In The Politics of Autism, I write about special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Laurie VanderPloeg will lead the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ (OSERS) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) starting in November.
“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,” VanderPloeg said. “We need to look at the structures we have in place to ensure that each child is prepared for success.”
VanderPloeg started her career as a high school special education teacher at Wayland Union Schools in Wayland, Michigan.
She spent 15 years teaching high school and middle school students prior to earning her master’s degree in special education administration from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Since earning her master’s, VanderPloeg has served as the supervisor of special education for the Grand Rapids Public School District, a special education consultant with the Michigan Department of Corrections, and most recently as the director of special education for Kent Intermediate School District.
At Education Week, Christina Samuels adds some detail:
VanderPloeg is currently president of the board of directors of the Council for Exceptional Children, an organization representing special education professionals. She was also a former president of the Council of Administrators of Special Education. And, her ties to western Michigan are deep, just like those of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. A graduate of Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, VanderPloeg was a middle and high school special education teacher for 15 years in western Michigan school districts before entering administration.