Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Celebrating Progress, Planning for the Future

  • Organizations/Agencies

    The following organizations will host exhibit tables during the celebration:

    Athletics for All
    Communication Service for the Deaf
    Corporation for National and Community Service
    Disabled Sports USA
    Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    Freedom Guide Dogs
    Know It 2 Own It
    National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS )
    National Rehab Hospital
    President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition
    Transportation Security Administration Disability Branch
    U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
    U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Compliance and Disability Rights
    U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
    Visus Technology

  • Speakers Biographies
    photo of Arne Duncan

    Arne Duncan

    Arne Duncan is the ninth U.S. secretary of education. He has served in this post since his confirmation by the U.S. Senate on Jan. 20, 2009, following his nomination by President Barack Obama.

    Duncan's tenure as secretary has been marked by a number of significant accomplishments on behalf of American students and teachers. He helped to secure congressional support for President Obama's investments in education, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's $100 billion to fund 325,000 teaching jobs, increases in Pell grants, reform efforts such as Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation, and interventions in low-performing schools. Additionally, he has helped secure an additional $10 billion to avoid teacher layoffs; the elimination of student loan subsidies to banks; and a $500 million national competition for early learning programs. Under Duncan's leadership at the Department, the Race to the Top program has the incentives, guidance, and flexibility it needs to support reforms in states. The Department also has focused billions of dollars to transform struggling schools, prompting nearly 1,000 low-performing schools nationwide to recruit new staff, adopt new teaching methods, and add learning time. He has led new efforts to encourage labor and management to work together as never before, and their new collaboration is helping to drive reform, strengthen teaching, create better educational options, and improve learning. During Duncan's tenure, the Department has launched a comprehensive effort to transform the teaching profession.

    In support of President Obama's goal for the United States to produce the highest percentage of college graduates by the year 2020, Duncan has helped secure increases in the Pell grant program to boost the number of young Americans attending college and receiving postsecondary degrees. He has begun new efforts to ensure that colleges and universities provide more transparency around graduation, job placement, and student loan default rates. With the income-based repayment program introduced during Duncan's tenure, student loan payments are being reduced for college graduates in low-paying jobs, and loans will be forgiven after 10 years for persons in certain public service occupations, such as teachers, police officers and firefighters.

    Before becoming secretary of education, Duncan served as the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), a position he held from June 2001 through December 2008. In that time, he won praise for uniting education reformers, teachers, principals and business stakeholders behind an aggressive education reform agenda that included opening more than 100 new schools, expanding after-school and summer learning programs, closing down underperforming schools, increasing early childhood and college access, dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers, and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives. Duncan is credited with significantly raising student performance on national and state tests, increasing graduation rates and the numbers of students taking Advanced Placement courses, and boosting the total number of scholarships secured by CPS students to more than $150 million. Also during his leadership of CPS, the district was recognized for its efforts to bring top teaching talent into the city's classrooms, where the number of teachers applying for positions almost tripled.

    Prior to joining the Chicago Public Schools, from 1992 to 1998, Duncan ran the nonprofit education foundation Ariel Education Initiative, which helped fund a college education for a class of inner-city children under the I Have A Dream program. He was part of a team that later started a new public elementary school built around a financial literacy curriculum, the Ariel Community Academy, which today ranks among the top elementary schools in Chicago. From 1987 to 1991, Duncan played professional basketball in Australia, where he also worked with children who were wards of the state.

    Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, after majoring in sociology. He was co-captain of Harvard's basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American.

    Duncan is married to Karen Duncan, and they have two children.

    photo of Catherine Lhamon

    Catherine Lhamon
    Catherine E. Lhamon is the assistant secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. President Obama nominated her for this position on June 10, 2013, and she was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 1, 2013. Immediately prior to joining the Department, Lhamon was director of impact litigation at Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Before that, she practiced for a decade at the ACLU of Southern California, ultimately as assistant legal director. Earlier in her career, Lhamon was a teaching fellow and supervising attorney in the Appellate Litigation Program at Georgetown University Law Center, after clerking for The Honorable William A. Norris on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In 2004, California Lawyer named Lhamon Attorney of the Year for Civil Rights. The Daily Journal listed her as one of the Top 20 California Lawyers Under 40 in 2007, and as one of the state’s Top Women Litigators in 2010 and 2007. Lhamon received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was the Outstanding Woman Law Graduate, and she graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College. 

    photo of Michael Yudin

    Michael Yudin
    Michael K. Yudin is the assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services and in that capacity leads the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education. The president nominated Yudin for that position in July 2013, and the U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination on June 2, 2015.

