The 14th National Academy for IDEA Administrative Law Judges and Impartial Hearing Officers

July 14-17, 2015 | 30 General CLE Credits, pending

Established in 2001, the Academy has been the only national forum for confidential and candid discussion by and among IDEA hearing officers concerning common issues and problems. To encourage these discussions, attendance is limited to sitting hearing officers, whether administrative law judges or contract hearing officers, and state level personnel having only administrative responsibility for hearing systems (no legal advisory or policy authority).


The 14th National Academy for IDEA Administrative Law Judges and Impartial Hearing Officers will begin at 1 pm on Tuesday, July 14, and conclude on Friday, July 17 at noon.


The  agenda will include the following topics:

  • Pre-Hearing Conference Strategies and Techniques
  • Ethical Guidance in the Electronic Age
  • Decision Writing
  • Issues Concerning Students in Correctional Institutions
  • Issues Arising from Manifestation Determinations
  • Emerging Issues in Due Process Hearings
  • Judicialization of Due Process Hearings
  • Accommodating Students with Allergies

Registration will open shortly

Eligibility: The Academy is intended to provide a forum for free and open discussion by (1) sitting hearing officers, whether administrative law judges or persons under current contract with a state education agency to serve as a hearing officer, and (2) designated state level personnel with administrative responsibility only for due process hearing system (please check with Professor Rosenfeld for eligibility).






Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Noon  – 1:00

Sign in, distribution of materials, welcome

S. James Rosenfeld

1:00 – 2:30

Evaluating Testimony About Evaluations

Holly C. Almon, M.S. BCBA, Director, Clinical Services, blueprints

2:30 – 2:45


2:45 – 4:15

Accommodating allergies in schools

Christopher M. Henderson, Dussault Law Group

4:15 – 5:30


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

8:00 – 9:00

; complimentary continental breakfast

9:00 – 10:30

Pre-hearing conference strategies and techniques (1)

Bernadette House  Bignon, Senior Administrative Law Judge,  Oregon Office of Administrative Hearings

10:30 – 10:45


10:45 – Noon

Pre-hearing conference strategies and techniques (2)

Judge Bignon and Panel

Noon  – 1:00


1:00 – 2:15

Ethical Guidance in the Electronic Age (1)

Carol J. Greta, Administrative Law Judge, Iowa Administrative Hearings Division

2:15 – 2:30


2:30 – 4:00

Ethical Guidance in the Electronic Age (2)

Judge Greta and panel

Thursday, July 16, 2015

8:00 – 9:00

; complimentary continental breakfast

9:00 – 10:30

Decision Writing I

James D. Gerl, Esq., Scotti & Gerl, Impartial Hearing Officer

10:30 – 10:45


10:45 – Noon

Decision Writing II

Mr. Gerl and Panel

Noon  – 1:00


1:00 – 2:15

Kids in Correctional Institutions

Julie K. Waterstone, Associate Dean for Experiental Learning, Clinical Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School

2:15 – 2:30


2:30 – 4:00

Manifestation determinations

Jose L. Martin, Esq., Richards Lindsay & Martin, LLP

Friday, July 17, 2015

8:00 – 9:00

; complimentary continental breakfast

9:00 – 10:30

Emerging Issues in DP Hearings

Mark C. Weber, Vincent de Paul Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law

10:30 – 10:45


10:45 – Noon

Judicialization of DP Hearings

Prof. Weber & Panel





Holly C. Almon, M.S., BCBA

Director, Clinical Services, blueprints, Seattle, WA

Holly Almon is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Washington State Certified Counselor. She earned her Master of Science in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas. Holly has experience in providing interventions to serve children with Autism and their families. Her experience also includes providing home and school based consultative services to children, families and school personnel, and managing her own private practice. Holly's passions as a practitioner include teaching self-advocacy skills, helping to develop language programming and intervention for non-vocal students, providing strong functional assessments and designing positive behavior support plans. Her depth of involvement and care is conveyed directly by her relationship with children and families as well as on a larger level by serving as the Secretary of the Northwestern Association for Behavior Analysis.

Bernadette House Bignon

Senior Administrative Law Judge, Oregon Office of Administrative Hearings, Tualatin, OR

Bernadette H. Bignon, currently a senior administrative law judge, is an active member of the Oregon State Bar and is an inactive member of the State Bar of Georgia. From her start as an intern and then as an assistant attorney general with Georgia's Department of Law, ALJ Bignon has worked the majority of her legal career in the public sector. After moving to Oregon, she became a municipal judge/justice of the peace, while raising kids, goats, llamas, and sundry other animals and hay in Oakridge. Next followed work in criminal prosecution and defense, before she started, in December 2001, in what was soon to be the Office of Administrative Hearings.

