DR. JULIE CAUSTON • Presenter and Host

A best selling author, inspiring speaker, and inclusion advocate, Dr. Julie Causton began her career as an educator and then 14 years as a tenured professor at Syracuse University. In 2012 she founded Inclusive Schooling, a premiere company solely devoted to delivering professional development which transforms schools and lives. She has spent the past 25 years nearly obsessed with discovering innovative practices and teaching others about inclusive education through her wildly engaging presentations.


A highly sought-after speaker, accomplished author, and educators’ educator. Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak began her career as an early interventionist and then spent 16 years as a tenured professor at Kent State University. Since 2013 she has followed her true passion for designing and delivering transformative professional development. As a result, she has accumulated over 50,000 hours of helping educators and leaders work from a place of compassion, hope, and love in locations from Cincinnati to Singapore.

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Janet Mock

Janet Mock is the New York Times bestselling author of two memoirs, Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty about her journey as a Black and Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) trans woman. She’s also a writer, director, and producer, most known for her path-clearing and historic work on the Peabody and Emmy award-winning series, Pose. Her other credits include Netflix’s limited series Hollywood, a revisionist take on 1940s show business, and the global true-crime sensation, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. The Honolulu native is the recipient of many honors, including Harvard University’s Artist of the Year Award, the PEN Center’s Award of Honor, ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood Award, and TIME’s 100 most influential people list. A passionate collector of Black art and an in-demand speaker and lecturer, Janet serves on the boards of the Brooklyn Museum and the Arcus Foundation for social justice.

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MOD Squad

Since 2019, three friends joined forces to pave the way for the future of AAC. We have done more than reject old ideas and assumptions: We've started new ones. Guided by our tenacity, we fuse unique techniques from around the world of AAC to create a new understanding of communication and competency. The MOD Squad takes everything you thought you knew about how those with speech related disabilities communicate and blows it up. Destroying the old to make room for the new. To achieve optimal understanding, our messages take time to create, we can honestly say we are worth your patience.

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Johanna Vazquez-Sharman

Johanna Vazquez-Sharman is a veteran inclusive educator in NYC's public schools and is currently serving as a citywide instructional coach with the NYU ASD Nest Program. The ASD Nest program goal is to partner with NYC public schools to establish inclusive cultures and advance the development and implementation of educational practices for autistic learners. Johanna holds two masters degrees from Brooklyn College- one in special education and the other in school leadership. 

Carly Georgen

Carly Georgen is a special education teacher at Cape Cod Hill Community School in New Sharon, Maine. She has taught for 6 years in Title 1 schools across Western Maine, and is working on obtaining her master's in Special Education with a concentration in Inclusive Education and Leadership at the University of Maine at Farmington. She is a change-maker who loves mentoring preservice teachers and collaborating with colleagues and families to further inclusive practices at her school, district and beyond. 

Sherrill Knezel

Sherrill is a graphic recorder, illustrator, art educator, and founder of Meaningful Marks LLC, based in the Milwaukee, WI metro area where she uses visuals and graphic recording to uplift, and amplify the work of nonprofits, educators, and corporate sector clients having conversations and creating generative and transformative change in their communities. She leads visual literacy workshops to empower people to use visuals to increase connection, clarity, and collaboration. She is the author of Heart Speak: A Visual Interpretation of Let Your Life Speak and contributing author to Social Action Stories: Impact Tales for The School & Community.

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Ijumaa Jordan

Ijumaa Jordan is a fat, Black, cis-gender woman (she/her) daily engaging in the beautiful struggle of life, doing the internal and external work to abolish systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, transphobia, and classism, etc. Ijumaa shows up for this work with intensity and passion, being joyful, thinking critically, and holding learning space with care and grace. She loves afternoon naps and snacks, you can usually find her online looking serious and laughing loudly.

