Include parents in selection of D65 Spec. Ed. Director

An Open Letter to Dr. Murphy and District 65 School Board Members


Following the departure of Ms. Geneva Oatman we would like to offer our help and support in finding her successor. While we understand the necessity of appointing an Interim Director of Special Services, we hope the District will engage in a nationwide search for a permanent Director of Special Services.

Parents and staff are seeking a more collaborative relationship with the administration in the Special Services Department.  There have been many positive changes in the last year with increased focus on providing education in inclusive classrooms.  There is more work to be done, particularly in improving the Special Services Department's relationship with parents. 

We encourage the administration to fill this crucial position with a highly qualified and experienced professional. We hope that a key piece of the process will be soliciting parental and staff input through their participation as members of a search committee. This approach would set a tone of collaboration and would garner support for the new Director.

We believe the Director of Special Services should be:

-A visionary who has a clear idea of what high quality special education should look like now and in the future.

-Someone with a comprehensive background in special education and knowledge of research-proven methods to address all childhood disabilities.

-Deeply knowledgeable about special education laws and regulations, with a commitment to act on all compliance issues to ensure the implementation of all IEP's.

-A collaborative leader who takes an accessible, supportive and compassionate approach toward parents and values their full participation in the development of appropriate IEP's. 

-Someone who understands the importance of providing comprehensive, quality professional development opportunities for teachers to support their work in inclusive environments.

-Able to ensure an inclusive and caring culture in all schools in the District.

-Committed to involving all stakeholders through transparent and collaborative processes.

-Ready to recruit and retain qualified Special Education teachers, therapists and ancillary staff.

-Eager to ensure that necessary resources are devoted to the successful education of all children.

Evanston School District 65 is a dynamic and caring community. Our children, families and staff deserve someone exceptional to serve as Director of Special Education. We hope that you will facilitate a nationwide search in a timely manner.  We stand ready to participate in this important process.

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