Special Education Leadership Institute Alumni Reunion Seminar

Please join us for a two-day seminar, sponsored by ACCEPT Education Collaborative through a grant from Massachusetts DESE. This year’s Annual Special Education Leaders Institute Reunion Seminar will provide full day workshops on important topics for Special Education Leadership across the Commonwealth. Day 1 will be led by Dr. Jenna Mancini Rufo, of Empower ED School Solutions, and focus upon supporting school leaders in communicating rationale for inclusive education, articulating effective structures that support inclusive education, and applying their understanding of service delivery models to effective inclusive scheduling and resource allocation. Day 2 will be led by Farah Assiraj.



Leading Inclusive Education with Dr. Jenna Mancini Rufo

Thursday, March 7, 2024 | 8:30 am – 3:30 pm

The Leading Inclusive Education workshop supports school leaders in…

  • Communicating the rationale for inclusive education both as a best practice and as a moral and ethical obligation;
  • Articulating effective structures that support inclusive education and various models of special education service delivery beyond simply co-teaching and paraprofessional support;
  • Applying their understanding of service delivery models to effective inclusive scheduling and resource allocation; and
  • Implementing strategies for leading the change process, building consensus, and equipping staff with tools to be successful.



Equitable Structures and Affirming Practices for Special Education Leaders with Farah Assiraj

Friday, March 8, 2024 | 8:30am – 3:30pm


Farah Assiraj will facilitate professional learning to Special Education Directors to support their leadership with affirming practices, equitable structures and provide opportunities for collaboration and systemic coherence in order to improve the educational outcomes and schooling experiences for special education students. The session will delve into theory and practice utilizing frameworks, data inquiry and collaborative protocols to support all students receiving special education services while attending to system inequities.


Participants will leave this full-day seminar with tools and strategies that explicitly attend to culture, access, inclusion, race, equity and diversity to apply in their leadership roles, with their teams and in their districts. The day will be structured with both presentation, discussion, and workshop model to practice and engage with other colleagues.


We are encouraging our special education directors to attend this seminar with other administrator leaders of DEI from your district.


This event will be held in person in Natick at the Marriott Residence Inn. The Reunion is always a popular event, so do not wait to register if you are interested.



Dates & Times:  March 7 and March 8, 2022; 8:30am to 3:30pm. Participants can choose to attend one day or both


Facilitators:  Dr. Jenna Mancini Rufo and Farah Assiraj


Location: Residence Inn Marriott, 1 Superior Drive Natick


Cost: $100 per day


Earn: 6-PDP’s per day


Audience: SPED Directors currently or previously enrolled in SPED Leadership Institute as well as all Special Education Directors and General Education Leaders (Asst Superintendents, Principals, Directors). SPED Directors are encouraged to come as a team of District Administrators (Asst Supts, Curriculum Directors, DEI Directors, Principals, SEL Directors)


Deadline to Register: February 26 Spaces are limited.

Speaker Bios

Dr. Jenna Mancini Rufo is an educational consultant and the founder and CEO of Empower ED School Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in special education and inclusion. Dr. Rufo currently provides professional development on inclusive practices and related topics to school districts, organizations, and families in 15 states and Australia. She also serves as a consultant to the United States Department of Justice on special education-related matters.



Dr. Rufo is the co-author of Reimagining Special Education: Using Inclusion As a Framework To Build Equity and Support All Students, and The Way to Inclusion: Creating Schools Where Every Student Belongs. Prior to her consulting work, Dr. Rufo served as a special education teacher, inclusion facilitator, policy specialist for the Massachusetts Department of Education, Special Education Director, and Assistant Superintendent. She was inspired to enter the field of education by her sister Nina, who has multiple disabilities and complex support needs. Dr. Rufo views education as her calling and is passionate about creating an equitable school system for ALL learners.

Farah Assiraj is a national leader in race, equity and immigrant education. She has supported districts and national organizations in strategic planning; curriculum and instruction; Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS); equitable literacy; multilingual and multicultural education; special education; restorative justice; behavioral and social-emotional supports; student services and student success teams; data inquiry cycles; and targeted professional learning on a variety of educational and community topics. Farah’s personal schooling experience and professional trajectory have culminated in a deep understanding of systemic inequities and necessary conditions required for all students to thrive, especially those with other languages as assets, who have varying abilities that must be attended to and/or have been historically marginalized. Farah is the founder of Peregrinum nonprofit community organization, cairEDucation consulting company, Schooling Justice Initiative and co-founder of many


other coalitions focused on education, equity and belonging.  Farah also serves as the National Chief of Teaching and Learning for the Council of Great City Schools and was the former Deputy Chief Academic Officer and Assistant Superintendent for the Multilingual and Multicultural Office in the Boston Public Schools.