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About Us

CEC Leadership Institute

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.

CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides professional development, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice. CEC is known as THE source for information, resources, and professional development for special educators.

CEC has local Units in all 50 states and Canada, as well as 18 optional Special Interest Divisions focused on a specific topic, specialty area, role, or exceptionality. We also have CEC Student Chapters at hundreds of colleges and universities.


Our Mission and Vision


High-quality education that is inclusive and equitable for individuals with disabilities.



Cultivating, supporting, and empowering education professionals who work with individuals with disabilities by:

  • Advocating for education professionals and for individuals with disabilities, and/or gifts and talents
  • Advancing professional practice and scholarly research
  • Promoting diversity, equity, inclusivity, and accessibility
  • Building networks, partnerships, and communities

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CEC Bylaws

View CEC's bylaws and proposed revisions.

View Bylaws

 Notice of Proposed Amendments to CEC’s Bylaws 

CEC’s Bylaws require that members receive a summary of proposed amendments to the Bylaws and have a 60-day period to comment. Members wishing to comment on the three proposed amendments that follow should submit comments to or to the Council for Exceptional Children, ATTN: Sharon Rodriguez, 3100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 600, Arlington, VA, 22201. All comments will be provided to the Board of Directors. The deadline for input is 11:59 p.m. Eastern, June 10, 2022.

The deadline for input is 11:59 p.m. Eastern, June 10, 2022.

Proposed Revisions (Input Due June 10, 2022)

Revise Bylaws Article XI, Amendments, Section 2. Procedure to Amend, as follows:

  1. The President shall ensure that notice of any proposed amendment to the Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws is provided to the CEC membership at least 60 30 days prior to the consideration of action implementation on the proposed amendment by the Board of Directors. The notice shall be placed in one of The Council’s official publications. At the President’s discretion, the notice may include the complete text of the proposed amendment(s) but must include a summary of the intent of the proposed amendment(s) with administrative and financial implications.



As far as can be determined, the 60-day member comment period on proposed amendments to CEC’s Bylaws has been in place since at least 2000. Executive Services staff reports that, since at least 2010, if not before, no written (as opposed to electronic) input on proposed bylaws revisions has been received.


In the age of the internet and email correspondence, the 60-day comment period hampers the ability of the organization to rapidly respond to changes that can positively impact the organization and the field.

Revise the Bylaws Article V (Board of Directors) as indicated below:


Section 1. Composition. 

  1. The board will consist of no fewer than 12 members and no more than 15, including the four officers (specifically, the President, President Elect, Immediate Past President, and Treasurer). The board may appoint up to three voting Thought Leaders to serve on the board each year as needed, which will be in addition to the 12-15 elected Board members. The board has the authority to determine annually the number of board members necessary to fulfill the mission of the organization based on a needs assessment performed by the Leadership Development Committee. Of this number In addition, the CEC Executive Director serves as a non-voting member of the Board. 
  2. The board may, in its sole discretion, appoint not more than three Thought Leaders to serve on the board each year. A Thought Leader is an individual who is may or may not be a member of CEC and may be outside of the field of special education, education, or disabilities. These individuals may be recruited and selected by the board or LDC at the request of the Board. Thought Leaders bring in-depth knowledge and expertise in one or more areas that represent a pressing need of the board. Thought Leaders are voting members of the Board but are not eligible to become officers.

Section 3. Selection of Members of the Board of Directors.



  1. Thought Leaders will be appointed by simple majority of the board.



By CEC’s definition, “Thought Leaders bring in-depth knowledge and expertise in one or more areas that represent a pressing need of the board.” If there are members with such knowledge and expertise, there should be no reason not to allow them to serve by being appointed by the board, rather than subject their service to the organization to completing  the application process and, than, placing the outcome in the hands of a member election. Further, their value as Thought Leaders would be enhanced by their knowledge of, and experience within, CEC.


As the number of board members decreases, it is increasingly difficult to ensure that there is a pool of candidates who can commit to apply for the position of president elect (applicants must have served on the board for at least two years or within the past five years). Having Thought Leaders as additional to other board members helps to mitigate that. In addition, if the board is at its maximum number of 15, the current bylaws would not allow for a Thought Leader position to be filled, even if the board determines a critical need for one or more. 

Contact Information

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Our Founding & History

Elizabeth Farrell

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) was organized by a group of educators attending the summer session at Teachers College, Columbia University, and their faculty members on August 10, 1922. The Council began with 12 members. Elizabeth E. Farrell was the Founder and first President from 1922-1926.

Current PresidentDanielle M. Kovach, Ed.D
Executive DirectorChad Rummel, M.Ed., CAE

Learn More About Our First 100 Years

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