On-Demand Video
CC

Exceptional Children Conference 2023


  • City:
  • Start Date:2023-10-12 20:00:00
  • End Date:2025-10-12 20:00:00
  • Length:
  • Level:Various
  • Topics:Education

$299.00 ["ProPass"]

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Overview

Join PBI for the premier education event for child attorneys, school district attorneys, hearing officers and advocates.

Recorded on October 13, 2023, this annual conference brought together school district lawyers, family lawyers, advocates, and education professionals to learn, exchange, and share the passion to create exceptional education opportunities for exceptional children.

We’re sorry that you were not able to join us in-person but are delighted to offer you this valuable selection of streaming content. Make time for a track of programs covering the hottest issues in this practice area taught by speakers you know and respect.

Gain a balanced perspective on all issues 

Most of the sessions are team-taught by a balanced panel of school district and parent/child attorneys. Gain the competitive advantage by hearing how a case is handled from both sides of the “v”! 

Are you a parent of a child with exceptionalities? 

The ECC offers you first rate instruction for advocating for your child.

Continuing education, strategies, and tips designed for: 

  • Attorneys 
  • Hearing officers
  • Advocates representing children, families, and school districts
  • School administrators and teachers
  • Anyone who wants to learn more about educational rights for children

Welcome & Introduction

Procedural Guidance: Two Hearing Officers’ Perspectives

Supreme Court Caselaw Review (Advanced)

Discipline and the Role of Virtual School Post-Covid (Intermediate)

Year in Review

Intersection of Family Law & Special Education (Basic)

Special Education Legal Ethics Conversations

Planned and Developed by the PA Bar Association Legal Services for Exceptional Children Committee  

Who better to hone in on the most important and emerging issues affecting today’s special education law practitioner? Join the Committee members at their 2023 conference, designed to highlight the most relevant legislation, regulations, and programs affecting exceptional children and their families. If you’re not a member, join on-site!

All attendees will receive the course book as a digital download.

Recorded in October 2023.

Faculty

Heidi Konkler Esq.

Ms. Goldsmith has been serving the needs of children and families in the area of special education for 20 years. Prior to founding Bradley Goldsmith Law, Ms. Goldsmith practiced law at McAndrews Law Offices. During her 19 years at McAndrews Law Offices, Ms. Goldsmith became a Shareholder of the firm and was Supervising Shareholder of the Special Education Department for almost 10 years. Ms. Goldsmith is the Parent Attorney Representative to the Stakeholders Council of the Office for Dispute Resolution and has recently been appointed to the Professional Advisory Board of the Learning Disabilities of America. Ms. Goldsmith frequently speaks at National and State-Wide Special Education Conferences including the LDA, Arthritis Foundation, COPAA and PBI. Ms. Goldsmith offers substantial expertise in the area of Special Education Law and handles a wide variety of special education matters, civil litigation cases and criminal justice issues.

Brooke Say Esq.

Ms. Say is the Chair of her firm’s School Law Group and practices in the areas of education (school) for public school districts throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In her school practice, she has developed expertise in advising school districts in special education, gifted, discipline, 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, including the Bureau of Special Education, Office for Dispute Resolution, Office of Civil Rights, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and in federal and state court. In more recent years, she has served as an expert witness in various special education matters. Ms. Say is privileged to hold a position on several insurance panels as counsel for school districts who are subject to claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. She serves as a court-appointed certified mediator in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. In her local practice, Ms. Say pioneered the Stock and Leader Special Education Series, which includes a compilation of seminars addressing the latest topics in Special Education presented to Special Education Directors, Supervisors, Pupil Personnel Administrators, head teachers and School Psychologists. During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, she hosted weekly conference calls with her clients, guiding them in their navigation of the legal pitfalls of educating disabled students in their virtual and hybrid educational settings. She regularly presents for the PA Exceptional Children’s Conference (ECC), Lehigh University’s various Special Education Conferences hosted by Dr. Perry Zirkel, Pennsylvania School Board Association, and Pennsylvania Bar Institute workshops. In 2021, she was selected to give the time-honored “Year in Review” for the ECC, alongside a parent attorney/colleague. More recently, she has enjoyed speaking across the United States to special educators, at the Tri-State Law Conference for Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa, the Utah Law Conference,  and the Northern Plains Law Conference for North and South Dakota and Montana. In 2012 and for eight consecutive years, Attorney Say was named to the Pennsylvania Rising Stars list as one of the top up-and coming attorneys. The list, published nationwide in Super Lawyers® magazines, highlights individuals under the age of 40 who have significantly impacted their professional careers. Additionally, she was the recipient of the Legal Intelligencer, Lawyers on the Fast Track in 2015. In 2020, she was awarded the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal’s Women of Influence award.