    Yudin has been with the Department of Education since 2010, serving the secretary of education in a number of capacities dedicated to improving opportunities for all students. Yudin served as acting assistant secretary of OSERS from August 2012 to February 2015, leading the office in its mission to support full integration and participation in society of people with disabilities by promoting inclusion, ensuring equity, and creating opportunities for them from cradle through career.

    He also served as acting assistant secretary and principal deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) from June 2010 to July 2012. There he helped lead the formulation and development of policy designed to promote academic excellence and ensure equitable opportunities for educationally disadvantaged students in K-12 education. Yudin also served as senior advisor to the secretary of education. In this capacity, Yudin worked across the Department to improve opportunities and outcomes for individuals with disabilities, assisted the Department in implementing Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility, and helped develop and implement the recommendations to the president's My Brother's Keeper initiative.

    Prior to joining the Department, Yudin served nine years as a U.S. Senate staffer. He was the legislative director for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, senior counsel to Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, and HELP Committee counsel to Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont. In these roles, he assisted in developing, promoting, and advancing a comprehensive legislative agenda related to education, children and families, disabilities, and poverty. Working for senior members of the HELP Committee, Yudin helped draft, negotiate, and pass various pieces of legislation, including the No Child Left Behind Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, and reauthorization of the Head Start Act.

    Before joining the Senate, Yudin served as an attorney at the Social Security Administration and at the U.S. Department of Labor for nearly 10 years. In these positions, he provided legal advice on various policy initiatives, including social security, disability, employment, and welfare reform. He also served as director of employment policy for two leading national disability organizations, the ARC of the United States and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP).

    photo of Seth Galanter

    Seth Galanter
    Seth Galanter serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education. He started his career at the Department of Justice, where he worked in the Civil Rights Division. He later moved into private practice at Morrison and Foerster LLP. He joined the Department of Education in 2011. Seth received his B.A. from Columbia University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

    photo of Janet LaBreck

    Janet LaBreck
    Although Commissioner Janet LaBreck lost her vision by the age of ten, she has never let her disability get in the way of her dreams. In 2007, after more than 20 years as an advocate for the blind community, LaBreck was appointed Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind by Governor Deval Patrick. As an ambassador for more than 30,000 legally blind residents, LaBreck has organized campaigns that have effectively increased employment opportunities for the blind. There is no better testament to her profound influence than the Commission’s award-winning internship program which is being replicated throughout the country.

    Commissioner LaBreck has an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the New England College of Optometry, a Masters of Education degree from Springfield College and Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

    In August of 2013, the United States Senate confirmed Commissioner LaBreck as the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) within the United States Department of Education. In 2013, the Urban League of Springfield selected Commissioner LaBreck as their Urban League 2013 Community Builder Award Recipient, as a result of her exemplary leadership and commitment to build strong and vibrant communities. In 2013, President Barack Obama announced some key administration posts, including his intent to nominate Janet L. LaBreck as Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) within the United States Department of Education. In 2012, Commissioner LaBreck was recognized by Healing Winds, the Lanesboro, MA-based American Indian cultural and educational non-profit organization as the 2012 Rock, Rattle & Drum honoree. In 2011, Commissioner LaBreck was the recipient of the “Profiles in Vision” award, given to her by the New England College of Optometry for her pioneering efforts and extensive involvement in the launching of the New England Eye On-Sight Mobile Eye Clinic. In 2010, she was presented with the Heroes Among Us Award by the Boston Celtics and the Massachusetts State Lottery. In 2008, New England College of Optometry selected her to deliver the first commencement address in the history of the college to be delivered by a person who is blind.

    photo of Andrew (Andy) Imparato

    Andrew (Andy) Imparato
    Andrew Imparato has served as executive director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) since September, 2013. As a disability rights lawyer and policy professional with more than two decades of experience in government and advocacy roles, Imparato has worked with bipartisan policymakers to advance disability policy at the national level in the areas of civil rights, workforce development, and disability benefits. Prior to coming to AUCD, he was senior counsel and disability policy director for Senator Tom Harkin on the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Before that, he spent 11 years as President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, a national membership organization working to grow the political and economic power of the disability community. Imparato's perspective is informed by his personal experience with bipolar disorder.