ALJ Bignon has presided over IDEA hearings since 2003, in addition to a mixed case load of the OAH's most complex hearing referrals. She has presented at legal education seminars on such topics as Conducting Hearings under the Administrative Procedures Act, Effective Communication with People who are Mentally Ill, The Nuts and Bolts of Administrative Law, Eliminating Socio-Economic Bias in Administrative Law - the ALJ's perspective, and as a panelist at the National IDEA Academy on "What Would You Do?" and "Practical Tips for New Hearing Officers," among others. She also authored "Special Education Hearings and the OAH, A Good Idea" Oregon State Bar Administrative Law Newsletter, Vol. 12, No. 4 (Fall 2011).

James D. Gerl

Impartial Hearing Officer, Scotti & Gerl, Lewisburg, WV

Jim Gerl is a lawyer, a special education law consultant, a trainer of hearing officers and mediators, a hearing officer, a mediator and a lawyer, and he is a frequent speaker on special education law topics. He is special education hearing officer and mediator for the West Virginia, Utah and Pennsylvania. He also was a hearing officer and mediator for special education cases in Washington DC for over two years. Jim serves as a consultant to a number of state education agencies, and he has trained hearing officers from all 50 states. He is also a hearing officer for the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation, and he is engaged in the practice of law as a partner in the law firm of Scotti & Gerl.
Jim has presented at the hearing officer trainings at several national and regional trainings and at the National Association of Hearing Officials. Jim has served as a Faculty Advisor for the administrative law- fair hearing program offered at the National Judicial College. He has a law degree from the University of San Francisco, a Masters degree in public policy analysis from the University of Illinois- Chicago, and a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is licensed to practice law in West Virginia, Illinois and Washington, DC.

Carol J. Greta

Administrative Law Judge, Administrative Hearings Division, Department of Inspections and Appeals, Des Moines, IA

After serving 12 years as general counsel to the Iowa Department of Education, Carol Greta was hired in October 2012 as an administrative law judge within the Appeals Division of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. In her present position, Carol hears appeals from the Departments of Transportation, Human Services, Natural Resources, Commerce, Workforce Development, Revenue, and Education.

In her 12 years at the Department of Education, Carol served as legal counsel for the State Board of Education, as well as for the agency's director, division administrators, and bureau chiefs. Her other duties include serving as the Department's Administrative Law Judge, coordinator of administrative rules, and the Department's liaison to the governing boards of both the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.

A native of Iowa, Carol graduated from Forest City High School (1974), and obtained an A.A. degree from Waldorf College (1976), B.A. from the University of Iowa (1978), and J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law (1981). Until the fall of 2000, she was in the private practice of law in Eldora and Newton, and was appointed Alternative District Associate Court Judge in Iowa Judicial District 5A, and presided over criminal, juvenile, and small claims court matters.

Carol is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association, the Iowa and National Associations of Administrative Law Judges, and is past president of the National Council of State Education Attorneys (NCOSEA).

Christopher M. Henderson

Dussault Law Group, Seattle, WA

Mr. Henderson's practice includes preparing appropriate planning and end-of-life documents; advising beneficiaries, professional fiduciaries and attorneys regarding settlements and special needs trusts; advising individuals regarding guardianship, state and federal benefits, and special education; and representation of clients in related disputes or litigation. Mr. Henderson was admitted to practice in the State of Washington in 2009. Mr. Henderson received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his law degree from University of Washington School of Law, where he currently co-teaches the Disability Law course.

Mr. Henderson's past experience includes academic work in disability rights and professional work in business and technology, in particular technology addressing the needs of those with disabilities. While in law school, Mr. Henderson was selected as Symposium Editor for the Washington Law Review, Framing Legal and Human Rights Strategies for Change: A Case Study of Disability Rights in Asia, 83 Wash. Law. Rev. 435 (2008).

Mr. Henderson has been an invited speaker on Guardianship, Medicaid, Elder Law, Special Education and Estate Planning issues to varied groups including other attorneys and a variety of advocacy groups and was named a Rising Star by SuperLawyers in 2014. He is a member of the King County Bar Association, Guardianship and Elder Law Section where he serves on the CLE Committee; the Washington Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Washington State Bar Association (Real Property, Probate and Trust Section; Elder Law Section); and the National Academy for Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

Jose L. Martín

Attorney at Law, Richards Lindsay & Martin, LLP, Austin, TX

Jose Martin is a founding partner of Richards Lindsay & Martin, whose practice centers on disabilities law issues. In addition to litigation and consultation with public school districts, he has presented at local, regional, state and national in-services, seminars and conferences on special education law. He also serves as Contributing Editor for The Special Educator, a weekly newsletter, as well as Special Ed Connection, an online subscription publication.