Jacqueline Lembeck Esq.

Jacqueline C. Lembeck is an attorney at McAndrews, Mehalick, Connolly, Hulse and Ryan P.C. in the Special Education department. She provides advice and representation to families of students with disabilities regarding all aspects of special education evaluation, identification, programming, placement and procedure. Ms. Lembeck uses her past experiences representing both parents and school districts to anticipate legal challenges and offer creative solutions to her clients’ concerns. She represents clients in all stages of special education disputes including IEP meetings, mediations, resolution meetings, and administrative due process hearings before the Office for Dispute Resolution, and Federal court actions/appeals. Ms. Lembeck earned her Juris Doctor, with honors, from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia, where she graduated in the top ten percent of her law school class.  While in law school, Ms. Lembeck served as a student attorney at the Barton Child Law and Policy Center in the Appeal for Youth clinic. She was awarded the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement for her representation of juveniles in criminal appeals. Prior to law school, she graduated summa cum laude from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. After law school, Ms. Lembeck served as a law clerk and attorney advisor to Administrative Law Judges at the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Administrative Law Judges in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  

Brian Ford JD, CHO

Hearing Officer Ford received a B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College and a J.D. from Penn State Law (Dickinson) with a certificate in advocacy and dispute resolution. While working as a research assistant at Penn State, he studied ODR’s mediation system while completing a state-by-state analysis of special education dispute resolution systems. After law school, Hearing Officer Ford practiced special education law for nearly six years, representing both families and educational agencies at various points in his career. Hearing Officer Ford has been an ODR hearing officer since 2010 and has been certified by the National Association of Hearing Officials (NAHO) as a Certified Hearing Official (CHO) since 2014. 

Michael McElligott Esq.

Mr. McElligott earned a B.S. from Penn State University, a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, and a M.S.Ed. in Secondary Education from Duquesne University, in addition to doctoral studies (ABD) in educational leadership at Duquesne University. He has been involved in special education dispute resolution since 1994, as a member of the special education appeals panel (both as a panelist and a co-Chair) and as a hearing officer. Mr. McElligott holds Certified Hearing Officer status through the National Association of Hearing Officers. He is also trained in special education mediation. Additionally, he has over a decade of experience as an administrator at a school of education, where his duties included high-level knowledge of teacher certification training and requirements in Pennsylvania. He is certified in secondary social studies and English and has taught secondary social studies in public and private high schools, in addition to a wide array of university courses, including school law. He has published book chapters in the areas of school counseling and school law. Over the years, he has made multiple presentations on special education law at numerous professional conferences and to various education groups.

Nicole Snyder Esq.

Ms. Snyder is the Chair of the Special Education Law Practice group at McKenna Snyder LLC. She concentrates her practice in the areas of: special education law, charter school law, education law, school reform & insurance defense. She represents clients in a variety of matters pertaining to state and federal laws and regulations, including but not limited to IDEA and Section 504. Prior to entering private practice, she clerked for the Honorable Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. While in law school, she interned for the Honorable Juan R. Sanchez at the Chester County Court of Common Pleas. She received her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law, where she earned the Theodore L. Reimel Distinguished Service Award. She received her B.A. in English, magna cum laude, from Villanova University. She has been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle & Western Districts of PA, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the Supreme Court of Ohio. Ms. Snyder is also a member of PBA’s Legal Services for Exceptional Children Committee and has been an invited lecturer at state and national conferences on special education and education law topics, including sessions at: PBI’s Exceptional Children’s Conferences; Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools’ conferences; Education Law Association and Lehigh University. Ms. Snyder may be reached at: nsnyder@mckennalawllc.com.

