EDUCATION

  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
    J.D. May 2000
    GPA: 3.2 of 4.0
  • Bar exam taken February 2000, sworn in as Indiana attorney June 2000. Admitted in Northern District and Southern District of Indiana.
  • Licensed as Texas attorney, September 2006. Admitted in federal courts of Texas in Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western Districts and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Indiana University
    M.A. journalism, June 1995
    GPA: 3.87 of 4.0
  • Franklin College – Franklin, IN
    B.A. journalism, B.A. Spanish, May 1986
    GPA: 3.83 of 4.0
  • Work Experience

  • June 2000 to current
    Private-practice attorney focusing on special education law, representing parents of special needs children.
  • May 2001 to April 2003
    Part-time public defender, Indiana Public Defender Agency, Juvenile Division
  • Jan. 2000 to May 2000
    Associate faculty member, journalism school, IUPUI, teaching undergraduate writing/reporting class
  • Sept. 1993 to Nov. 1999
    The Indianapolis Star and News, daily newspapers, copy editor
  • Aug. 1993-Dec. 1994
    Associate faculty member, English Department, IUPUI, teaching undergraduate business writing class
  • Oct. 1992 to Aug. 1993
    The Saturday Evening Post magazine, Indianapolis, copy editor
  • Aug. 1989 to Oct. 1992
    The Hoosier Farmer, agriculture magazine, copy editor
  • Jan. to August 1989
    City, Indianapolis Woman and Indiana Horizons magazines, copy editor, writer
  • Oct. 1987 to Jan. 1989
    Belleville News-Democrat, Belleville, Ill., daily newspaper. At that time I also worked 20 hours a week writing press releases for the YWCA of Metropolitan St. Louis.
  • June 1986 to Oct. 1987
    Jefferson County Journal, semiweekly newspaper in Arnold, Mo., editor in chief. This was my first job after I graduated from college.
  • Activities

  • Professional
    I am the recipient of the national 2012 Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Educational Advocacy from COPAA (Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates). I am the author of "Do-It-Yourself Special Education Due Process: An Educational Guide" which is available at www.learningenabledpublications.com. I am admitted to the federal courts in the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana and the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas. I am also admitted to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. I am a member of Mensa.

    I am a frequent speaker for parent advocacy organizations and disability advocacy organizations on the rights of children with disabilities. I have served on numerous past committees including the Indiana State Bar Association's Civil Rights of Children Committee, Indiana Department of Education Revision of Special Education Rules committee. I have in the past served as treasurer of the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the nation's largest professional organization for journalists. I have served in every officer capacity in that organization over the years. In addition, I have been a freelance writer for a variety of publications and am a member of Mensa. While I was a journalist, I often spoke to high school and college students about careers in journalism and judged dozens of student and professional writing contests. I am currently a volunteer at the Galveston Island Humane Society.

  • In School
    I was editor of my high school and college newspapers, co-founded a general-interest magazine that's still being published at Franklin College, was president of the Franklin College chapter of the Society of Collegiate Journalists, which hosted a national convention on campus, was president of the Campus Christian Fellowship and in charge of an all-campus variety show. During college I worked 20 hours per week at a delicatessen.
  • AWARDS AND HONORS

  • Professional
    Have received a variety of writing and headline writing awards from local and national organizations, including the Hoosier State Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Associated Press Managing Editors Association. The Indianapolis Bar Association has named me as a member of the "Pro Bono Hall of Fame" for 2004 and 2005.
  • Collegiate
    Chosen by fellow journalism majors in college to receive the Society of Collegiate Journalists award. Chosen by vote of faculty campus wide to receive the Gold Quill cup, given "to the graduating senior who demonstrates academic and extracurricular excellence." Graduated magna cum laude from Franklin College. Won six scholarships that completely paid for undergraduate studies. Was one of 20 chosen from 150 applicants nationwide to be offered a Pulliam Fellowship, a post-graduate internship with Central Newspapers in 1986 but took out-of-state job offer instead. Won William and Lynn Vandivier Bridges Award, which financed three months of travel in Europe in the summer of 1985.
  • Educational Seminars

