Lehigh University
United States
(610) 395-9405

Perry A. Zirkel is university professor emeritus of education and law at Lehigh University, where he formerly was dean of the College of Education, subsequently held the Iacocca Chair in Education for its five-year term.  He has a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut, and a Master of Laws degree from Yale University.  He has done presentations in every state in the U.S.  He has also written more than 1,550 publications on various aspects of school law, with an emphasis on legal issues in special education.  He writes a regular column for Exceptionality journal and NASP’s Communiqué newsletter, and he did so previously for Phi Delta Kappan, Teaching Exceptional Children, and NAESP’s Principal magazine  Past president of the Education Law Association and co-chair of the Pennsylvania special education appeals panel from 1990 to 2007, he is the author of the CEC monograph The Legal Meaning of Specific Learning Disability; the more recently published books, A Digest of Supreme Court Decisions Affecting Education and Student Teaching and the Law; and the two-volume reference Section 504, the ADA and the Schools.  In 2012, he received the Research into Practice Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Excellence in Research Award from AERA’s Division A (Administration, Organization & Leadership).  In 2013, he received the University Council for Educational Administration’s Edwin Bridges award for significant contributions to the preparation and development of school leaders.  In 2016, he received the Education Law Association’s Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law, and in 2017 he received the Council for Exceptional Children’s Special Education Research Award.  He continues to direct the one day Lehigh Special Education Law Conference each May and the one-week Lehigh Special Education Law Symposium each June.

E-mail address: perry.zirkel@lehigh.edu

Telephone no.:  610/395-9405

Website: perryzirkel.com

Training of Impartial Hearing Officers (“IHOs”):


Perry A. Zirkel has conducted impartial hearing officer training programs in many states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  He has also conducted such programs nationally at the Seattle U. law school, the LRP conference, the annual conference of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary, and U. San Diego law school as well as regionally via webinars for the ten states in the Mountain Plains Resource center and on a blended live/broadcast basis for the states in the Northeast Education Resources Center.  Several of these programs have included mediators and/or state complaint resolution personnel.  He also co-directed the Lehigh ALJ/IHO Institute, which was held in June 2014 with on-campus participation by five states and with webcast participation by twelve states and the Virgin Islands.

After helping to write the Pennsylvania regulations for the state’s second tier in response to Muth v. Central Bucks School District, 839 F.3d 113 (3d Cir. 1988), he served as co-chair of the resulting Pennsylvania Special Education Appeals Panel from 1990 until the state changed in 2007 to one tier.  He currently serves as an IDEA review officer for Nevada.


He has also conducted, for the respective state education departments, a stakeholder session concerning impartial hearings in Connecticut (June 2008) and a report evaluating organizational options for special education hearings in Massachusetts (May 2009).


Available on his website, his publications include articles on state IHO systems and laws; impartiality of IHOs; procedural issues for IHOs, such as statute of limitations, stay-put, burden of proof, and expert witnesses; empirical studies of the frequency and outcomes of IHO decisions; and substantive issues, such as the standard for FAPE, the calculation of compensatory education, and the remedial authority of IHOs.

DISCLAIMER: Inclusion in the CADRE database of trainers and consultants does not constitute an endorsement by, or affiliation with, CADRE or OSEP. Nor does it represent that the listed individual has met any particular standards or requirements including those described in IDEA. Qualifications described are entirely self-reported, and no attempt has been made by CADRE to confirm the accuracy of this information. Before utilizing the services of a listed individual, CADRE recommends that you check references and otherwise confirm that the services offered will meet your needs.