Our People

CADRE expands its diversity in thought, skills, backgrounds, and cultural context by heavily relying on its senior consultants, Advisory Board, organizational and governmental partners, and other key stakeholders who both influence the operation of the Center as well as collaborate in the development of products and services.


Melanie J. Reese, Ph.D. Melanie Reese enthusiastically joined CADRE as Director in 2017, coming from the Idaho Dept. of Education where she was the Dispute Resolution Coordinator for seven years. There she oversaw the state's IDEA mediation, state complaint, and due process hearing systems, and helped grow the IEP... (read more)
Noëlla Bernal Noëlla Bernal is the Associate Director and Internal Evaluator at CADRE. She has neary 13 years of experience delivering technical assistance on a national level to State Education Agencies, Lead Agencies, and federally-funded Parent Centers. Noella is passionate about CADRE’s continual improvement... (read more)
Kelly Rauscher Kelly Rauscher joined CADRE in 2015 as a Learning and Development Specialist. Kelly brings over 25 years of experience working at the local, state, and national levels within the education, mental health, and foster care systems. As a parent of children who benefitted from both early intervention... (read more)
Timothy Hedeen Dr. Timothy Hedeen has served as CADRE's Senior Consultant for 20 years. Dr. Hedeen is a Professor of Conflict Management and former University Ombudsman at Kennesaw State University. He provides mediation services through court and private programs, delivers trainings in the areas of conflict... (read more)
Courtney Brown Dr. Courtney Brown serves as the external evaluator for CADRE. Dr. Brown has worked in evaluation and performance measurement for over 17 years. She has a strong background in research and evaluation methodology, including experimental and quasi-experimental design with significant experience... (read more)
Carmen Sanchez Carmen joined the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in 2006 after gaining 10 years of experience supporting families of individuals with disabilities in Fairfax County, Virginia. Prior to joining OSEP, she was the Family Resource Coordinator at the Fairfax Infant-Toddler Connection... (read more)

Direction Service (Host Agency)

Aimee Walsh Aimee Walsh has been with Direction Service for over 20 years and is the Chief Executive Officer. She previously served as the Associate Executive Director and as the program director of the Family Services program for more than ten years and launched the Wraparound Facilitation program for children... (read more)

