Arizona’s Thirteenth Annual Transition Conference

“I”s Focused on the Future: Invested, Involved, and Independent

September 30—October 2, 2013

Talking Stick Resort

9800 East Indian Bend Road

Scottsdale, AZ 85256

(866) 877-9897

Dr. Charlotte Alverson

Dr. Charlotte Alverson is currently a research associate for the National Post-School Outcomes (NPSO) Center and Secondary Special Education and Transition (SSET) research unit. She completed her PhD from the University of Oregon in special education in 2008. She has provided product development and technical assistance activities to the NPSO for the last five years and brings a wealth of practical experience as a former special education teacher and administrator. Her research and technical assistance interests include post-school outcomes, secondary special education programming for students with moderate and severe disabilities, and program evaluation.

Dr. Loujeania Bost

Dr. Loujeania Bost is the director of the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities (NDPC-SD) at Clemson University. She is responsible for all operational aspects of the Center, including the development of strategic partnerships. NDPC-SD is a national technical assistance and dissemination center funded by the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (USDE/OSEP), to support states in assisting local education agencies to decrease dropout rates among students with disabilities. Dr. Bost’s approach to technical assistance is to assist states in a systematic process of transferring knowledge about dropout prevention research, practices that work, and policies that assist states and their stakeholders in achieving their goals and plans to reduce dropout rates among students with disabilities. She holds a PhD in special education from Pennsylvania State University.

Jon Paul Burden

Jon Paul Burden is the Director of Exceptional Student Services in the Weld RE-4 School District in Windsor, Colorado. Prior to his current role, he was a senior consultant for the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) with the Exceptional Student Leadership Unit. His primary role at CDE was to provide guidance and oversight relating to secondary transition and instruction. Mr. Burden spends the majority of his professional time working with the schools and personnel within the Weld RE-4 School District, but also participates in many statewide committees for the CDE. He is also an adjunct lecturer for the University of Northern Colorado’s School of Special Education’s graduate program where he enjoys teaching future special educators and administrators about transition, secondary instruction, and the skills necessary to be a director of special education.

Dr. Erik Carter

Dr. Erik Carter is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His research and teaching focuses on strategies for supporting meaningful school inclusion and promoting valued roles in school, work, and community settings for children and adults with autism and intellectual disability. He has co-authored five books—including The New Transition Handbook: Strategies Secondary School Teachers Use that Work and Peer Support Strategies: Improving All Students’ Social Lives and Learning. Dr. Carter was the recipient of the Distinguished Early Career Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, the Early Career Award from the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and the Patricia Sitlington Research Award from the Division on Career Development and Transition.

Brad Cohen – Opening Keynote Speaker

As a child with Tourette syndrome, Brad Cohen was ridiculed, beaten, mocked, and shunned. Other children, teachers, and even sometimes family members found it difficult to be around him. College and then job hunting brought new challenges, but he continued to strive toward his goal of being a teacher and was rewarded when he was named Georgia’s First Class Teacher of the Year. Mr. Cohen is from Atlanta, Georgia, and is an assistant principal at Addison Elementary in Cobb County. He started the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation to help raise money to help those with Tourette syndrome across the nation. Mr. Cohen has a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University, where he graduated cum laude and received the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. He has earned master’s and specialist’s degrees from Georgia State University and graduated from both the Gwinnett County Leadership Academy for aspiring school administrators and Cobb County’s Leadership Academy. Mr. Cohen has been featured on the Oprah Show, People magazine, CNN, The New York Times, and Inside Edition and is the author of Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had. CBS featured Mr. Cohen’s life in a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Front of the Class, in December 2008. His story of personal challenge and unwavering determination proves anyone can make a dream come true.

David Domenici

David Domenici is the Executive Director of the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS), which he started in 2011. The Center’s mission is to radically improve the quality of education provided to our nation’s most at-risk and underserved students—low-income students, minority teenagers, and young adults who are attending schools in alternative settings, including youth and adult correctional facilities. A graduate of the University of Virginia and Stanford Law School, Mr. Domenici was awarded both an Echoing Green and an Ashoka Fellowship to support his work as a social entrepreneur developing programs for at-risk and court-involved youth. In 1997, he quit his job as a corporate lawyer and became a co-founder of the Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools, a network of alternative schools in the District of Columbia. In 2007, he served as the founding principal of the Maya Angelou Academy, the school located inside the District of Columbia’s long-term, secure juvenile facility. He is credited with taking one of the country’s worst schools for incarcerated youth and transforming it into a national model. Mr. Domenici is one of a handful of practitioners who work at the intersection of education and juvenile justice reform.

