Presented by: 
September 12, 2023 -
11:00am - 12:30pm




About the Webinar: Storytelling allows us to build community by identifying commonalities and exploring diverse perspectives, with one another.  Helping families, educators, and service providers navigate IDEA-related conflicts can be challenging. Exploring stories can assist with identifying what is important to resolve and discerning what is critical to move a resolution process forward. In this webinar, panelists Kiran Singh Sirah, the past president of the International Storytelling Center, Diana MTK Autin, JD, Senior Director for Organizational Capacity-Building for the SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), Marc Purchin, Principal of Purchin Consulting, & Jo Ann Blades, Program Manager for Oklahoma Special Education Resolution Center (SERC), will explore the value of storytelling, both listening to and sharing, as a tool for building relationships, improving systems, developing leadership, and influencing positive change.

About the Presenters:

Kiran Singh Sirah is past president of the International Storytelling Center (ISC), an educational and cultural institution dedicated to enriching lives around the world through storytelling. ISC organizes the world’s premiere storytelling event, the National Storytelling Festival, and supports applied storytelling initiatives across a variety of industries. Prior to his ISC appointment, Kiran developed a number of award-winning peace-building programs in cultural centers across the UK. As an artist, folklorist, educator, and social justice advocate, he uses the power of human creativity to establish dialogue. An advisory member to UNESCO and a Rotary Peace Fellow, he has developed programs, publications, talks and conference papers on interdisciplinary approaches to relationship building around the globe. In 2017, Kiran was awarded the “Champion of Peace” recognition at the Rotary International ceremony at the United Nations in Geneva. Kiran firmly believes storytelling not only enriches lives, but also holds the key to building a better world.

Diana MTK Autin , JD, is Senior Director for Organizational Capacity-Building for the SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), a family-serving, parent-led organization located in Newark, NJ, which houses NJ’s federally-designated Family-to-Family Health Information Center and the state’s Parent Training and Information Center.  SPAN is the NJ affiliate for Family Voices, Parent to Parent USA, and the National Federation of Families. SPAN operates the National Center for Parent Information and Resources and the National RAISE Transition Parent TA Center.  Autin served as Executive Director/Executive Co-Director of SPAN for 28 years.

Marc Purchin In 1997 after decades of education and professional experience, Marc Purchin established Purchin Consulting in order to advance his desire to empower individuals to resolve conflicts through meaningful dialogue.  To that end he has personally conducted more than 2500 mediations through contracts with the Department of Special Education Hearing Office, several school districts and nonprofit organizations.  In addition, he is a sought after meeting facilitator, trainer, coach and has been responsible for the design of several alternative dispute resolution programs.  Marc is not only a skilled trainer, he has also taught at the American Jewish University and California State University, Dominquez Hills.  Since 1990, Marc has been a facilitator for the National Days of Dialogue assisting diverse populations come together to learn from each other and find common ground.  Marc has a BS from Southern Illinois University and an MBA from the American Jewish University.

Jo Anne Blades is Program Manager for the Special Education Resolution Center, Oklahoma State University. She graduated form Texas Tech University with the Bachelors of Science degree in Child Development. She later earned teaching certification in Kansas and continued her education by earning her Juris Doctor form the University of Akron. She has been licensed to practice law in Oklahoma since 1990. She served as a Special Consultant to the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 issues and as the Attorney Consultant to the Education Advisory Panel formed by the Oklahoma Legislature. At the Special Education Resolution Center, Ms. Blades has managed , for ten years, the special education due process hearing system and the mediation system required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. SERC also provides training resources to build dispute resolution capacity at the local district level. SERC was chosen as one of four exemplar programs of dispute resolution by CADRE in 2010. The program, a part of Oklahoma State University, is funded by the Oklahoma State Department of Education.