Skip To ContentSkip To Content

    Special Education Parent Partner Program

    The Special Education Parent Partners Program began in September 2016 as a new approach by Seattle Public Schools to assist parents and guardians of students with an IEP (Individual Education Plan), to navigate SPS, the IEP process, and to access community resources. This program connects trained and experienced Parent Partners with parents and guardians who want support in their child's IEP and special education process.


    It is the goal of this program to foster an atmosphere of family/professional collaboration in special education in Seattle Public Schools, through opening new channels of communication between families, the community and the District.

    Special Education Parent Partners are hourly employees of Seattle Public Schools. They receive 14 hours of training and provide up to 66 hours of service for the 2016-17 school year. We have hired a pool of 18 Special Education Parent Partners who represent SPS families and students across the grade levels, geographic regions, cultural backgrounds, and a wide range of abilities and disabilities.


    A Seattle Public Schools Special Education Parent Partner DOES:

    • Work with parents/guardians at no cost to them.

    • Provide an impartial listening ear. 

    • Ask questions to help the parent/ guardian identify and clarify concerns.

    • Problem solve and work with the parent/guardian to evaluate possible options for resolving issues that they have identified.

    • May accompany the parent/guardian to an IEP meeting or another meeting related to their child’s special education services. 

    • Support and empower the parent/ guardian as the advocate for their child.

    • Maintain confidentiality of the family being served.


    A Seattle Public Schools Special Education Parent Partner DOES NOT:

    • Provide legal advice.

    • Advocate or speak for the parent. 


    The Special Education Parent Partners represent our diverse students and families:

    • All five regions of Seattle: 

      • Northwest

      • Northeast

      • Central      

      • Southwest

      • Southeast

    • Linguistic and cultural diversity:

      • English

      • Spanish

      • Somali

      • Cantonese, Mandarin, Toishanese

      • African American  

      • Native American

    • Students with a range of abilities and special needs in:

      • Prekindergarten   

      • Elementary

      • Middle School    

      • High School

      • Transition Services


    To request the services of a Parent Partner or to get more information about the program, email:

    Photo of Parent Partners

    2016-17 Special Education Parent Partners. Left to right: Hannah Marzynski (SPS Parent Liaison), Sonia Segovia (Parent Partner), Deborah Alonso (Special Ed Para professional/Interpreter), Ayan Elmi (Parent Partner), Faduma Hirsi (Parent Partner), Kelly Hill (Parent Partner), Michael Chan (Bilingual Enrollment Specialist), Sue Adelman (Parent Partner), Brit Exworthy (Parent Partner), MeiQing Ye (Parent Partner), Jen Guzman (Parent Partner), Katie Weisend (Parent Partner), Patricia Campbell (Interim Supervisor, Special Education), Margo Siegenthaler (Special Education Ombudsperson). Missing from photo: Jenn DiBona (Parent Partner), Michael Cox (Parent Partner), Jennifer Scheuerell (Parent Partner), Hodan Mohamed (Open Doors for Multicultural Families).