Kristen Weidus Esq.

Kristen Weidus is a Partner at Ruder Law, and is licensed to practice in the United States District Courts in the Western and Eastern Districts of Pennsylvania, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to joining the firm in 2015, she was an associate attorney for a general practice law firm in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. As a resident of Greensburg, Kristen remains active in the Westmoreland Bar Association, currently serving on its Board of Directors and formerly chairing the Young Lawyers Committee and the Membership Committee. She received the Westmoreland Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award in 2016, and currently serves as a Zone 6 Delegate in the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s House of Delegates. Kristen was also selected as a Pennsylvania Rising Star by SuperLawyers in 2021, 2022 and 2023. Kristen graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law in Washington, DC in 2012. She worked as a law student attorney in the Took Crowell Institute for At-Risk Youth, representing students with disabilities enrolled in the DC Public Schools. She also served as President of the Women’s Law Society, Articles Editor for the Law Review, and President and Founder of the UDC-DCSL Disability Rights and Advocacy Society. Kristen graduated Cum Laude from Hiram College in 2009, and is currently the President-Elect of Hiram’s Alumni Executive Board. Beginning in 2000, she worked for the HELP Foundation Summer Program, an extended school year program that serves children with disabilities in Northeast Ohio.

Jessica Patton Ed.D.

Dr. Patton is a dedicated parent and accomplished professional with over two decades of experience in the field of special needs education and advocacy. Her unwavering commitment to dismantling barriers and expanding access for individuals of all abilities and their families has had a lasting impact on the communities in which she serves. Dr. Patton earned her Ed.D. in Special Education from Slippery Rock University, where her dissertation, “Parent Perceptions of Supporting a Child Diagnosed with ASD Living in a Rural Community,” showcased her dedication to understanding the unique challenges faced by families in underrepresented settings.   In response to the gaps she identified, Dr. Patton founded Sense of Connection Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing education, resources, and sensory equipment for the autism community.  Her charitable efforts expand to providing no-cost education to first responders through the initiative known as “What First Responders Should Know About Autism.” Dr. Patton wears many hats, serving not only as an educator but also as a prolific writer and presenter. Her presentations, podcasts, and workshops encompass a wide range of topics, catering to diverse audiences.  Moreover, she established Patton Advocacy & Consulting LLC, which further extends her expertise and commitment to empowering individuals with special needs and their families. Dr. Patton’s exceptional contributions have garnered widespread recognition, including the Lawrence/Mercer County ATHENA Young Professional Award. She also secured grants to enhance the School Wide Positive Behavior Intervention System at George Washington Intermediate School, and most recently, obtained funding from the Pittsburgh Port Commission to extend autism and water safety education to rural communities. In every capacity she embraces, Dr. Patton remains a source of inspiration and steadfast support for individuals with special needs and their families. Her unwavering commitment, vast expertise, and exceptional abilities consistently break down barriers and create new opportunities for those she serves.

Erin Gilsbach Esq.