  • Volunteer workshop presenter on No Child Left Behind law for Parent Education and Advisory Council of Zionsville (PEACZ) on Feb. 25, 2003 in Zionsville.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Legal Rights of Parents with Special-Needs Children" December 2, 2003, Sertoma Club, Brebeuf Preparatory School.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter for Parents for Parents organization, "An introduction to Special Education Procedural Rights and Safeguards. Your rights and the rights of your child." Valparaiso Public Library, Jan. 31, 2004, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter at "Northern Indiana Special Education Conference" Feb. 27 and Feb. 28, 2004, Knights of Columbus, 553 E. Washington St., South Bend, Ind.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter at national conference sponsored by COPAA (Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates). Title: "Yes, Virginia, You Can Eke out a Living as a Parents' Attorney." March 13, 2004.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter and breakout session presenter at Indiana State Bar Association Civil Rights of Children Committee "Summit on Children, Mental Health and the Law," Aug. 27, 2004.
  • Miscellaneous activities for which dates were not documented long-term by me: I have also presented workshops for ABA Services Inc., Special Education law consultations to attendees at Gary Career Center, December 2002, volunteer speaker at graduation reception at Indiana University School of Law Indianapolis, May 2002.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Special Education Rights in Indiana," Friday, Sept. 10, 2004, Mount Comfort Methodist Church, Greenfield, IN.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter on topic of special education law: Valley Mills Christian Church 5555 Kentucky Ave., Indianapolis, Ind. Oct. 23, 2004.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter on topic of special education law for Autism Community group, Fort Wayne, Ind., Nov. 8, 2004.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter on topic: "Legal Remedies When a School and Family Disagree about Special Education Services," Learning Disabilities Association of Indiana, 30th Annual State Conference, December 2 & 3, 2004.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter on topic of special education law at Lilly facility, March 29, 2005.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter on topic of special education law as it pertains to children in juvenile justice system for Marion County Public Defender Agency, Juvenile Division, March 30, 2005.
  • Volunteer co-speaker on topic: "Planning and Advocating for the Disabled Child," Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, April 12, 2005.
  • Volunteer speaker on topic of "Special Education Rights of Children" at White River Township Library in Greenwood for Autism Support Group in Johnson County on May 9, 2005.
  • Volunteer speaker on "Back to School Special Education Law Seminar" at Zionsville Town Hall, 1100 Oak St., Zionsville, on Aug. 15, 2005.
  • Volunteer speaker on special education law for half-day workshop for Judge Marilyn Moores, Marion County Superior Court, Juvenile Division, for judges, magistrates, public defenders, prosecutors, case managers, on Oct. 12, 2005.
  • Volunteer speaker on special education law on "Legally Speaking" radio show on WTLC, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2005.
  • Volunteer speaker on changes in special education law to Down Syndrome Foundation, Oct. 25, 2005, at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Indianapolis.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Artful Examination and Cross-Examination of School Employees" at Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates Inc. 2006 national conference on April 1, 2006, in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Top 10 Tips for Parents of Special Needs Children" April 10, 2006, Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Volunteer author of "Federal Special Education Law Changes," Res Gestae, April 2006, p. 40-41.
  • Volunteer member of Indiana Department of Education panel to devise recommendations for changes to Indiana's Article 7 (special education rules), spring 2006
  • Volunteer presenter "Top Ten Tips for Parents of Children with Disabilities to Get Better School Services without Resorting to Due Process," Nov. 13, 2006, Speedway United Methodist Church Special Needs Ministry.
  • Recent Publications

  • Volunteer Court Summaries and Trial Reports writer for "Indiana Lawyer" newspaper for 2002 and 2003.
  • Volunteer Author, "Special Education Law Primer," Res Gestae, March 2004.
  • Volunteer Author "Special Education Needs Protected" The Indiana Lawyer newspaper, November 3-16, 2004, edition
  • Volunteer Author "Federal law changes affect special education" The Indiana Lawyer newspaper, Sept. 21-Oct. 4, 2005, edition
  • Volunteer author of "Learning-disability standards must be up to date" letter to the editor, The Indianapolis Star, May 21, 2006.
  • Volunteer author of "Ax unnecessary special education appeals board," Letter to Editor, The Indianapolis Star, July 23, 2006.
  • Volunteer Work

