teacher Licensure programs in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. and Monroe County Community Schools, a research-based "Grow Your Own" degree program for full time paraeducators. Her work at the Southern Indiana Education Center in Jasper involves a learning acceleration grant around building collective efficacy and teacher credibility, as well as developing a collaborative instructional coach training series. All of her current work is grounded in the 15 years of experience she had in MCCSC as a middle school social studies teacher and elementary principal. She co-authored the forthcoming article "Using Implementation Science as an Instructional Framework to Increase Teacher Capacity for Instructional Access for Students with Disabilities" for the Journal of Disability Policy Studies, Special Issue (with Dr. Sandi Cole and Dr. Hardy Murphy) expected to be published in 2022.

Dr. Katie Jenner


Katie Jenner, Ed. D., was appointed as Indiana’s first Secretary of Education by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, effective January 11, 2021. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Jenner served as Senior Education Advisor to Governor Holcomb where she provided guidance on statewide policy and initiatives for preschool, K-12, and higher education.

Dr. Jenner began her career in K-12 public education as a Career and Technical Education teacher in Kentucky. After moving to Indiana, she held various administrator roles, including assistant superintendent, for Madison Consolidated Schools. Dr. Jenner later served as the Vice President of K-12 Initiatives and Statewide Partnerships for Ivy Tech Community College where she led statewide strategies and formed partnerships between K-12 education, Career Centers, and Ivy Tech.

Dr. Jenner earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Transylvania University in Kentucky, a Master's Degree in Business Education from the University of Kentucky, an M.B.A. through a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship at Indiana State University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Jenner is committed to ensuring all students are prepared for the competitive realities of our 21st century economy. She and her IDOE team will build capacity, spark innovation and forge partnerships at all levels of Indiana's PK-12 education system to support educators and empower families.

Dr. Jenner and her husband, Joe, live in Madison with their twin sixth-grade girls who attend Madison Consolidated Schools.

Dr. Nancy Holsapple


Session: Indiana Office of Special Education Update

My name is Nancy Holsapple, and I am the State Special Education Director at Indiana Department of Education. I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University. My master’s degree, Education Specialist, and Ph.D. from Indiana State University. I hold a teaching license in Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Mild Mentally Handicapped, and Emotional Disability. I began my teaching career in 1986 and I’ve taught grades K-12. I was the Special Education Director at Old National Trail Special Services Inter-Local for fifteen years. I have thirty-five years of experience in special education. I was appointed the Special Education Director for the Department of Education in June 2018 by Governor Holcomb. In November, I was elected to serve on the National Association of State Special Education Directors (NASDSE) national organization for a two-year term. I am a current member of Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

My husband and I live on an operating farm in Northern Putnam County. Brien and I have two children, Emmett, and Emma.

John O’Connor

Session: Providing Ongoing Training, Coaching, & Collaboration: Steps 8 & 9 of Great Instruction

John O’Connor led school improvement initiatives at the state and local level during his 30 years in public education. He started his career as a special education teacher serving students with orthopedic impairments in elementary and middle schools. Since that time, he held a variety of administrative positions. For nine years while working at the Georgia Department of Education, he led state-wide initiatives to improve the achievement and learning of students with disabilities. He also served in local districts as an Assistant Director for Special Education, Executive Director for Special Services, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Director for Interventions. John has written five books, including his most recent, the 2nd Edition of Great Instruction Great Achievement for Students with Disabilities: A Road Map for Special Education Administrators. He also co-write a textbook chapter, a desk guide and numerous articles. Since his retirement, John has provided training, school visits, and coaching to hundreds of groups ranging from Hawaii to South Carolina.

Dr. Erica McCray


Session: Intentionally Enhancing the Educator Development Infrastructure: How the CEEDAR Center Can Help

Dr. Erica D. McCray is Director & Associate Professor in the School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies at the University of Florida. She earned her doctorate at the University of South Florida, Tampa. Dr. McCray’s experience as a special educator for students with behavioral and learning disabilities in elementary and middle school settings led to her interest in issues of equity and diversity. Dr. McCray is currently co-principal investigator of the CEEDAR Center, an Office of Special Education Programs funded technical assistance project as well as a National Science Foundation research project to broaden participation in engineering.