Ms. Gilsbach is Executive Director of EdLaw Interactive (edlawinteractive.com) and practicing school law attorney who provides specialized legal counsel for school clients with the PA-based law firms of Steckel and Stopp and Fox Rothschild.  She is an experienced speaker at the state and national levels on matters regarding school law and a frequent author on education law topics, and she provides a wide variety of training programs, as well as legal consulting services, to school districts, charter schools, non-public schools, and education-related organizations.  Atty. Gilsbach specializes in school policy and procedure legal defensibility audits as well as trending legal issues regarding school technology, Title IX investigations, nursing and school health services, truancy prevention, child abuse prevention and mandated reporting, educator evaluation and discipline, and a wide variety of other school law topics. A former high school English teacher who served for two and a half years at the PA Dept. of Education’s Office of Chief Counsel prior to entering private practice, Atty. Gilsbach was voted by her peers as a SuperLawyers “Rising Star Attorney” for 5 consecutive years and was selected as Missouri Council of Administrators  of Special Education’s (MO-CASE) Distinguished Speaker of the Year.  She is Past President of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) Solicitor’s Association, and she is an active member of and frequent presenter and author for the National School Boards Association (NSBA), a member of the Board of Directors of NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys (COSA), a member of the Education Law Association (ELA), and a frequent presenter for state and national organizations, including the National Business Institute (NBI), LRP’s National Institute, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), and a number of state school boards associations.  She recently published two guides for schools through LRP Publications entitled Student Health Services under the IDEA and Section 504:; Legal Principles, Compliance Issues, Practical Solutions, which is an excellent general resource for school leaders, school nurses, special education directors, Section 504 coordinators, and educators regarding students with medical needs, and Pandemics and Students With Disabilities: Practical Guidance for Providing FAPE.  Both books are available at www.shopLRP.com.

Maria Ramola Esq.

Maria C. Ramola is a member of the Education and Litigation practice groups at McKenna Snyder LLC. Her primary practice areas include special education, charter school law, workers’ compensation and federal tax exemption for non-profit schools and foundations. Her legal experience prior to her association with the Firm includes in-house trial counsel for an insurance company in Philadelphia, corporate counsel for a specialized foster care agency and environmental claims management with a major insurance company in Philadelphia. She also worked in the non-profit sector as a Chief Operating Officer/Development Officer for a leading Latino community development corporation and as an Executive Director of a regional office of a national organization which promotes diversity education. She is a member of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar Associations. She is a graduate of Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, DE (J.D.) and Villanova University (B.A., Political Science.)

Charles Jelley Esq., LLM

Mr. Jelley has an LL.M. in Health Law, having graduated from the University of Loyola School of Law, Institute for Health Law in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Jelley was Co-Editor of the Institute’s first health law journal, The Annuals of Health Law. Following graduation, Mr. Jelley was a health care consultant to the Chiropractic Legal Defense Fund, in Englewood Colorado. In April of 1993, Mr. Jelley decided to join the firm of Margaret Tremba Esq, in Greensburg Pa. and resumed his practice in Westmoreland County. Mr. Jelley’s practice focused on children’s issues, school law, juvenile justice, children and youth services, employment discrimination, health law, disability law, Medical Assistance issues, Mental Health/Mental Retardation matters, employee benefits/ERISA and legislative analysis. Mr. Jelley has more than twenty five years of experience working with not-for-profit boards. He is the former Executive Director of the ARC Westmoreland County. He is the former Solicitor for the Westmoreland County American Red Cross, the Parent Education Network and worked briefly in helping to incorporate the Spectrum Charter School. He is a past case editor of the Westmoreland County Law Review and is a past member of the Westmoreland County Bar Association Rules Publications committee, and is an active member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Exceptional Children’s Committee. Currently, Mr. Jelley, is serving as one of the six special education, hearing officers for the Office for Dispute Resolution.

Amanda Meighan Esq.

Amanda joined
KidsVoice in November of 2017 as an Attorney on the Education team.
Mandy received her BA in International Commerce & Negotiations and
Business Administration from Washington & Jefferson College and a JD
degree and Health Law Certificate from the University of Pittsburgh School of
Law. While at the University of Pittsburgh, Mandy advocated on
behalf of children with disabilities as a Fellow with the LEND (Leadership
Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) Center and was
ultimately awarded the Dick Thornburgh Prize for Public Service.
Mandy joined the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a Presidential
Management Fellow directly after law school, working at the VA Pittsburgh
Healthcare System in Acquisitions, the Office of Regional Counsel, and Human
Resources.

Mark Burgmann Esq.

