Leadership is critical to the development, implementation, and sustainability of an IEP facilitation program. Identifying specific program leadership ensures dedication and follow-through on critical elements of designing and implementing a facilitation program. Functional programs have dedicated staffs who meet regularly to plan and/or review operations and performance. Engaging the support of senior leadership is critical for the long-term success of the program. Program leadership should regularly inform senior leadership of progress, outcomes, and feedback. The success of a facilitation program is also greatly reliant on the support and input of stakeholders. Program leadership must communicate with various stakeholders in order to elicit feedback.

Critical Considerations for Internal or External Leadership

Successful IEP facilitation programs can be managed internally by an existing or new employee or team, or externally through a third-party agency. Regardless of how the program is managed, some oversight by the agency will need to occur.

Considerations for internal management include:

  • Who will manage the program?
  • What is the current workload and capacity of the individual(s) who will manage the program?
  • Is additional training required to develop a program manager(s)?
  • What expertise/interest do we have with our existing staff and what do we need to cultivate or seek out?
  • Do we have cross-collaboration – involvement of other departments?

Considerations for external management:

  • Who will provide oversight of the contract?
  • How will oversight be structured and quality ensured?
  • How will information be communicated between the agency and third-party?
  • How will resources be requested and allocated? 
Lessons Learned
  • Successful external management is dependent on open communication with the agency and involvement in the initial development of the program.
  • Colleges and universities are an excellent source for external management.


Voices from the Field: Jo Anne Pool Blades

J o Anne Blades has been Program Manager for the Special Education Resolution Center since its inception in 2005. SERC was created by contract between the Oklahoma State Department of Education and Oklahoma State University to manage the programs for due process and mediation in special education...Learn more