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Nkaujnou Vang-Vue

Nkaujnou Vang-Vue serves as the principal at Lake View Elementary School in the Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, WI.  Through this work, she has gained a deep sense of urgency and commitment to provide learning opportunities and services to students with disabilities that are inclusive and equitable. She believes that what is good for students with disabilities is good for all students. In partnership with her special education team, they've advocated for systems, environments, and materials that are conducive to supporting students' growth and access to learning.

ion: a Black woman smiling straight at the camera, wearing a burgundy top with blackembroidered flowers. her hair twisted on top of her head in a wreath of ferns and other greenery. Agrassy hill, the ocean, and a blue sky are in the back

Dr. Joseph M. DeBarbieri

Joseph DeBarbieri is Superintendent of the Baldwinsville Central School District, the third largest suburban public-school system in New York State’s Onondaga County.His motivation to engage in doctoral studies is a direct result of examining equity data as a district-leader and noticing change is needed. His dissertation titled, Leading for Equity: Understanding the influences, realities, resistance, and beliefs around tracking and acceleration in suburban school districts, has motivated his work to challenge his beliefs, biases, and privileges by growing and learning as an inclusive and socially just leader.

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Johnathan Mooney

Jonathan Mooney is a nationally recognized advocate for neurological and physical diversity, he’s been speaking across the nation about neurological and physical diversity for two decades, inspiring those who live with differences and calling for change. He has published three books: The Short Bus, Learning Outside the Lines, and Normal Sucks.

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Dr. Patrice Fenton

Brooklyn native and forever educator, Dr. Patrice E. Fenton has a wealth of experience in education, leadership and organizational development. Dr. Patrice is Co-Founder + Head of Organizational Well-being for the Ella Baker Institute and is the proud mother of Jair Asad and Haile Masani. She holds four degrees, including a PhD in Teaching and Learning from the University of Miami and a BBA in business management from Temple University.


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Sarah Caswell

Sarah's teaching journey began with the NYC Teaching Fellows 17 years ago.  She has worked with amazing students and teachers in both New York and Washington states across a variety of settings and subjects.  Sarah currently supports students in a full inclusion setting at Tacoma's Science and Math Institute.


Dr. Shawn Ginwright

Shawn Ginwright, PhD, is a leading innovator, provocateur and thought leader on African American youth, youth activism and youth development. He is a professor of education in the Africana Studies Department and a senior research associate at San Francisco State University. He is also the founder and chief executive officer of Flourish Agenda, Inc., a research lab and consulting firm whose mission is to design strategies that unlock the power of healing and engage youth of color and adult allies in transforming their schools and
communities. Dr. Ginwright’s new book is The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves (North Atlantic Books.)

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Dr. Bettina Love

Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and the Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia. Her writing, research, teaching, and educational advocacy work meet at the intersection of education reform, anti-racism, carceral studies, abolition, and Black joy.

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Dr. Bettina Love – includes links to various booksellers to get your copy of her book:

Twitter: @BLoveSoulPower

Facebook: Bettina Love

Instagram: blovesoulpower


Jordyn Zimmerman

As a nonspeaking autistic student who was denied access to effective communication until the age of 18, Jordyn Zimmerman has personal experience challenging the status quo, as featured in the documentary, This Is Not About Me.  Zimmerman earned her bachelor's degree from Ohio University and her Masters of Education from Boston College.

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Website: Jordyn Zimmerman

Twitter: @jordynbzim

Linkedin:Jordyn Zimmerman


Elijah Armstrong

Elijah Armstrong is an epileptic who got his bachelors degree from Penn State in Education and Public Policy, and his Masters’ from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Education Policy and Management. He founded Equal Opportunities for Students in 2015, an organization meant to advance the rights of marginalized students in education. Elijah won AAPD’s Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award in 2021, and used the funding to partner with AAPD and The Coelho Center to start the Heumann-Armstrong Award, an award for students who have experienced and fought against ableism in education.

