Message from the President
INVITATION TO JOIN OR RENEW YOUR IAASE MEMBERSHIP FOR 2013-2014

By Gineen O'Neil, Ed.D.
IAASE President
July 2013

The Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education (IAASE) is a strong, influential organization dedicated to increasing positive outcomes for students with disabilities through legislative activism, high-quality professional development, collaboration, and increased networking opportunities for its members. IAASE members represent the organization on all of the key statewide committees and are also actively involved in several other state, regional, and federal professional organizations. The key to our success as an organization continues to be directly linked to the dedication, time, talent, and diligent efforts of all of our members.

As school administrators we are keenly aware of the economic climate in Illinois and the many mandates and challenges facing Illinois schools. Our organization continues to focus its efforts on increasing special education funding and ensuring that students with disabilities are receiving an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. Executive Board members have canvassed the state over the last few years to ensure that the concerns in the regions are heard, understood, and acted upon on your behalf. The IAASE continues to work collaboratively with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Illinois General Assembly, and other organizations for the benefit of our students. In an effort to lobby on behalf of students with disabilities on the federal level, IAASE joined with five surrounding states to form the Midwest Organization of Special Education Administrators (MOOSEA). While this consortium is in its infancy, the benefits of presenting a united front on issues regarding special education will be of significance as the IDEA is reauthorized.

With nearly 1200 members, IAASE is recognized as one of the largest premier special education organizations in the country allowing us to be influential at both the state and national levels. We value the importance of collaboration and teamwork to continue to grow and embark on greater challenges. The strength of our organization is directly related to the collaborative efforts of all of our members and your role is vital. Now is the time to renew your membership in IAASE or to initiate membership if you are just now learning about the organization. The evidence of our collective work is repeatedly seen in our award-winning conferences, committee work, state work, and networking with other organizations to make a positive impact for all students. With the size and influence of our organization, IAASE continues to be a model for other groups in terms of talent, commitment, and ability to affect positive, progressive change.

The annual IAASE membership period is from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. Please note that the IAASE membership application is only available electronically at www.iaase.org. Please encourage colleagues both within and outside of your organization to join. If you would like more information about IAASE please feel free to contact me. As our field continues to evolve, this is a very invigorating time to be involved in this organization. There are so many ways for YOU to be more active. If you have a specific interest or would like to discuss committee options, please contact me at (708) 687-0900 or goneil@swcccase.org. I am confident that we have a committee or activity that would peak your interest and give you an opportunity to share your talent and experience with the organization. Additionally, you are cordially invited to attend our Executive Board meetings (dates and locations are posted on the IAASE website: www.iaase.org).

Finally, the theme of the FY14 IAASE conferences is “Inspiring Leaders, Improving Outcomes, Influencing the Future.” Our Fall Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, 18501 South Harlem Avenue, Tinley Park, IL on September 26-27, 2013. The conference keynote speakers will be Dr. Perry Zirkel, speaking on issues in special education law – present and future and Ruby Payne, presenting on a framework for understanding poverty. The conference promises to provide research-based strategies, timely updates, and engaging keynotes. You may register for all IAASE conferences online at www.iaase.org. If you are new to the organization, welcome to a great team. If you are a returning IAASE member, thank you again for all you do. As we continue to grow as an influential organization, recognized for its breadth and depth of talent and devotion to the field, we remain committed to providing innovative, visionary professional development that focuses on improved opportunities and outcomes for students with disabilities within a broader educational context.

Sincerely,
Gineen O’Neil, Ed.D.
IAASE President
(708) 687-0900


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