Two local special education leaders set for Keystone talk

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KALAMAZOO—Two local leaders with the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency will be the November speakers for the Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Speaker Series.

Laurie Montgomery, the agency's assistant superintendent for special education, and Angela Telfer, director of its WoodsEdge Learning Center, will speak at 8 a.m. Friday, Nov. 30, in the Dean's Conference Room (Room 2150) of Schneider Hall, home of the Haworth College of Business. Their presentation is titled "The WoodsEdge Story: A Phenomenal First for Special Education in the U.S."

The event, which is free and open to the public, begins with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting Kayla Hunt at (269) 387-6059 or kayla.j.hunt@wmich.edu. Free parking is available in the Fetzer Center parking lot.

WoodsEdge Learning Center serves students ages 3 to 26 from all nine school districts in Kalamazoo County. It features innovative learning spaces and tools designed to support students at all stages of learning.

Montgomery, Telfer and their staff worked closely with architects to design WoodsEdge to provide a nurturing environment for students with severe to profound impairments. The state-of-the-art special education learning facility was the first of two construction projects funded by a $25.4 million bond proposal that Kalamazoo County voters approved in 2007. The special education facility is the first in the nation to achieve LEED Gold Certification in the schools category.

Photo of Laurie .

Montgomery

Laurie Montgomery

Montgomery is a WMU alumna with 27 years of professional service in K-12 public education in Michigan: five years working in the general education setting, 17 years as a school psychologist and five years administering special education programs and services. She has a strong commitment to improving the quality of instruction for youth who are at risk and have disabilities.

As the assistant superintendent for special education for KRESA since July 2009, Montgomery is responsible for the provision of special education services to all eligible individuals in Kalamazoo County, from birth to age 26. From 2007 to 2009, Montgomery was director and supervisor of special education for the southern region of Kalamazoo County, overseeing all special education programs and services, as well as fiscal and legal obligations for Portage, Schoolcraft and Vicksburg Public Schools. She earned bachelor's, master's and educational specialist degrees from WMU and is a doctoral candidate at Eastern Michigan University.

Photo of Angela .

Telfer

Angela Telfer

Telfer, also a WMU alumna, has more than 25 years of experience in special education as a teacher, consultant and administrator. Telfer strives to provide excellence in education so that children and adults with disabilities are as independent as they are able to be and are accepted and respected as valued, participating members of their communities.

Telfer earned a bachelor's degree in special education from Central Michigan University and a master's degree in special education with a focus on autism spectrum disorders from WMU. She earned special education supervisor certification from Grand Valley State University. She has provided training in autism spectrum disorders at KRESA and throughout Michigan and has been a trainer for the Statewide Autism Resources and Training—START—Project.

The series

The Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Speaker Series provides an opportunity for the local community to hear top business leaders and WMU faculty, alumni and friends of the Haworth College of Business discuss current topics of interest to the community.