Patricia McGinnis holds a degree in education from the University of Minnesota and has over twenty years of teaching experience. She has been the Coordinator of the Minnesota Department of Education's Special Education Mediation Service since 2001, assuring access to the federally required mediation process and Minnesota's facilitated IEP meetings. In addition, she is a statewide trainer of leaders in special education on communication, due process and facilitation of IEP meetings and presents to parents, advocates, the Minnesota's State Bar Association, county social workers, professors, graduate students and others on conflict management, impasse strategies and Minnesota's dispute resolution options. Ms. McGinnis is a qualified neutral on the Minnesota Supreme Court Rule 114 and mediates divorce and post-divorce conflict.

Clip 1: As you think about your career with Minnesota's Special Education Mediation Services, and your years of work in dispute resolution, are there lessons that you've learned that have been partiuclarly important?

Clip 2: IEP/IFSP meetings represent critical opportunities for us to develop a shared vision about how a child's needs can best be met. Do you have advice about how those opportunities can be optimally taken advantage of?

Clip 3: Minnesota encourages the involvement of parent advocates in mediation. What are some of the benefits that accrue as a result of this involvement?

Clip 4: You spend a great deal of time talking with parents and educators who are in conflict and who may sometimes sound pretty upset and adversarial. Are there techniques, ways that you approach those situations that can create a more collaborative tone, a more openness to working together?