Senior Consultants

Greg Abell Greg is the Principal at Sound Options Group, LLC, a Conflict Engagement firm.  In this role he coordinates the design, implementation and delivery of all services. His particular area of expertise is in assisting agencies, organizations and communities in designing and implementing systems for more... (read more)
Image of Diana Autin Diana Autin Diana MTK Autin, JD, is Senior Director for Organizational Capacity-Building for the SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), a family-serving, parent-led organization located in Newark, NJ, which houses NJ’s federally-designated Family-to-Family Health Information Center and the state’s Parent Training... (read more)
photo of Angie Balsley Angie Balsley Dr. Angie Balsley is an educational leader with 25 years of practical experience in implementing IDEA, working with schools and families to achieve outcomes for students with disabilities. She leads the development and implementation of laws, policies, and procedures at the local, state, and... (read more)
Photo of Art Cernosia Art Cernosia Art Cernosia is an attorney and an education consultant from Williston, Vermont. Art previously worked as a public school teacher, an Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Vermont Department of Education, a practicing attorney, and consultant with the Northeast Regional Resource Center, a... (read more)
Photo of Monica Drvota Monica Drvota Monica Drvota began her career in special education working at the Center for Special Needs Population providing technical assistance to State Departments of Education. Monica then went to the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, Office for Exceptional Children where she worked in the Dispute... (read more)
Ed Feinberg Edward Feinberg, Ph.D., is a veteran program administrator, psychologist, writer, and trainer on a variety of issues related to Parts C and B of IDEA. He is now retired; he previously served as the Program Manager of the Anne Arundel County, Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program. In this capacity he... (read more)
Tracy Gershwin Dr. Tracy Gershwin is a full professor at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in special education licensure programs and coordinates the Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis (Applied Behavior Analysis International-ABAI approved)... (read more)
Photo of Jason Harper Jason A. Harper Jason Harper is the founder of Harper Conflict Resolution, LLC. He specializes in Education and Employment mediation utilizing a collaborative approach. In addition, Jason is a nationally recognized alternative dispute resolution (ADR) consultant, conflict management coach, adjunct professor, and... (read more)
Photo of Candace Hawkins Candace Hawkins Candace began her career working for a residential facility that served young adults with serious emotional disability. She left the field of social work to become a lawyer with the hope of advocating more effectively on behalf of children and adults with disabilities. As a public interest lawyer... (read more)
Natalia Holdren Headshot Natalie Holdren Dr. Natalie Holdren is the Education Specialist Credential Coordinator at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara where she oversees the Extensive Support Needs credential program, teaches graduate courses in special education, and supervises teacher candidates in their K-22... (read more)
Image of Lenore Knudson Lenore Knudtson Ms. Knudtson has a bachelor of Arts degree from Ball State University, a Masters of Science in Education degree from the University of Wisconsin, and a Juris Doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law. She began her career as a school psychologist working with school teams, parents, and... (read more)
Deusdedi Merced Deusdedi Merced Deusdedi Merced is the Managing Member of Special Education Solutions, LLC (SES). Since 1997, Mr. Merced’s legal career has focused on special education law. After a period as an attorney with the Office of Legal Services with the New York City Department of Education, he spent several years... (read more)
Headshot of Lisa Pagano Lisa Pagano From 2006 until her retirement in December 2022, Lisa Pagano worked for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). First as a State Lead and Audit Facilitator, she supported States’ implementation of Part B and Part C program and fiscal requirements. She later... (read more)
Photo of Marshall Peter Marshall Peter Marshall Peter is the founding and former Director of CADRE (1998 - 2015). Peter’s background as a special educator and parent/parent advocate contributed to CADRE’s success at becoming mutually trusted by national leaders from the special education and advocacy communities. Peter has provided... (read more)
Randall Reese Randall co-founded RelationSmart Conflict Consulting in 1998 to provide mediation services, design effective conflict engagement systems, and facilitate decision-making for groups experiencing organizational conflict or other barriers to effective performance. Randall has a bachelor’s degree in... (read more)
Photo of Larry Ringer Larry Ringer After graduating from  the University of Wisconsin School of Law in 1977, Larry Ringer worked  for 12 years as an attorney for publicly-funded law programs in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.  His work focused on representing children with disabilities and their families in both individual and... (read more)
Claudette Rushing Headshot Claudette Rushing Claudette Rushing is an Attorney, Hearing Officer, Mediator, and Trainer in Seattle, Washington and the owner and Principal of Education Resolutions, LLC. She also works as an attorney advisor for the U.S. Department of the Interior/Bureau of Indian Education, and as an arbitrator for FINRA. She has... (read more)
photo of Jan Serak Jan Serak Jan Serak, M.S. is the co-founder and served 22 years as CEO (1995-2017) of the WI Family Assistance Center for Education, Training, and Support (WI FACETS), a parent-led, family-serving agency located in Milwaukee, WI. Serak was the co-founder and Parent Partner (1996-2017) of the Wisconsin Special... (read more)
Odilla Sidime Recognizing how conflict impacts human interaction and can interfere with meeting the needs of students, Odilla Sidime is diligent about empowering families and schools to work strategically and creatively to generate options for appropriately serving and supporting students. She is the founder of... (read more)
Photo of Ann Turnbull Ann Turnbull Dr. Ann Turnbull has been a professor, teacher, researcher, and advocate for individuals with disabilities, their families, and service providers for more than 4.5 decades.  After being a special education teacher and working in a residential institution, she joined the School of Education faculty... (read more)
Julie Weatherly Julie J. Weatherly, Esq. has been working with school agencies in the area of special education since 1986. She is the owner and founder of Resolutions in Special Education, Inc., a special education law firm in Alabama with offices in Mobile and Birmingham. Julie is a member of the State Bars of... (read more)
Richard Zeller Richard Zeller Dr. Zeller began his career working in a residential institution for children with severe cognitive disabilities. He left that setting to join others at the University of Oregon who were convinced that services must be community-based. In 1976, he became the Director of the NW Direction Service... (read more)