    Since joining AUCD, a national network of over 100 university-based programs that conduct research, training and advocacy to improve the quality of life of children and adults with disabilities, Imparato has helped the organization broaden the scope of its advocacy and expand its leadership capacity. Imparato is currently serving on two bipartisan panels developing recommendations for reform of the Social Security Disability Insurance program and has spearheaded a national "Six by ‘15" campaign designed to leverage this year's milestone anniversaries of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to focus public attention on the areas where the disability community wants to see more progress. This campaign has been endorsed by over 140 disability organizations.

    Imparato's work has been recognized by the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Transportation, the US Junior Chamber of Commerce, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Association of the Deaf, and the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation. He has testified nine times before Committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives and has been interviewed on a wide range of disability issues by national television, radio and print media. He cultivates grassroots activism on social media and is known for seeking out and mentoring emerging leaders with disabilities. He co-authored articles that have been published in the Stanford Law and Policy Review and the Milbank Quarterly, and wrote a chapter on the Supreme Court's disability rulings in The Rehnquist Court: Judicial Activism on the Right (Hill & Wang 2003). Imparato graduated summa cum laude from Yale College and with distinction from Stanford Law School. He lives in Baltimore with his wife Betsy Nix and their 15 year-old son Nicholas.

    photo of Terri Lakowski

    Terri Lakowski
    Terri Lakowski is the CEO of Active Policy Solutions and an expert on youth sports policy in the United States. In her role at Active Policy Solutions, Terri has created and implemented strategic policy planning, lobbying, coalition building and education and outreach to renown organizations working on issues relating to sport, youth development, health and fitness, Title IX and gender equity, and civil rights.

    Prior to starting Active Policy Solutions,Terri served as the Public Policy Director for the Women's Sports Foundation, where she was responsible for the operation of the Foundation's Public Policy Department, which provides education and advocacy to combat discrimination in sport. In this capacity she oversaw the execution of all of the Foundation's advocacy and public policy projects, participated in press conferences and Congressional lobbying activities to advocate on behalf of Title IX and other gender discrimination laws, and developed state and local education and advocacy initiatives to improve athletic opportunities for girls and individuals with disabilities in both school and community recreational athletic programs. Terri orchestrated passage of the Fitness and Athletic Equity Act for Students with Disabilities in Maryland, groundbreaking legislation that for the first time clarified the obligation of schools to provide sports and physical activity opportunities for students with disabilities. Terri also serves as the policy chair for the Inclusive Fitness Coalition, which spearheaded an effort to vastly expand the opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in sports and physical education programs in all levels of education, culminating in a directive from the Department of Education in January of 2013. Terri has been featured for her leadership on this guidance in national outlets, including the New York Times and NPR’s On Point.

    Before working at the Foundation, Terri developed and spearheaded a Title IX education and advocacy program at the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri (ACLU-EM). As part of this effort, she worked with administrators from school districts in Missouri to improve their compliance with Title IX and performed educational workshops for more than 1,000 individuals, including administrators, students, parents, teachers and coaches.

    Terri earned her Juris Doctorate from American University-Washington College of Law, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Terri received her bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis where, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Social Thought and Analysis with a concentration in Women's Studies. While at Washington University, Terri wrote an honors thesis "Title IX & High School Athletics: An Introspective Look Into Compliance Practices” and participated on the women's varsity basketball team for three years. Terri has taught as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Continuing Studies: Sport Management Program at Georgetown University, Diversity & Social Responsibility in Sport and in the Department of Exercise Science at George Washington where she taught Sports Law.

    Terri is on the Board of the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, which works in partnership with educational agencies in the U.S. to establish programs, policies and regulations in interscholastic adapted sports for students with physical disabilities to enhance educational outcomes and Baseball for All, an organization dedicated to helping girls and women play baseball. Terri also coaches a six grade girls’ basketball team for KOA Sports, a sports based youth development program and volunteers as a coach for Girls on the Run, a nonprofit serving girls through sports and physical activity.

    photo of Emily Ladau

    Emily Ladau
    Emily Ladau is a writer and passionate disability rights advocate whose career began at the age of 10, when she appeared on several episodes of Sesame Street to educate children about her life with a physical disability. In the years since spending time with Big Bird and Elmo, Emily has continued to develop her career through working for and volunteering with multiple organizations to foster opportunities and develop resources for the disability community.