Dr. Amy Gaumer Erickson

Dr. Amy Gaumer Erickson is an assistant research professor at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. She conducts professional development and evaluation in college and career readiness as well as multi-tiered academic and behavioral systems of support. She was formerly a special educator: her teaching experiences span grades 7–12 in both urban and suburban schools, a charter school, and an alternative high school and have been carried out in self-contained, resource, and co-teaching classrooms. In her work, Dr. Gaumer Erickson collaborates with general and special education teachers, related service providers, administrators, families, and community agency providers to support all students in using assessment data to identify their postsecondary goals and to implement supports that lead to college and career success.

Dr. Catherine Fowler

Dr. Catherine Fowler is the project coordinator for the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC). Through her role at NSTTAC, she provides technical assistance to states on such topics as using data to make system- and classroom-level decisions on secondary transition programs, using transition assessment information to develop transition-focused IEPs, and implementing evidence-based practices including self-determination and self-advocacy instruction. Her work at NSTTAC has also allowed her to work collaboratively on projects with the IDEA Partnership at NASDSE, the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities, the National Post-School Outcomes Center, the Postsecondary Education Programs Network (PEPNet), and the Region II Parent Training and Information Center. Dr. Fowler received her PhD in special education from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Charlotte in December 2007. Her prior experience includes serving as a developmental disabilities specialist for young children with developmental disabilities and also teaching students with autism and mild and moderate intellectual disabilities in the classroom.

Dr. Kristine Jolivette

Dr. Kristine Jolivette is a professor at Georgia State University in the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education. She is currently the principal investigator for the Implementing PBIS in Juvenile Correctional Settings study and an external evaluator for a juvenile justice–focused model demonstration grant for Arizona State University. She has been a consultant on the RAND Corporation’s Improving Education for Incarcerated Adults and Juveniles grant, has served as the associate director for the National Center on Education, Disability, and Juvenile Justice, and was the co-principal investigator for the National Technical Center on Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports. Dr. Jolivette conducts research related to positive behavior interventions, supports, and effective instructional teacher practices in typical, alternative, residential, and juvenile justice settings and has published more than 90 peer-reviewed articles in these areas.

William Kellibrew, IV

William Kellibrew is an international advocate for civil, human, and victims’ rights. He is a sought-after motivational speaker on trauma and recovery and on children’s exposure to violence. In October 2011, he was recognized by the White House as a “Champion of Change,” working to end domestic violence and sexual assault, and has also blogged for the White House. Mr. Kellibrew is a current faculty member for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Center for Trauma Informed Care and serves as a consultant for the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center and The William Kellibrew Foundation. He has appeared or been featured on the Oprah Show, CNN’s In Session, Andrea Mitchell Reports, MSNBC, HLN’s Newsmakers with Robert Traynum, BBC Worldwide, Newsweek, The Washington Post, NPR, BET, the Sunderland Echo, in Open Society Institute’s Leadership and Sustainability Institute, and countless news and media outlets throughout the world.

Dr. Larry Kortering

Dr. Larry Kortering is a professor in special education at Appalachian State University. His research focuses on how better to engage students in the process of schooling, including related topics such as transition assessment, universal design for learning (UDL), and school completion. For more information, the following Google sites provide access to free student and teacher resources, publications, and presentations:; ; and

Mindy Larson

Mindy Larson is a senior program associate at the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Center for Workforce Development (IEL/CWD) and project manager for the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth). NCWD/Youth is a national technical assistance center, supported by US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, which works to ensure that transition-aged youth are provided full access to high quality services for education, employment, and independent living. Ms. Larson’s work prior to joining IEL included managing a variety of national, state, and local youth employment and education initiatives.

Dr. Richard G. Luecking

Dr. Richard Luecking is president of TransCen, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the employment success of people with disabilities. During his tenure in this position, which he has held since 1987, he has been responsible for the implementation of numerous model demonstration and research projects related to school-to-work transition and employment of individuals with disabilities. Dr. Luecking has held leadership positions in various national-level transition and disability employment initiatives and is the author of numerous publications on related topics, including the recent book, The Way to Work: How to Facilitate Work Experiences for Youth in Transition. He is currently the co-principal investigator for the National Center on Transition to Employment for Youth with Disabilities.

