Susan Zeiter, NEACCY’s Founder
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Susan has been a parent advocate for years. She found that the more educated she became on special education issues the more empowered she felt when entering meetings with school officials. She realized that as she became more effective in her advocacy efforts the more at odds she became with the district. When school officials labeled her “the difficult parent”, it did not detour her from advocating.
Through the years, Susan was always looking to how she might be more effective on a larger scale. She states, “I have encountered many parents who have had to make tough choices when faced with advocating for their child. Mounting medical bills, time away from work, and the fear of retaliation all play into their decisions. I have never met a parent who did not want to advocate for their child’s educational needs but I have met many parents who do not know where to turn for help.”
For Susan, it is about helping other families navigate the system. It is about shortening the learning curve and helping parents effectively advocate for services that meet their child’s unique needs. Having lived in Douglas County she remembers that there were no professional advocates to turn to for assistance. When the family moved to Washoe county there was only one advocate, which meant she was not always available when services were needed.
In 2015, she enrolled in the Council of Parent, Attorneys, and Advocate’s Special Education Advocacy Training project. It is the only project of its kind in the nation to provide a certification in special education advocacy. Later this year when, Susan completes her practicum, she will be the only certified Special Education Advocate in the state of Nevada. Susan wanted to reach more than one family at a time. She reached out to those who had also spent years advocating for children to form NEACCY.
Susan has spent the last nine years in the nonprofit industry raising millions of dollars for substance abuse, art and animal welfare. She has extensive experience in corporate sponsorship, donor cultivation and grant writing. Her skills in fundraising coupled with her M.B.A. provide her with a strong foundation as President of NEACCY. Add her formal training in special education advocacy and NEACCY has a leader whose strengths have prepared her to lead the charge in creating a culture of advocacy and improve the education of children and youth with disabilities in our state.