Region 9 Special Ed Directors Meeting

Region 9 Special Education Directors met July 24-25 for their annual retreat.  The special ed leaders spent focused time on professional development as well as planning for regional initiatives through the Regional Low Incidence Project.

Several guests were invited to meet with the group, including:

  • Robyn Widley, Director of the Special Education Division and Tom Delaney, Special Education Program Management, from the Minnesota Department of Education attended the retreat and updated the directors on current special education topics. 
  • Tami Childs, Statewide ASD Specialist, presented information on Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder (PANDAS.)  PANDAS is an autoimmune condition initially triggered by strep infections which disrupts a child’s normal neurologic activity. 
  • Peter Martin, an attorney from Knutson, Flynn, and Deans, P.A. was invited to discuss current legal issues in special education as well as provide feedback to questions.
  • Kursten Dubbles, Assistive Technology & Universal Design for Learning Specialist, from the Minnesota Department of Education, presented information on assistive technology and accessibility. 


The remainder of the retreat was spent planning and discussing the work of the Regional Low Incidence Project.  Updates, discussion and planning took place related to the following low incidence areas: 

  • Teachers of the Blind/Visually Impaire
  • Audiology services
  • STAR Implementation/Instructional Coaching Project
  • Tuition Support for teachers who are working toward special education licensure within the region
  • Professional development opportunities for special ed teachers within the region


Throughout the year, the Region 9 Special Education Directors meet monthly at South Central Service Cooperative.  

Group of people holding a banner.
Pictured L to R:  Deanna Gronseth, Assistant Director of Special Education, Waseca Area; Erin Toninato, Region 9 Low Incidence Facilitator/SCSC Special Ed Director; Sarah Mittelstadt, Director of Special Education, Southern Plains Service Cooperative; Heather Harms, Director of Special Education, Waseca Area; John Lustig, Director of Minnesota Valley Education District; Cara Samuelson, Assistant Director of Special Ed, Mankato; Doug Hazen, Director of River Bend Education District; Katie Gag, Assistant Director of Early Learning, Mankato; and Scott Hare, Director of Student Support Services, Mankato.