A very diverse group of people together as a teamThe CPIR is very honored to have the expertise of multiple advisors to guide and inform the work of the Center. These advisors are:

Individually, these three groups have different roles and responsibilities. Together, their guidance and input ensure that the CPIR’s products and services represent an accurate and timely response to the needs of the Parent Center network.

Let us tell you more about these three important groups.

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Stakeholders Advisory Group

The Stakeholders Advisory Group is  a critical part of the CPIR’s user-centered, user-driven approach to supporting the work of the PTIs and CPRCs across the country. The group:

  • includes at least one representative from Parent Centers in each region;
  • includes the director of each of the six regional Parent Technical Assistance Centers (RPTACs) and the director of the National Native American Technical Assistance Center;
  • reflects the diversity of center sizes and populations served (e.g., race, language, rural, urban); and
  • includes at least one representative from other stakeholder groups such as OSEP’s Technical Assistance and Dissemination network (TA&D), state special education directors, project directors of State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG), the comprehensive center network, Regional Educational Laboratories, and the Equity Assistance Centers.

Purpose of the Stakeholders Advisory Group| The group provides CPIR staff with guidance on:

  • the educational and product needs of the Parent Center network;
  • the quality, relevance, and usefulness of CPIR products and services;
  • opportunities for CPIR collaborations with Parent Centers, disability organizations, professionals, and other USDE-funded centers; and
  • strategic priorities for the center.

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Membership of the Stakeholders Advisory Group | We are proud to have assembled such a powerful group of Parent Center representatives and other stakeholders to keep the work of the CPIR on-target with Parent Center needs. Members are listed below, along with their affiliation.

From Region 1

  • Diana Autin, co-director, Region 1 PTAC
  • Michelle Lewis, New Hampshire Parent Information Center (PTI)
  • Charlotte Spinkston, Urban PRIDE (CPRC)

From Region 2

  • Connie Hawkins, Region 2 PTAC
  • Josie Thomas, Parents’ Place of Maryland (PTI)
  • Beverly McCarty, Family Resource Center for Disabilities & Special Needs (CPRC)

From Region 3

  • Dave Blanchard, Region 3 PTAC
  • Sharon House, Oklahoma Parents Center (PTI)
  • DJ Markey, Pyramid Resource Center (CPRC)

From Region 4

  • Janis Serak, Region 4 PTAC
  • Caryn Pack Ivey, Michigan Alliance for Families (PTI)
  • Elsa Diaz-Bautista, Alianza Latina Aplicando Soluciones (ALAS)

From Region 5

  • Barbara Buswell, Region 5 PTAC
  • Joyce Millard Hoie, Raising Special Kids (PTI)
  • Roger Holt, PLUK (PTI)

From Region 6

  • Nora Thompson, Region 6 PTAC
  • Michael Moore, Hawaii Parent Training and Information Center (PTI)
  • Eric Nolan Wade, LINKS Mat-Su Parent Resource Center (CPRC)

From Parent Centers providing TA nationally

  • Vicki Farnsworth, National Military Families (The Branch)
  • Judy Wiley,  National Native American PTAC

Other Advisors on the Stakeholders Advisory Group

  • Seena Skelton, Great Lakes Equity Assistance Center
  • Loujeania Bost, National Technical Assistance Center for Transition
  • Nita Rudy, Parents for Public Schools
  • Debra Ahrens, Wisconsin State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG)

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Senior Advisors Team

The CPIR is also extremely fortunate to have as critical advisors the directors of all six current regional PTACs. The steady input of the Senior Advisors Team ensures that the activities and products of the CPIR:

  • are coordinated and aligned with those of the regional PTACs;
  • represent the stated interests and needs of the Parent Centers in their given region; and
  • do not duplicate the knowledge-development and capacity-building activities for which regional PTACs are responsible.

Each year, a different regional PTAC director on the Senior Advisors Team will serve as team lead for the group. The team lead is a member of the CPIR’s Management Team and so is directly and deeply involved in the focus and operations of the CPIR.

The team lead for the Senior Advisors Team for 2013-2014 (Year 1 of the CPIR) was Barb Buswell, the director of the Region 5 PTAC at the PEAK Center. Year 2, the team lead was Jan Serak, the director of the Region 4 PTAC at WI-FACETS. Now, in Year 3, the team lead is David Blanchard, of the Region 3 PTAC.

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Product Development Advisors

A large part of CPIR’s responsibility is developing and adapting products and resources for the Parent Center network. This allows Parent Centers to concentrate their efforts on the work they do with families of children with disabilities. However, this also makes it imperative that the products the CPIR develops for PTIs and CPRCs closely address their actual needs–topic-wise, format-wise, cultural-wise, and so on.

To that end, product development advisors from the Parent Centers themselves are asked to provide input and guidance throughout the entire product development process. This includes:

  • helping to identify which products will be developed (or adapted);
  • reviewing products through multiple drafts; and
  • furthering the dissemination of resources to other Parent Centers, staff, and families.

Who serves as product development advisors is determined on an ad hoc basis, depending on the proposed topic and the individual areas of expertise within the Parent Center network. The CPIR provides private work spaces on its website for the advisors to gather, discuss, and submit their feedback on products in development.

We very much look forward to this user-driven process and to the benefits that come from talking to actual users about what materials and resources they need and how they need them!

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