Former OSEP Director Joins CEC Staff
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is excited to announce that Laurie VanderPloeg will be joining its staff as the new Associate Executive Director for Professional Affairs. Laurie will start this new role, designed to advance CEC’s efforts to support the field, on March 1.
For more than 40 years, Laurie has been a champion for students with disabilities at all levels of education. Most recently, she served as Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining the department, she was the Special Education Director for the Kent Intermediate School District (Kent ISD) and spent many years as a special education teacher, an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University in the special education administration program and is a parent of an adult with disabilities.
Laurie graduated from Grand Valley State University with a master’s in special education administration and a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State College. She holds administrative approvals as both supervisor and director of special education and certification in learning disabilities, cognitive impairment, emotional impairment, and K–8 regular education.
“Laurie has been a member, leader, partner, and advocate for CEC over the years, and she understands how important it is to keep CEC in the center of this field,” said Chad Rummel, Executive Director. “I look forward to continuing to expand CEC’s partnerships and activities as we welcome Laurie aboard.”
In her new role, Laurie will oversee strategic initiatives directed at supporting the field, such as overseeing activities to address the special education personnel shortage. She will also provide guidance over the standards and professional development activities of CEC.
“Laurie brings with her a vision for the field that can only continue to move us forward and make us stronger,” said Dennis Cavitt, CEC President. “She has been an advocate in so many arenas and we are elated that she is going to continue to be that voice through her work at CEC.”
As the former president of CEC and its Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE), Laurie has held multiple leadership roles within CEC and served in several state and national organizations.
“This is my professional home—it always has been,” Laurie said. “I’m excited that I get to bring new ideas to CEC and continue the work and relationships I’ve built.”
Laurie is joining the CEC team as it begins new efforts to revisit the strategic plan, which will identify new and current areas of focus for CEC in the next 7-10 years.
Laurie will be available for a meet and greet at CEC’s Learning Interactive Virtual Event (L.I.V.E.) in March.