  • Volunteer member of board of Indiana State Bar Association Civil Rights of Children Committee
  • Volunteer Indianapolis Bar Association Superior Court Pro Bono Project Volunteer 2004, handling family law cases for indigent clients
  • Volunteer for "Ask a Lawyer" (November 2003) and "Talk to a Lawyer" call-in programs for community offering free legal advice to callers (including 01-19-04)
  • Volunteer board member and current treasurer of the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists Inc.
  • Member of national collaborative committee to assemble proposal in 2003 and 2004 to secure OSERS grant to set up parent and advocate training program, called the "Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT) project: A Demonstration of Replicable Models and the Benefits and Liabilities of Certification."
  • Volunteer workshop presenter, "Student Rights on Reentry to Public School after Juvenile Detention," Jan. 15, 2007, for Juvenile Reentry Program for professionals working with juveniles, part of IUPUI School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Top 10 Tips On Educational Services for Special Needs Children" at Roche Diagnostics employees' meeting, Indianapolis, IN Jan. 25, 2007.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Top 10 Tips On Educational Services for Special Needs Children" White River Township Government Center, Greenwood, Indiana, Feb. 15, 2007.
  • Volunteer workshop co-presenter at Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) national conference, on topic "The Artful Examination and Cross-Examination of the School Psychologist," Baltimore, MD, March 4, 2007.
  • Volunteer speaker "Top 10 Tips for Parents" for East Central Indiana Autism Coalition, March 11, 2007, Anderson, Indiana.
  • Volunteer speaker "Top 10 Tips for Parents" for Sandusky Schoolhouse, Greensburg, IN, March 28, 2007.
  • Volunteer speaker "Top 10 Tips for Parents" at Franklin Township Public Library, Indianapolis, IN, April 23, 2007.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Top 10 Tips for Parents of Special Needs Children" Sept. 29, 2007, Abiding Word Baptist Church, Houston, Texas.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Top 10 Tips for Parents of Special Needs Children" Oct. 23, 2007, Katy, Texas.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Top 10 Tips for Parents of Special Needs Children" Oct. 25, 2007, Beaumont, Texas.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Top 10 Tips for Parents of Special Needs Children" Nov. 10, 2007, Dulles High School, Sugarland, TX, for The Arc of Fort Bend County.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Building a Better IEP for Special Education Children," Jan. 31, 2008, Praise Christian Center, Beaumont, TX.
  • Volunteer workshop presenter "Building a Better IEP for Special Education Children," April 26, 2008, Galveston Island Bowling Center.
  • Volunteer Speaker, Autism Society of Houston Annual Conference, keynote speaker "Building a Better IEP" Graceview Baptist Church, Tomball, TX, Oct. 3, 2008.
  • Volunteer Speaker, The ARC of Fort Bend County, speaker "Building a Better IEP," 2008 Special Needs Conference & Resource Fair, Rosenberg, TX 77471, Oct. 25, 2008
  • Volunteer speaker on "Building a Better IEP" and panelist speaking on special education law, Exceptional Family Member Program, Fort Hood, Texas, Nov. 7, 2008.
  • Volunteer speaker on "Special Education Law Primer for Attorneys" for Disability and Elder Law Association, Houston, Texas, Jan. 26, 2009.
  • Volunteer speaker for Side by Side parent rights organization, "Top 10 Tips for Parents of Special Needs Children," May 19, 2009, League City, Texas.
  • Volunteer presenter for Side by Side parent rights organization, "Guardianships" League City, TX, Aug. 25, 2009.
  • Volunteer presenter "Build a Better IEP" for Jefferson County Young Lawyers Association, at Shorkey's Center, Beaumont, Texas, Jan. 21, 2010.
  • Volunteer presenter "Build a Better IEP" for Houston Autism Disability Network's Annual Spring ARD Clinic, Graceview Baptist Church, Tomball, TX. Feb. 4, 2010.
  • Volunteer presenter "Top 10 Tips" for NAMI Gulf Coast, Lake Jackson, TX, May 13, 2010.
  • Pro Bono Cases

  • I have accepted a variety of pro bono cases in the past and continue to do so. At any given time, I usually have three to four pro bono cases pending.