Dr. JoAnne M. Malloy

Dr. JoAnne M. Malloy is a clinical assistant professor at the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire. She received a master’s degree in social work administration and planning from the University of Tennessee and a PhD in education from the University of New Hampshire. In 1991, she joined the staff of the Institute on Disability and has directed several state- and federally-funded youth transition, employment, and dropout prevention projects with a focus on youth with emotional and behavioral disorders. In 1996, she directed a demonstration project to create transition planning and employment opportunities for youth with emotional and behavioral disorders, known as RENEW (Rehabilitation, Empowerment, Natural Supports, Education, and Work). RENEW has since been replicated in educational, mental health, and juvenile detention settings in several states and school districts across the country producing positive educational, vocational, and behavioral health outcomes. She also directs a project with community mental health centers to provide RENEW transition planning and supports to youth with serious mental health conditions. Dr. Malloy has also developed and directed two projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education that link positive behavioral supports and interventions (PBIS) with dropout prevention.

Dr. James Martin

Dr. James Martin holds the Zarrow Chair in special education at the University of Oklahoma (OU) and is director of OU’s Zarrow Center. Prior to working on his doctoral degree, Dr. Martin worked for four years with a community Arc program in Illinois where he developed and implemented community educational, employment, and living programs for youth and adults with developmental disabilities and emotional problems. He earned his PhD in special education from the University of Illinois with a focus on transition. Most recently the National Center for Special Education Research awarded him a four-year research grant to develop a new transition assessment. In 2006, the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition awarded Professor Martin the Oliver P. Kolstoe Award for his efforts to improve the quality and access to career and transition services for people with disabilities.

Shelby Nurse and Tom Nurse – Youth/Young Adult/Family Keynote Speakers

Shelby Nurse is a college student at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She is also an advocate and assistive technology educator. She is guided by her self-determination to eliminate the stereotyped beliefs that people with disabilities encounter. Assistive technology (AT) has had an extremely positive impact on Shelby’s life and helped her compensate for some of the effects of her cerebral palsy. She began using AT when she was two years old: she received her first power chair and also started accessing games using an Apple computer. Ms. Nurse enjoys presenting with her father since he gave her an early start with AT and also because she feels it is very important for young people with disabilities to learn how to advocate for themselves. It is her hope that participants will be inspired to action by hearing her speak about how AT has helped her get where she is today. In Shelby Nurse’s world, disability doesn’t mean, “Shelby can’t do this.” Disability means figuring out a way she CAN do it!

Dr. Ed O’Leary

Dr. Ed O’Leary is a consultant and program specialist for Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center. He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois in vocational technical education/special needs and his master’s in special education from Drake University. He has spent more than 30 years working in and with schools as a secondary special education teacher, special education consultant, transition specialist, work experience coordinator, program specialist, and program director. He developed the Transition Outcomes Project, an approach to helping districts and states meet transition requirements in order to demonstrate improvement and results. The Transition Outcomes Project is now operating in more than 25 states/regions and more than 1,500 districts across the country.

Jessica Queener

Jessica Queener is the project director research associate of the HEATH Resource Center at the National Youth Transitions Center in Washington, D.C. Ms. Queener is a doctoral candidate in the Applied Neuroscience and Special Education program at The George Washington University. She focuses her research in the area of transition related to postsecondary education for students with disabilities. Prior to arriving in D.C., Ms. Queener was the self-determination coordinator at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. She holds a master’s degree in transition special education from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee.

Curtis Richards

Curtis Richards is a nationally recognized leader in the disability community. He currently serves as director of the Center for Workforce Development at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL). Mr. Richards also serves as the lead technical assistance (TA) provider for the National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth). With support from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, NCWD/Youth is a national TA center focused on assisting the workforce development system to better serve youth, including youth with disabilities. Mr. Richards assisted in developing the framework, Guideposts for Success (including guideposts specifically addressing foster care youth, juvenile justice youth, and youth with mental health needs), the Guideposts for Employers, the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities of Youth Service Practitioners, and the National Alliance for Secondary Education and Transition (NASET) Standards & Indicators. He is the content lead at NCWD/Youth on connecting activities, universal access, self-sufficiency, performance accountability, juvenile justice, significant disabilities, postsecondary education, and disability public policy. Mr. Richards holds a bachelor of arts degree in government-journalism from California State University, Sacramento, and has been visually impaired since he was a toddler.

David Richards, JD

David Richards is a partner in the Austin law firm, Richards, Lindsay & Martin, LLP, where his practice is focused on special education law in school districts and special education co-ops. He is the general counsel for the Council of Educators for Students with Disabilities and is a frequent presenter on §504 issues, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and other school law topics at education service centers, school districts, and conferences in Texas and throughout the country. His analyses on education law issues frequently appear in LRP’s publications The Section 504 Compliance Advisor, The Special Educator, and Your School and the Law. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University and the University of Texas School of Law.