Mr. Burgmann is an associate at the firm of Wisler Pearlstine LLP in the firm’s special education department. Mr. Burgmann represents school districts and charter schools in special education matters as well as other student service matters. He knows and understands the world of special education like very few other lawyers. Before attending law school, he was a Special Education and English teacher at South Philadelphia High School, gaining substantial experience in classroom teaching and special education administration. Mr. Burgmann received his M.Ed. and PA Certifications in Special Education (K-12) and Secondary English (7-12) from Holy Family University in 2011, having had substantial in-classroom teaching experience. While attending Temple University Law School, he was a Teaching and Research Assistant in Education Law and Family Law. He interned at the Education Law Center as well as the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. Mr. Burgmann also served as Director of Advocacy for the School Discipline Advocacy Service (SDAS) where he represented students at Philadelphia public and charter school disciplinary hearings. Prior to joining the firm, he served for over six years in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, eventually serving as a Special Assistant United States Attorney and the Assistant Chief of the Gun Violence Task Force. There, Mr. Burgmann gained substantial jury and bench trial experience and handled numerous investigations from inception to successful conviction. At Temple Law School, he served as Executive Editor of the Temple International and Comparative Law Journal and earned his Certificate in Trial Advocacy and Litigation. He received his B.A. in English with a minor in Sociology from Haverford College in 2009.

Shannon Pierce Esq.

Shannon is a member of the Education Law Department where she represents school districts, intermediate units and independent schools on a variety of matters, with a particular focus on special education and student-related issues. She has extensive knowledge and experience with Title IX, including sexual harassment and LGBTQ+ matters. Shannon provides strategic guidance on issues involving access and accommodations for LGBTQ+ students in schools, including bathroom and locker room access, sports, and name changes. She regularly provides in-house trainings on Title IX to school districts and intermediate units for compliance and implementation of federally mandated policies and procedures. Shannon is a frequent panelist on education law and has written articles about changes to special education, Title IX and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. She provides hands-on legal guidance to clients before encountering litigation and regularly represents clients in due process hearings and appeals. Shannon has also handled cases involving special needs trusts and estate planning and guardianship petitions. Prior to joining Fox Rothschild, Shannon was a litigation associate at an East Coast-based firm representing clients in professional and premises liability matters. She also previously worked as an associate for a firm focusing on education law. While in law school, Shannon was a legal policy intern for the Temple University Institute on Disabilities, where she worked with local and federal legislators on issues affecting people with disabilities. She also worked as a legal intern for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit. Additionally, she served as mentoring chairperson for the Women’s Law Caucus and as a Trial Advocacy teaching assistant. During college, Shannon studied abroad for a semester in Madrid, Spain. Beyond Fox, Shannon is actively involved in Best Buddies Pennsylvania, a global nonprofit that enhances the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities, and participates in its annual fundraising events. She served on its board from 2011-2013. 

Christopher Conrad Esq.

Christopher J. Conrad is a shareholder in the Camp Hill, PA office of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, PC.  Mr. Conrad is a member of the firm’s Professional Liability Department and Co-Chair of the firm’s Special Education Law Practice Group.  Mr. Conrad devotes a significant portion of his practice to the representation and defense of school districts, intermediate units, career and technology centers and other academic institutions in all manner of employment, civil rights and special education litigation.   Mr. Conrad is a 1998 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and a 2001 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law, where he volunteers as an Adjunct Instructor.  Mr. Conrad also serves pro bono as a certified mediator for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of PA.    

Michael Raffaele Esq.

Mr. Raffaele is a Member at Raffaele & Associates, LLC, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. He focuses his practice on vindicating the rights of children with special educational needs in matters of school discipline, truancy, dependency, and juvenile justice, and on matters of higher education civil rights, in both Pennsylvania and Federal courts. He is a 2001 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a 1998 graduate of Cornell University. Prior to joining Raffaele & Associates, Mr. Raffaele was an associate in the commercial litigation practice group of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, an associate in the Health Effects Law Practice of Pepper Hamilton, LLP, an attorney in both the Appeals Unit and Trial Unit of the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Associate General Counsel of Nemours/A.I. du Pont Hospital for Children. 

Michele Mintz Esq.

