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Help I’m a New Director! Where Do I Start?

First and foremost, welcome to Region D! We’re glad you’re here, and we’re here to help. Becoming a new executive director can feel overwhelming as there are so many skill sets needed to successfully run a Parent Center including (but not limited to!):

  • Fiscal management of 1 or more grants
  • Human resources
  • Best practice in Special Education
  • Communication and collaboration skills (with families, staff, local education agencies, state agencies, other nonprofits, etc.)
  • Presenting skills
  • Completion of OSEP required reports including continuation reports, (commonly referred to as “the shell,” final reports, and others as requested by project officers
  • Compliance with OSEP directives when changing key personnel or budget line items
  • Board development and governance
  • Parent Center sustainability
  • Parent Center messaging and marketing
  • Data collection and reporting
  • Use of technology and other methods (mail/in-person trainings) to reach families
  • Management of technology to meet your mission
  • Cultural competency

That’s a long list and we’re pretty sure we missed a few! So where do you start? Here’s a few ideas:

1. Set up a time to talk with your technical assistance specialist from Region D. They can help you identify your priorities and TA needs. If you are not sure who your technical assistance specialist is email Barbara Buswell at: or Nora Thompson at:

2. Create a long range TA plan. This plan has 2 purposes: 1) It helps you have a working document with measurable goals, benchmarks, responsible staff, and deadlines. 2) It helps you identify your TA needs and this in turn helps us with planning our services to multiple centers.

3. Do a search! One of the best things about this site is you can search for any topic you want to know more about, and the search will access all of Region D’s resources including our bi-monthly newsletter, previous Regional meeting handouts and videos of multiple presenters, the Center for Information and Parent Resources (fondly referred to as the CIPR)

4. Learn some acronyms. The Parent Center Network is full of them! Here’s a few to help:

PTI- Parent Training and Information Center (Serves a whole state)
CPRC- Community Parent Resource Center (Targets a small, underserved population)
OSEP- Office of Special Education Programs
US Department of ED- United States Department of Education
IDEA- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (law that governs our work and provides funding for Parent Centers)
IEP - Individualized Education Program (what most parents will be calling you about)
LEA- Local Education Agency
SEA- State Education Agency
Part C- Early Childhood Services (birth-3)
Part B- School-age service (3-26)
TA- Technical Assistance (Fancy term for HELP!)

5. Get to know your Project Officer! Email Perry Williams at: Perry likes to receive newsletters, updates, success stories, photos, questions, and of course on time reports!

6. Join the Center for Parent Information Resources NEW and Not So New Directors Workspace  - - to access current resources. A few examples:

How to ask for technical assistance:

Each center has been assigned a lead TA Specialist. To request support, please contact your lead TA specialist:

Barb Buswell:

Nora Thompson:

Tony Darren:

Emily Rome:

Or phone PEAK Parent center 719-531-9400.