Dr. Thomas Hehir is a Professor of Practice in Learning Differences at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is in Palo Alto for a week to consult with PAUSD around our special education programs, inclusion efforts, and co-teaching experiences throughout our PK-12 district. He hosted a parent evening conversation, morning coffee presentation (the photo above is from that event at JLS), and provided the keynote at our Professional Practices 3.0 Staff Development Day of Learning. It is such an amazing opportunity for the district to hear from and work with Dr. Hehir and his team. Thanks to Dr. Holly Wade at the District Office and her entire team for inspiring us to improve our services for ALL students.
As director of the US Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs from 1993-1999, Dr. Hehir was responsible for federal leadership in implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and played a leading role in developing the Clinton administration's proposal for the 1997 reauthorization of IDEA. In 1990, Hehir was Associate Superintendent for the Chicago Public Schools, where he implemented major changes in the special education service delivery system, enabling Chicago to reach significantly higher levels of compliance with the IDEA and resulting in the eventual removal of oversight by the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. An advocate for children with disabilities in the education system, he has written extensively on special education, special education in the reform movement, due process, and least restrictive environment issues.