Ms. Mintz is Counsel with Fox Rothschild LLP and handles a variety of matters related to education law, including representing school districts in special education matters, labor and employment issues, charter school applications and construction and purchasing matters. She has significant experience in trials, expulsion hearings, arbitrations, mediations, depositions, investigations and arguing motions in state and federal court on behalf of schools and school districts. In addition, she has experience handling a variety of litigation matters, including serving as assistant solicitor for numerous municipalities in Bucks and Montgomery counties; prosecuting and defending civil and equity claims for municipalities; advising boards and councils on issues such as land development and zoning and drafting resolutions and ordinances. She has also represented clients in matters involving premises liability, products liability, construction and warranty litigation. Prior to joining Fox Rothschild, she was an associate at a Pennsylvania-based law firm focusing on education law. She also previously worked at multiple Pennsylvania- and Massachusetts-based law firms. While in law school, she was a law clerk for the Honorable Michael Joseph Melody, Jr. in the Chester County Common Pleas Court. Ms. Mintz is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania; and U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Widener University School of Law (J.D.) and Boston University (B.S.) She is a member of the Pennsylvania and Montgomery County Bar Associations.

Amy Brooks Esq.

Ms. Brooks is the
Administrative Partner at Wisler Pearlstine. She is a member of the firm’s
Special Education and Education Law practice groups, focusing her practice on
advising school administrators on legal issues in student services and
special education. A strong advocate for her clients, Ms. Brooks helps
schools understand and navigate the existing legal framework to proactively
achieve their goals. She routinely attends school board meetings, litigates
for schools in administrative and local agency proceedings through the
appeals process and defends them against legal claims brought under the
Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), Section
504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Ms. Brooks
also represents schools in investigations by the PA Department of Education
and US Office for Civil Rights. A former teacher and collegiate coach, Ms.
Brooks brings practical, knowledgeable experience, from her involvement in
the educational community, to her practice. She advises school clients
regarding student records and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
(FERPA), issues of risk management, matters of child abuse and reporting
under the Child Protective Services Law, Homelessness under the McKinney
Vento Act, sexual harassment, and gender equity involving Title IX, and
bullying and harassment investigations under Pennsylvania’s Anti-Bullying
Law. In addition, Ms. Brooks handles matters regarding the Public School Code
of 1949, including transportation, enrollment, residency, custody,
discipline, charter schools, Pennsylvania Approved Private Schools, and
private schools.

David Arnold Esq.

David G. C. Arnold practices in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. He is also Of Counsel to the law firm Robson & Robson. Mr. Arnold graduated from the Villanova University School of Law in 1987. Mr. Arnold has been admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Sate of New Jersey since 1987. Mr. Arnold is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third and Fourth Circuits, and the United States District Court for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania, and the District of New Jersey. Mr. Arnold maintains an active special education practice which is limited to the representation of students and their families. Mr. Arnold brought and won the landmark special education case Lower Merion School District v. Student Doe, 593 Pa. 437, 913 A.2d 640 (2007).  Mr. Arnold lectures frequently on topics related to special education law.

Araesia King Esq.

Araesia King joined
the Law Offices of Kenneth S. Cooper as a full-time attorney in 2022. She
graduated cum laude from Temple Univeristy Beasley School of Law with her JD
in 2021. At Temple, she was the Training and Advocacy Director for the School
Discipline Advocacy Service (SDAS), an organization that trains law students
to advocate for Philadelphia K-12 students in school disciplinary
proceedings. Before attending law school, Araesia served as an AmeriCorps
member with City Year in her hometown of Columbia, South Carolina where she
worked closely with students to help them achieve their academic goals.

Andrew Faust Esq.

Mr. Faust is special
counsel to the education law firm of Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams.
He has represented public school entities throughout Pennsylvania in special
education and civil rights litigation since 1986, appearing at every level of
the state and federal judiciary and in hundreds of administrative due process
proceedings. He has spoken widely on special education, student services, and
civil rights to audiences of educators, attorneys, college students, and
parents and has appeared as an expert witness on special education. Mr. Faust
received his law degree from the Dickinson School of Law a very long time
ago.

Kathleen Metcalfe Esq.

