Meet your new OSEP Director: Laurie VanderPloeg
Laurie VanderPloeg continues to show a deep commitment to special education. She has had a lengthy and distinguished career, but also has raised a son with disabilities. These experiences expanded her understanding and empathy for the struggle that students with disabilities go through. “My passion is to prepare students for success by raising expectations and improving outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities across the country. It is important that we rethink special education and not allow anything to limit our children from being prepared for what comes next.”
She will assume the duties of leading special education’s national governing body next month. Laurie VanderPloeg is currently the President of the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) and the Special Education Director for the Kent ISD. Before that, she spent many years as a special education teacher for Grand Rapids Public Schools and Wayland Union Schools. Subsequently, she went on to other administrative roles.
Here at eLuma, have had a chance to get to know Laurie over the last year and we have found her to be a person of exceptional compassion, competence and character. On top of that, she possesses a unique combination of youthful energy and flair. (She can dance circles around anyone — we also hear she’s quite the Latin ballroom dancer too.) Even though she has worked in special education for almost forty years, you would never be able to guess her age. Perhaps, she has discovered the fountain of youth in striving to make a difference in the lives of others. Whatever the case may be, we wish her much success and also pledge our support. Keep up the good work Laurie!