Judy Sorrell

“Building local capacity, that’s just really critical for me. I think it’s been a lifesaver for our local school divisions.”
— Matt Eich for Education Week
— Matt Eich for Education Week
Focus of Strength:Special Education
Position:Director, Shenandoah Valley Regional Program for Special Education, Fishersville, Va.
District:Six school districts in the region

When Judy Sorrell was a child, she knew she would devote her life to working with children with disabilities.

As a 5th grader, well before the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act existed, requiring public schools to educate students with disabilities in the “least restrictive” environment possible, Sorrell was already indignant over the way a younger cousin with Down syndrome was being treated in school. Though her cousin attended school on the same campus, Sorrell wasn’t allowed to talk to her or see her all day.

Now 59, Sorrell has drawn on that sense of indignation when necessary to bring the most up-to-date services and professionals to her students in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where she coordinates special education services for students with low-incidence disabilities for six school districts.

Read More From the Special Report >


2015 Agenda

7:15 a.m.–8:00 a.m.
Networking Breakfast
Join for breakfast with leaders who work in the fields of most interest to you. There’ll be tables for parent engagement, school climate, ed tech, and more!

8:00 a.m.–8:25 a.m.
Welcome, Introductions, and Recognition Presentation
Recognition of the work of 8 of the 15—2015 Leaders To Learn From selected by Education Week.

8:25 a.m.–8:40 a.m.
Breakouts—Meet the Leaders
First 8 Leaders will go to their subject matter tables located throughout the room to discuss with attendees their “Focus of Strength” and to answer any questions attendees have. (Attendees will be encouraged to find their table of interest based on the map of the room provided in the program).

8:40 a.m.–9:10 a.m.
Recognition Presentation Concludes
Recognition of the work of our final 7 Leaders To Learn From.

9:10 a.m.–9:35 a.m
Breakouts—Meet the Leaders
Second group of Leaders will go to their subject matter tables located throughout the room to discuss with attendees their “Focus of Strength” and to answer any questions attendees have.

9:35 a.m.–10:05 a.m.
District Leader Snapshots
(A selection of 2015 Leaders will come to the stage with their reporters and discuss their “Focus of Strength.”)

10:05 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Midmorning Networking Break

10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
“Three Keys for Maximizing Leadership Impact”
Michael Fullan, education leadership author and expert, and former minister of education, Canada (2003–2013).

11:30 a.m.–12:00 a.m.
District Leader Snapshots
(A selection of 2015 Leaders will come to the stage with their reporters and discuss their “Focus of Strength”).

12:00 a.m.– 12:30 p.m.
“Ask the ED”
Join in a Department of Education Lightning Round featuring Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Deborah S. Delisle other Department of Education leadership who will take your questions.

12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.
Networking Luncheon
Uninterrupted time to mingle with those you’ve met at your tables and at the various tables set up throughout the room during our break-outs.

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