Dr. Jeannine Topalian was recently appointed to the California State Board of Education’s Advisory Commission on Special Education. The commission provides recommendations and advice to the State Board of Education, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the legislature, and the governor in new or continuing areas of research, program development and evaluation in California special education.
“I am honored to have been appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon to the Advisory Commission on Special Education on April 30. I’m excited to take on this role and very appreciative to have been given this opportunity. It’s an honor to take on this challenge especially during a time when special education is evolving,” said Topalian who is the secretary and treasurer of that California Association of School Psychologists.
“The dedication and passion of the commissioners advocating for the rights of students with special needs was very evident during my first meeting. Moreover, the decisions and recommendations that the Commission makes can have long lasting impact on all students, their families, and school districts throughout the state. Therefore, these suggestions may also impact our field as well.”
Dr. Topalian’s experience includes over 15 years as a practicing school psychologist in PreK-12 schools and three years as a part-time adjunct university trainer of school psychologists at the master’s and doctoral level. She has extensive knowledge of and works specifically with students with special needs and is certified to evaluate, asses, and service students with specific learning disabilities, neurological disorders, intellectual delays, autism, emotional disturbances and other health impairments.
“This is a great opportunity to give back at a state level and be a liaison to share information about the role school psychologists play in schools and helping students with special needs. I know this will also be a great learning opportunity,” she said. “All in all, my first meeting in June was exhilarating. I’m looking forward to the next one in August.”
The ACSE addresses numerous issues related to California Special Education as defined in Education Code Section 56000, including: student outcomes, incarcerated youth, positive behavioral interventions, interagency agreements, teacher credentialing, parity for parents/families, and integrated services.
Members serve on the ACSE for four-year terms (with a maximum of two terms) and commission meetings, open to the public, are held for a minimum of four times per year with additional subcommittee or task force meetings as budget permits.