Dr. Meg Kamman


Session: Intentionally Enhancing the Educator Development Infrastructure: How the CEEDAR Center Can Help

Dr. Meg Kamman is an associate scholar at the University of Florida in the department of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Education. She serves as the co-director for the CEEDAR Center. In this role, Dr. Kamman provides leadership in the center that serves 25 states and assists state teams, which include policymakers and educator preparation faculty in developing systems to ensure effective teachers and leaders for each student with a disability. Dr. Kamman also leads CEEDAR’s technology and targeted technical assistance team which ensures CEEDAR’s network of states have opportunities to collaborate virtually. Additionally, Dr. Kamman has previously served as the project coordinator for National Center to Inform Policy and Practice in Special Education Professional Development (NCIPP), a technical assistance center focused on induction and mentoring for special education teachers. Dr. Kamman has a decade of classroom teaching experience in special education, including credentials for principal leadership.

Denona Pryor


Session: More than just words: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion


Dr. Luann L. Purcell

Session: Retain Teachers with CEC Resources & Networks
Session:
Leading By Convening: A Framework for Engaging Thought-Partners

Luann L. Purcell, Ed.D. currently is president of Luann Purcell, LLC where she consults and is a strategic analyst for educational and associational organizations. Her tag sums up her current professional philosophy: Learning, Leading, and Progressing! She recently retired as the Executive Director of the International Council of Administrators of Special Education, Inc (CASE), a division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). CASE recently established the Dr. Luann Purcell Scholarship in her honor to be used to continue the education of rising special education administrators. In her position as the Chief Executive Officer of an international professional organization of school administrators whose primary responsibility is in leadership of special education programs for children, her major job responsibilities included: consulting and advising administrators on best practices for leadership and development of quality programs for students with disabilities; assisting members in developing networking systems through state, provincial, and country units in order to provide better services to members; advocating at the governmental level to assure appropriate legislation to facilitate the development and maintenance of quality programs for students with disabilities; and providing Keynote/breakout sessions and presentations at state, provincial, and regional conferences on leadership, legislative/policy updates, attitude adjustment, the passion in compassion, and other current education issues. From 2002-2020, she keynoted and led sessions in over 48 states and 4 foreign countries on various educational issues and the development of proactive leadership skills in times of change. She is one of the authors of Leading by Convening: A Blueprint for Authentic Engagement and worked extensively with state and provincial CASE units to implement this model of sustainable change by authentically engaging cross stakeholders. Dr. Purcell has had a variety of experiences throughout her 48 years in education including experience as a general education teacher at both high school and middle school level, teacher of students with emotional and behavioral disorders, coordinator at a regional educational service center, and assistant superintendent for pupil services for 18 years in a local district with 27,000 students. Luann has been very active in CEC from the chapter level through the international level and believes strongly in the local chapter as a way to promote teacher retention and quality! Since 1990, Dr. Purcell has served the education community in adjunct instructor positions for various higher education institutions including Georgia College and University, Fort Valley State University, Troy State University, and currently Piedmont College. Dr. Purcell was appointed in 2006 by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to the Early Care and Learning State Board which she chaired and has served on through reappointments by Governors Deal and Kemp to present day. She has been involved over the years in many community service activities and is very involved in her church, currently teaching an adult couples Sunday School class as well as being director of missions at the church and associational level. Dr. Purcell received her bachelor’s degree in History and English at Georgia Southern University, her Masters’ and Specialists Degrees in Special Education as well as her doctorate in Educational Administration from University of Georgia. In her real life, she has been married to Douglas Purcell, a retired educator, for 49 years and they have two brilliant sons, two amazing daughters-in-law, and most importantly, 8 of the MOST GRAND grandchildren ever born, ages 20 yrs to 2 yrs old.

Patricia Weinzapfel


Session: Using Effective Communication to Build Relationships

Patricia Weinzapfel recently retired from the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation in Indiana. For the past ten years, she served as the district’s Executive Director of Family Engagement. Prior to working in education, Patricia spent 15 years in broadcast journalism. She graduated from Northwestern University and is the author of Closing the Loop, A Powerful and Practical Guide to School-Home Communication (expected February 2022). Patricia currently works with schools and districts across the nation as a school-home communication consultant.

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