Gov. Rick Snyder forms task force to recommend changes in Michigan's special education system

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley named chair to continue working on important reform efforts

Friday, Oct. 16, 2015

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced the creation of a task force led by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley that will recommend reforms for Michigan’s special education system to help special needs children reach their full potential.

The task force will develop policy recommendations to address the key findings of Calley's recent statewide special education listening tour that led to a formal presentation to the State Board of Education. The complete report and survey results are available to download here.

“The Special Education Reform Task Force will continue the great efforts started by Lt. Gov. Calley as he spoke to fellow parents about their experiences within the existing system,” Snyder said. “This group will help us remain focused on putting Michigan’s special needs children and their families front-and-center when considering reforms to this vital component in our educational system.”

The members include:

  • Lt. Gov. Brian Calley; chair
  • Melody Arabo (elementary teacher, Walled Lake Schools / Michigan Teacher of the Year 2014-15)
  • Mary Bouwense, president, Grand Rapids Education Association, veteran special education teacher
  • Elmer Cerano, executive director, Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service
  • Teri Chapman, director, Michigan Department of Education Office of Special Education
  • Michelle Fecteau, State Board of Education member
  • Diane Heinzelman – Director of Special Education, Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District, Chair of the Michigan Autism Council
  • State Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, member, Senate Education Committee
  • Laura Jones, founder, Special Education Advocacy & Development
  • Scott Koenigsknecht, superintendent, Ingham Intermediate School District
  • State Rep. Frank Liberati, member, House Committee on Families, Children and Seniors
  • Marcie Lipsitt, founder, Michigan Alliance for Special Education
  • Karen McPhee, Gov. Snyder’s Education adviser
  • State Sen. Phil Pavlov, chair, Senate Education Committee
  • State Rep. Jim Tedder, member, House Committee on Education
  • Eileen Weiser, State Board of Education member

“All children deserve a chance to lead self-determined and independent lives” said Calley. “We can do better and with the input of thousands of parents and the task force’s recommendations, we will do better.”

Snyder has asked Calley to wrap up the task force and present its recommendations by the end of the year.