Mr. Martin received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He previously worked with Henslee, Ryan and Groce, of Austin, Texas, and was employed at the University of Texas School of Law and the Texas Attorney General's Office. He has also authored articles on discipline issues under IDEA and Sec. 504, Sec. 504, OCR and other special education issues.

Julie K. Waterstone

Director, Children's Rights Clinic, Southwestern Law School, Los Angeles, CA

In addition to directing the Children's Rights Clinic, which provides representation to children with disabilities in special education matters and children in school discipline proceedings, Professor Waterstone teaches a special education law seminar and writes on issues related to special education and school discipline. Prior to working at Southwestern, Professor Waterstone was a staff attorney at Public Counsel Law Center, where she provided legal assistance to parents in obtaining special education and related services for children with disabilities and represented children in school discipline proceedings. Before that, Professor Waterstone was a clinical professor at the University of Mississippi Law School, where she supervised law students in the Child Advocacy Clinic. Professor Waterstone began her legal career with the law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP, in Los Angeles, as a litigation associate in the area of business litigation.

Professor Waterstone earned her J.D. from Northwestern Law School and her B.A. in Law and Society from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a member of the California and Mississippi state bars.

Mark C. Weber

Vincent de Paul Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, IL

Mark C. Weber serves as Vincent DePaul Professor of Law at DePaul University. He is the author of Special Education Law and Litigation Treatise (LRP Pubs. 3d ed. 2008 & supps.), Special Education Law Cases and Materials (with Mawdsley and Redfield) (Lexis-Nexis 4th ed. 2013), Disability Harassment (NYU Press 2007), and Understanding Disability Law (Lexis-Nexis 2d ed. 2012). He was guest editor of the Journal of Law and Education's special issue on the thirtieth anniversary of Board of Education v. Rowley in 2012. Before joining the DePaul faculty, he conducted a clinical program at the University of Chicago Law School providing representation for parents of children with disabilities in special education cases.

Program Chair

S. James Rosenfeld

Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Seattle University School of Law, Seattle WA

Jim joined the Law School in September 2001 as supervisor of the Special Education Clinical program until 2005. Thereafter, he served as Director of Continuing Legal Education until June 2009, following which he became Director of Education Law Programs.
In 2002, he established the National Academy of IDEA Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers, which has trained special education hearing officers from over 25 states. Until recently, he served as founding Chair of the Special Education Section of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary (NAALJ). He is the founder of COPAA (The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates), a private, non-profit organization established to improve the quality and increase the quantity of legal resources for parents of children with disabilities. In April 2002, Jim was invited to testify before the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education. He also participated in the Monitoring Stakeholders Project convened by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to consider changes in OSEP's monitoring and compliance ("Focused Monitoring"). The Founding Managing Editor of EHLR (now IDELR, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Law Report, he has had a long interest in improving the IDEA hearing system and, in 1985, testified before Congress on suggested improvements.



   Early: PAID on/before 4/30/15 $1,100 per person
Regular: PAID on/before 6/12/15 $1,200 per person
Late: PAID on/after 6/13/15 $1,350 per person


3-5 persons: PAID on/before 4/30/15 $1,000 per person
PAID on/before 6/12/15 $1,100 per person
6+ persons: PAID on/before 4/30/15 $950 per person
PAID on/before 6/12/15 $1,000 per person

Lodging Information

Lodging Update

The IDEA Academy Room Block at the Silver Cloud Hotel is sold out. There are still rooms available at a higher rate than the room block - please call their reservations line at 206-325-1400 or 1-800-490-1901.

Other nearby hotels include The Inn at Virginia Mason  and The Baroness Hotel. These hotels have some rooms available at lower rates. Other options are listed on the Law School website by clicking here: Places to Stay.

Please book your room sooner rather than later.

Hotel rooms in Seattle in summertime are in high demand and can become expensive as the dates approach. If you plan to stay at the Conference Hotel - the Silver Cloud Hotel Seattle on Broadway - you must reserve your room no later than June 12, 2015. The Silver Cloud Hotel is located across the street from the Seattle University campus, about a five minute walk from Seattle University School of Law.  Click here for a printable set of instructions on making room reservations.

Conference Hotel

Silver Cloud Hotel - Broadway

1100 Broadway | Seattle WA 98122

Single King/Double Queen -  $249.00 per night, single occupancy - $259 per night, double occupancy

Deadline for reservations: June 12, 2015

To make reservations:

206-325-1400 or 1-800-490-1901 - Use the Group Name "IDEA Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers"" - Use Group Code IDEA


If you are driving to Seattle and staying at the Silver Cloud Hotel, unless you need to drive to campus, you will need to park your car there and walk to the School of Law. The campus parking permits do not allow for over-night parking, and the university cannot be liable for the safety of your car.