Ms. Metcalfe has practiced special education and pupil services law since 2010 and has represented both school districts and parents. She is currently the Managing Attorney of Special Education for Raffaele & Associates, LLC where her focus is advocating for students and families in all aspects of education. She has expertise in all areas of special education: analyzing and providing advice regarding special education documents, attending IEP meetings, litigating due process hearings, and advocating for clients in federal court. She has conducted numerous professional development and training opportunities for parents, teachers, administrators, attorneys, and other professionals regarding the IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the corresponding Pennsylvania special education regulations as well as the gifted regulations. Prior to her special education practice, Ms. Metcalfe began her law career as a public defender at the Defender Association of Philadelphia representing both adults and children in criminal matters which gave her extensive training in the courtroom as a litigator. She then transitioned to the Child Advocate Unit and represented dependent youth in Philadelphia in both dependency and delinquency court. Ms. Metcalfe graduated from Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2002 with recognition in Outstanding Oral Advocacy and cum laude from Muhlenberg College in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts in both Political Science and Philosophy. She is barred in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Caryl Oberman Esq.

Ms. Oberman is the managing partner of Oberman and Yazno-Bartle LLC. For over four decades, her practice has concentrated on the legal needs of persons with disabilities and their families, and of gifted students. She has lectured and published extensively in the areas of civil rights, education rights, and estate planning, especially for families of children with disabilities. Formerly law clerk to the Hon. Merna B. Marshall (Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas), director of the Legal Department of Philadelphia Association of Retarded Citizens, senior staff attorney at the Education Law Center and litigation consultant at the Disabilities Law Project, she has served on the boards of numerous agencies advocating for children and adults with disabilities and serves as a hearing officer for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. She also is the founding chair of the Education Committee of the Federal Bar Association’s Civil Rights Section and is a member of that Section’s Executive Board. She has been an adjunct professor of School Law in the graduate education programs of Arcadia University, Holy Family University, Cabrini College and Antioch University. She received her B.A. with Honors in Political Philosophy from Syracuse University in 1971 and her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law in 1974. Her firm serves families in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with offices in Willow Grove (Montgomery County). 

Christine Brann Esq.

Christine is a partner at JSDC Law Offices in Hershey. She has focused her 25 year legal career on all types of family law issues. She recognizes that family law matters are often emotionally and financially stressful events. She strives to support clients to ensure that each client’s unique needs will be effectively addressed during and at the conclusion of each case. As a result, her scope of representation ranges from being a zealous advocate in the courtroom to facilitating agreements in cases where the parties agree to negotiate and tailor the terms of their own family law matters. She is a trained mediator and certified in Collaborative Law. Christine also heads the firm’s JSDC Medical Cannabis Group. She became one of the leading advocates of medical cannabis to assist her son Garrett, who suffers from the rare seizure disorder Dravet Syndrome, and helped lead the effort to legalize medical cannabis in Pennsylvania. She worked closely with legislators and others on the content of the state’s 2016 medical cannabis law, which gives her special insight into its varied stipulations and unparalleled access to regulators and legislators. Within the legal community, Christine currently serves the PBA as co-chair of the PBA’s Collaborative Committee and co-chairs the PBA’s Medical Marijuana and Hemp Law Committee. She also serves as co-chair of the Collaborative Professionals of Central PA. She is a member of the Dauphin County and Pennsylvania Bar Associations, Family Law Section. She previously served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Dauphin County Young Lawyers Division. Within the local community, Christine has served on various boards including the Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania, the Derry Township Historical Society and Cocoa Packs, a weekly food assistance program for Hershey area students. Christine is a native of Hershey. She 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. 

Aimee Zundel Esq.

Aimee Rankin Zundel
has been an education attorney for her entire legal career. She founded
Zundel Law in 2022. Prior to opening her own practice, Aimee was a Partner at
Weiss Burkardt Kramer, a leading Pittsburgh education law firm representing
public school district clients. Throughout her time as a legal advocate,
Aimee has used the same collaborative, student-centered approach she is known
for. Aimee has represented clients at all levels of state and
federal court, as well as administrative agencies such as the Pennsylvania
Office for Dispute Resolution, Office for Civil Rights and Pennsylvania Human
Relations Commission. Aimee has expertly handled special education cases,
student discipline matters, employment matters, and Title IX investigations.
Aimee 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. Aimee was named a Super Lawyer
Rising Star for 2020-2022, and proudly serves as Vice Chair of the PBA
Exceptional Childrens’ Committee.