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Dr. Jaylee Swanson

I have always been drawn to the field of special education and advocating for individuals with disabilities. I started off as a special education teacher at the middle school level and quickly transitioned into administration. I am currently serving in my 5th year as the Director of Special Education for East Moline School District. My research study focused on how collective teacher efficacy and teacher attitudes towards inclusion correlate with inclusive educational practices within Illinois elementary schools. I am a life-long learner and love to learn and grow every day!

Barb Avila

I meet you and your team where you are in understanding autism, challenging behaviors, and/or how to build meaningful relationships with those on the autism spectrum. I believes in inclusion over segregation, relationships over compliance, and presuming competence over compensation. My professional trainings, team workshops, individual and family guidance all reflect these tenets.

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Casey Traver

Casey’s journey as an advocate began 6-weeks into her daughter Stephanie’s first grade year when the school attempted to move Stephanie out of her neighborhood school and into a self-contained program several miles away. Although that situation was resolved after several months and with the help of a good attorney, advocacy remained critical and led to a Due Process hearing when Stephanie was in 8th grade. In 2007, Casey embarked on a journey to become an Occupational Therapist and now works in the 2nd largest district in Washington state, advocating for more inclusive practices across the entire district as well as directly for the students she serves for OT.

Luke Radel

Luke Radel is a rising sophomore at Syracuse University, studying journalism and political science at the Newhouse and Maxwell schools. He’s served on the board for The 21 Club of CNY and worked as an advocate for those with disabilities, especially his younger brother, Mark. Luke also works as a Medicaid self-directed worker with those who have Down syndrome or are on the Autism spectrum. Luke enjoys spending time with his parents, brothers, Mark and John Paul, and dog, Buttons.

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Pat Radel

Patrick G. Radel received his law degree summa cum laude from the University at Buffalo Law School, where he was the Executive Editor of the Buffalo Law Review. From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Radel served as confidential law clerk to the Honorable William M. Skretny, United States District Judge for the Western District of New York. Mr. Radel has represented families of students with disabilities at CSE meetings, in due process proceedings, and in federal court.  Pat left the private practice of law in June of 2023 to pursue other endeavors.  He lives in New Hartford, New York with his wife, Mary Snyder Radel, Esq., and their three sons.

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Pat's Blog

And to find a special education attorney or advocate near you:




Princess Daazhraii

Princess Daazhraii Johnson (she/her) is Neets'aii Gwich'in and lives with her three sons and partner on the traditional territory of lower Tanana Dene lands in Alaska. She is humbled to serve on the board of Native Movement and NDN Collective – collectively, she works to protect the lands, waters, animal and plant relatives that continue to take care of all of us. She has served on the SAG-AFTRA Native American Committee since 2007 and in 2015 she was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is a Sundance Film Alum, a current Nia Tero Storytelling Fellow and Creative Producer and screenwriter for the Peabody award-winning PBS Kids series “Molly of Denali”.

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Christine Szeto

A versatile, energetic, and service-minded
educator with 11 years of teaching
experience. I worked in Title 1 high schools under my SPED Social Studies license at predominantly BIPOC campuses. Collaborative relationships, content- knowledge, and a growth mindset in relation to my pedagogical practices led to academic success for my students with disabilities. The past three years, I worked internationally as a Language & Literature teacher in the IB Middle Years Programme. I've been privileged to work with grade 7-12 students
who range in ability and English proficiency,
and hail from diverse national, ethnic, and
socio-economic backgrounds.


Michael McSheehan

Michael is the company’s owner and lead consultant. A national leader in education and systems change, he is recognized for his exceptional skills working with school and district teams to implement multi-tiered system of support (MTSS); improve outcomes for all learners, including learners who have been historically marginalized; solve challenging problems; build capacity with leaders to evolve their education systems; and create lasting positive effect for learners.

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Dr. Shelley Moore

Shelley Moore is a highly sought after teacher, researcher, consultant and storyteller and she has worked with school districts and community organizations throughout both Canada and the United States. Her research and work has been featured at national and international conferences and is constructed based on theory and effective practices of inclusion, special education, curriculum and teacher professional development.