J. Erin Riehle, MSN, RN

Erin Riehle is a national leader in promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities and in addressing other barriers to employment. She is a founder and director of Project SEARCH, an employment and transition program that has received national recognition for innovative practices. She has been a board member for the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the Associaton of People Supporting Employment First (APSE). Ms. Riehle began her career at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as a staff nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit and advanced to clinical director of the emergency department. Her interest in employment for people with disabilities grew from her frustration with high turnover rates among workers performing critical tasks such as restocking emergency room supply shelves. She found that placing individuals with developmental disabilities in these positions was both an effective solution to her staffing problems and an improvement in quality of life for the workers she employed. This positive experience ultimately led to a systematic, hospital-wide effort, led by Ms. Riehle, to explore job possibilities for people with disabilities.

Dr. Harvey Rude

Dr. Harvey Rude is professor and director of the School of Special Education and Director of the Bresnahan-Halstead Center on Disabilities at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) in Greeley, Colorado. He is chairperson of the Navajo Nation Teacher Education Consortium based in Window Rock, Arizona, which is comprised of 10 colleges and universities from the states of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Dr. Rude provides leadership to several national projects and is president of the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education (HECSE).

Jennifer Sedaghat

Jennifer Sedaghat is the exceptional student services teacher on special assignment (TOSA) for the Weld Re4 School District in Windsor, Colorado. Prior to her current role in Windsor, Ms. Sedaghat was the transition specialist for Weld County School District 6 in Greeley, Colorado, where she read all secondary IEPs for Indicator 13 compliance. When not busy working within the schools in her district, she is also the Colorado Council for Exceptional Children vice president, the Colorado Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) past president, and the current Courage to Risk conference chair.

Stephan Hamlin-Smith

Since 2002, Stephan Hamlin-Smith has been the executive director of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) ( In his position with AHEAD, Mr. Hamlin-Smith directs the overall operations, public engagement, member services, funding, and external relations of the organization that currently serves over 2,700 institutional and individual members in 17 countries. In 2010, he became the executive officer of the Society for Disability Studies (SDS) (, the largest academic society in the world dedicated to the advancement of disability studies as an academic discipline. Recognizing that collaboration and contribution are keys to advancement for any good cause, Mr. Hamlin-Smith invests heavily in serving on numerous boards of directors, advisory and executive committees, and steering councils for national and international organizations and programs that work to eliminate barriers to equity for disabled people in education and society. In 2010, he was appointed as a commissioner for the US Department of Education to address barriers related to accessibility of instructional materials in postsecondary education.

Dr. Jane Soukup

Dr. Jane Soukup is a research associate at the University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning. Her responsibilities include facilitating the Arizona Secondary Transition Mentoring Project (STMP) and the Secondary Vermont Multi-Tier System of Supports Academy (vtMTSS). The purpose of both projects is to support general education, special education, guidance counselors, administrators, and others as they work together to achieve college and career readiness for ALL high school students—specifically, those with disabilities. Dr. Soukup’s interests focus on the principal’s connection to special education services, the opportunity to access general education curriculum for students receiving special education services, and strategies to enhance the self-determination of youth. Her work is driven by her Teach for America corps experience and work as a classroom teacher/administrator in Texas and Kansas.

Dr. Audrey Trainor

Dr. Audrey Trainor is an associate professor of special education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches preservice special educators and graduate students. Following her first career as a high school special education teacher in North Carolina, she completed her doctorate in special education with a focus on multicultural and bilingual issues at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on equity and diversity in post-school outcomes, English learners, perceptions and experiences of adolescents during the transition from high school to adulthood, and self-determination. Dr. Trainor is the 2012–2013 president of the Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) of the Council for Exceptional Children.

Dr. Paul Wehman

Dr. Paul Wehman is a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and chairman of rehabilitation research with a joint appointment in the Departments of Special Education and Disability Policy and Rehabilitation Counseling at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He received his doctorate in behavioral disabilities from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Dr. Wehman pioneered the development of supported employment at VCU in the early 1980s and has been heavily involved in the use of supported employment with people who have severe disabilities, such as severe intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or autism. He is also Director of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center and the Director of the new VCU Autism Center for Excellence. He has been the recipient of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation International Awards in Mental Retardation, the Distinguished Service Award from the President’s Committee on Employment for Persons with Disabilities, and the VCU Distinguished Service Award. In 2010, he was named as the Kenneth L. Estabrook Research Scientist Lecturer by the Kessler Rehabilitation Foundation. Dr. Wehman is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation and has been the principal investigator of more than 50 million dollars’ worth of federal grants since being at VCU.

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