Advisory Board

Myriam Alizo Myriam has worked within the Parent Center Network since the year 2000. Myriam has extensive expertise engaging diverse populations, parent group development, social media coordination and data management. Myriam led the English-Spanish OSEP Glossary Project, which included the translation of over... (read more)
Terry Amsler Terry Amsler is an Adjunct Lecturer with the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University (Bloomington) where he teaches courses on public engagement.  He is also Program Director Emeritus of the Institute for Local Government’s Public Engagement Program, having retired in 2015... (read more)
Young Seh Bae Dr. Young Seh Bae is the founder and Executive Director of Community Inclusion & Development Alliance (CIDA: www.cidainfo.com), a grassroots organization with the mission of strengthening the capacity and increasing the inclusion opportunities of individuals with disabilities. She earned her... (read more)
Patricia Bourexis Patricia S. Bourexis, Ph.D., President and a Principal Researcher of The Study Group Inc., has worked with the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies for more than 25 years to ensure program quality and effectiveness. Dr. Bourexis... (read more)
Kathy Clayton Kathy Clayton, M.Ed., is a consultant for Ed21 Consulting Services. Her 25-year career has seen her serving at all levels of the public education system in special education roles. Most recently, she spent five years as the Texas State Director of Special Education of the Texas Education Agency (TEA... (read more)
Megan Cote Megan Cote is the Technical Assistance Coordinator at the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB).  During her 30 years in the field of special education, she has worked as a classroom teacher, an educational consultant, and director of the Kansas Deaf-Blind Project.  In her role at NCDB, she... (read more)
Tawara Goode Tawara Goode is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.  She has been on the faculty of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD), for over 30 years and has served in many capacities.  She has... (read more)
John Inglish John Inglish is the Program Director for the Conflict & Dispute Resolution Masters program, an interdisciplinary program housed at the University of Oregon School of Law. Prior to this, John served as an Education Program Specialist with the Oregon Department of Education where he managed the... (read more)
Jamila Pollard Jamila C. Pollard, Esq. is the senior program manager/legal officer for the Dispute Resolution Unit in the Division for Special Education Services and Supports at the Georgia Department of Education.  Since October 2013, Jamila has provided leadership in Georgia’s implementation of the IDEA dispute... (read more)
Luann Purcell Luann L. Purcell, Ed.D. currently is president of Luann Purcell, LLC where she consults and is a strategic analyst for educational and associational organizations. Her tag sums up her current professional philosophy: Learning, Leading, and Progressing! She recently retired as the Executive Director... (read more)
Esperanza Reyes Esperanza is mother to two boys, including a 4 year-old and a 14 year-old with ASD.  She is also a sibling to an adult with Intellectual Disabilities with ASD.  She currently serves as Associate Director for the Utah Parent Center (UPC).  She has worked with many families in the state for... (read more)
Courtney Salzer Courtney Salzer is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Family Assistance Center for Education, Training, and Support, Inc. She serves as Co-Director of the OSEP-funded Wisconsin Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) and the Director of the Region C Parent TA Center (RPTAC). Courtney also... (read more)
Kerry Smith Attorney Kerry Voss Smith has been the Director of the Pennsylvania Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR) since 2002. She is a graduate of Penn State University (B.S. Special/Elementary Education); Antioch University Midwest (M.A. Conflict Analysis & Engagement); and Dickinson School of Law (J.D.)... (read more)
Sharon Walsh Sharon Walsh, Co-Director of Walsh Taylor Incorporated, has worked in the field of special education and early intervention for over 30 years.  She currently provides consultation to state and local agencies (e.g. SEAs, state lead agencies for Part C, school districts and local lead agencies) on the... (read more)