The U.S. Department of Education has named special educator Laurie VanderPloeg as the new director for the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
According to the announcement, VanderPloeg has nearly four decades of experience working in special education. She taught middle and high school for 15 years, then moved into administration. VanderPloeg leaves her most recent role as director of special education for the Kent Intermediate School District—an organization operating as an intermediary between local districts and the state—in western Michigan to become the new OSEP director.
A school-based SLP continually called on to update team members about changing federal regulations now serves as an official special-education legal expert.
VanderPloeg begins her new job next month. She states in the announcement that she feels one crucial goal is to help resolve the nationwide shortage of special educators.
“My focus will be on developing and supporting an effective system that is going to meet the unique and individual needs of children with disabilities,” says VanderPloeg in the announcement. “We need to look at the structures we have in place to ensure that each child is prepared for success.”
Shelley D. Hutchins is content editor/producer for The ASHA Leader. firstname.lastname@example.org.