Jennifer Lukach Esq.

Ms. Bradley is a co-founding Partner of Bradley Goldsmith Law, LLC located in Wyomissing PA. Ms. Bradley represents clients across the state of Pennsylvania in all aspects of special education matters including due process, manifestation and expulsion hearings pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Public School Code. She participates in Individualized Education Team meetings to obtain appropriate programs and placements for her clients. She pursues cases on behalf of her clients including matters related to identification, eligibility, IEP disputes, tuition reimbursement, bullying, disability discrimination and school discipline. In addition, she has represented juveniles charged with criminal acts as well as families facing PIAA disputes.  Prior thereto, Ms. Bradley was an Assistant District Attorney in Berks County where she prosecuted defendants charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes including Homicide, Rape, Burglary, Robbery, Assault, Theft, and DUI. Additionally, she managed the Intermediate Punishment Program which is offered as an alternative to prison and is designed to assist, rather than punish, people with addictions. She also served as the lead attorney for the juvenile justice unit for two years. Ms. Bradley was also an adjunct professor in the Political Science Department at Albright College where she taught Criminal Law and Civil Liberties. Ms. Bradley graduated cum laude from Villanova University School of Law in 1999. In addition, she graduated magna cum laude with honors from Susquehanna University in 1996. Ms. Bradley is a member of the Berks County Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. She is active in her church, St. Ignatius,  and her community where she volunteers for St. Ignatius Loyola Regional School and Berks Catholic High School.  Ms. Bradley also provides trainings to various organizations including the ARC of Lancaster and Lebanon County and the ARC of  and Northampton and Lehigh County.  She has also published articles for The Pennsylvania Lawyer and The Berks Barrister.      

Thomas Warner Esq.

Mr. Warner, originally from Eldersburg, MD, is a magna cum laude graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA with a B.A. in Political Science. He went on to receive his J.D. from the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Warner has been practicing law since 2007, when he began his career with the education law firm of Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams, where he remains today as a Partner. His practice focuses primarily on the representation of Pennsylvania school districts in matters of special education. While Mr. Warner devotes much of his practice to representing clients in matters of special education litigation, he also spends a significant amount of time providing in-service training to school districts regarding various matters, including developing defensible special education programming and confidentiality/disclosure issues involving education records. He also frequently presents at conferences focused on special education legal issues.

Sarah Dragotta Esq.

Sarah Dragotta is a Senior Associate of Sand & Saidel, P.C. in the Corporate Practice Group. The primary focus of her practice is Education law.  Ms. Dragotta 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. She recently joined the Sand & Saidel, PC, Philadelphia law firm bringing with her previous experiences in school law and in representing non-profit educational institutions. 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 has served as a Director of Special Education, a Speech and Language Pathologist, and a Teacher of the Hearing Impaired. Ms. Dragotta understands education law from early childhood through higher education. She assisted in the licensing and government contracts of various children’s centers in Philadelphia, with the daily operations and management of the centers, from writing curriculum to hiring and mentoring staff. She has successfully represented parents and guardians of students, with matters in regards to regular education, special education, other health impairments, and gifted education. Ms. Dragotta also represents college students, providing defense and counsel against accusations of academic misconduct and other social violations where character and academic programming are in jeopardy and grades are in dispute. In addition, Ms. Dragotta provides private and confidential legal counsel to teachers and other professional educators, faculty and staff from early childhood day care centers to higher education institutions. She works hard to resolve the issues they face in academics and in the marketplace concerning performance, discipline, tenure and integrity. She is licensed to practice before the U.S. District Court Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She is a graduate of Temple University School of Law, J.D., Lehigh University, M.Ed., and the Pennsylvania State University, B.S.


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