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Website: Five Moore Minutes with Shelley Moore

Twitter: @tweetsomemoore

Instagram: fivemooreminutes

To learn more about Shelley’s research, take a look at her graduate profile.


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Jenn Homeyer

Jenn Homeyer is the Director of Safety, Operations and Employee Accountability at Transportation for the East Syracuse Minoa CSD.

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Mary Radel

Mary Snyder Radel received her BA cum laude from Utica College of Syracuse University and her law degree from the University at Buffalo Law School, where she served on the Buffalo Human Rights Law Review.  Mary is an attorney, passionate mom to a son with Down Syndrome, and President of the 21 Club of CNY, a support and awareness group.  She lives with her husband, Patrick, and their three sons, in New Hartford, New York.


Dr. Kate MacLeod

Dr. Kate MacLeod is an educator, author,  researcher and consultant who is committed to supporting schools, teachers, paraprofessionals and families to meaningfully and successfully include all learners. 

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Kate is a former high school special education teacher in New York City and now works as an assistant professor at the University of Maine at Farmington where she leads the inclusive education and leadership track in the master's in special education program. She also works as a consultant with administrators, educators and families to create more inclusive practices for all students. Kate's research and writing are focused on understanding the culture of secondary inclusive schools, and best practices for supporting students with complex support needs, including those with challenging behaviors. She lives in Maine with her husband, young son Sammy, and two dogs.


UMF Master's in Special Education Program:

Dan Habib

Dan Habib is the Director and Producer of the nationally broadcast (public television) documentary films Intelligent Lives, Who Cares About Kelsey?, Mr. Connolly Has ALS and Including Samuel, as well as many other short, disability-related films. His films have been featured in dozens of film
festivals, translated into 17 languages, and used worldwide to support inclusive education and disability rights.


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Dr. Andrew Goff

Dr. Andrew Goff was an educator of children with disabilities for 12 years before earning his doctorate in early childhood special education. He has since transferred his knowledge and skills developed as a teacher and student to his work as the coordinator and lead instructor in the early childhood education department at Colorado Northwestern Community College.  His forthcoming memoir Love, Is a Classroom is a story about what he learned as a classroom teacher, but the lessons did not end with this story. Learning and sharing is a life-long endeavor for him.


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Amy Pleet-Odle

Dr. Amy Pleet-Odle is the founder of Joyful Inclusion, a systemic approach to updating inclusive practices in schools to increase teacher satisfaction, build partnerships with families and improve student outcomes. Her consulting company, Inclusion Focused Coaching, LLC, combines online school-wide professional development packages for faculty and on-site support by her Inclusion Coaching team. She draws on 50+ years of experience as an English teacher, special educator, transition specialist (local and state), university professor, empowerment coach, author and parent (2 kids with disabilities) to integrate cutting-edge, evidence-based practices into practical strategies. 

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Dr. Joyce Carr

Dr. Joyce A. Carr is the Supervisor of Special Education for the Elmira City School District, a small city school in the southern tier of NYS; a position she has held for almost 20 years. She has worked for over a decade concentrating on inclusive education, which was also the focus of her doctoral dissertation. Dr. Carr has participated in numerous building and district State Educational Department reviews to assist staff in improving instructional practices and student achievement. Dr. Carr has planned and implemented the reconfiguration of building compositions and special education programs to maximize utilization of resources for the district while continuing to strive to provide all students with inclusive educational programs and opportunities. 


Dr.Ross Green

Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the originator of the innovative, evidence-based approach called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS), as described in his influential books The Explosive Child, Lost at School, Lost & Found, and Raising Human Beings. He also developed and executive produced the award-winning documentary film The Kids We Lose, released in 2018. Dr. Greene was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for over 20 years, and is now founding director of the non-profit Lives in the Balance. 


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