    Emily is the proud owner of Social Justice Media Services, through which she harnesses the powers of communication and social media as tools for people of all abilities to become informed and engaged about disability and other social justice issues. Emily also maintains a blog, Words I Wheel By as a platform to address discrimination and to encourage people to understand the experience of having a disability in more positive, accepting, and supportive ways. Additionally, her writing is featured on websites including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and Disability.gov.

    photo of Nia Lazarus

    Nia Lazarus
    Nia Lazarus was born in Oakland, California in January 1994 into a hearing family. She contracted spinal meningitis at 11 months old and lost her hearing due to the high fever associated with this illness. At 13 months old she was diagnosed as being severely deaf in her left ear and profoundly deaf in her right.

    Her mother did not allow her deafness to stop her from becoming a vibrant, independent, goal-oriented contributor to society. At the age of 15 months old she enrolled her in the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness (CEID) in Berkeley, California, where she used Signing Exact English (SEE) and participated in speech and auditory training. Her parents and siblings also attended classes at CEID so they, too, could learn to effectively communicate with her.

    She fulfilled her elementary education in the Berkeley Public school system from kindergarten through fifth grade. She then attended California School for the Deaf in Fremont for middle school. While attending CSD, her American Sign Language (ASL) skills vastly improved. She completed her secondary education at Berkeley High School’s International Baccalaureate Program with the accommodation of ASL interpreters. While attending Berkeley High School’s rigorous International Baccalaureate Program she studied hard and fulfilled her goal of being accepted to Georgetown University, where she is now a junior studying Linguistics and Italian.

    Although Georgetown University is located in a city where there is a large Deaf community, the majority of students and faculty had little or no knowledge about deafness or Deaf culture. As one of the two signing Deaf students at Georgetown University, she recognized the need for deaf awareness on the campus and set out to do something about it. During her freshman year she took the initiative to establish GU Signs, a Deaf culture and ASL Club with the purpose of advocating and promoting awareness of deafness and Deaf culture. Through this organization she has been able to introduce some of her campus peers to ASL and Deaf culture by way of Deaf poetry slams, movies, and events at Gallaudet University. This exposure has given her peers the opportunity to experience the world in a new light.

    She sought other ways to contribute her efforts to the Deaf community and landed a brief internship during 2014 summer at the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) where she better understood the role that she could take as an advocate and leader for deaf people and other people in the disability community. She was immensely inspired by the several attorneys there to pursue law after learning that she could do it, even with her currently linguistically geared education. She now knows that she will become a lawyer specializing in Deaf Education advocacy to ensure that Deaf children’s rights to education are protected and valued, by working with schools, families, NAD, the No Child Left Behind legislation and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. She believes that all Deaf children should be able to successfully navigate through the school system and have the opportunity to make their own educational choices like she did.

    Through the work that she has accomplished and the experiences that she have acquired at Georgetown and NAD, she is committed to advocating for disability rights and will continue to strive to educate people about disability, deafness and Deaf culture.

    photo of Jaggar DeMarco

    Jaggar DeMarco
    Jaggar DeMarco is originally from Princeton, New Jersey. He is currently a rising senior at The George Washington University. There he is majoring in political communication and minoring in applied ethics and journalism and mass communication. During his time at GW, he has become interested in disability rights advocacy work. He writes for my school's independent newspaper, The Hatchet, Opinions Section as a columnist. There, he has had the opportunity to write on issues that many students with disabilities encounter in higher education. He has written about the pressures of interning as a student with a disability and some of the physical barriers present in higher education that prevent full inclusion. In addition, he is a member of the Speaker's Bureau which has given me the opportunity to have many speaking engagements with administration, faculty and classes around campus. Finally, he recently completed an internship at the National Council on Independent Living. There he has gained experience working on social media campaigns to encourage youth perception in the disability rights movement. All of this experience has shown me that I want to pursue a career in the intersection of media and advocacy work.

    photo of Natalia Rivera Morales

    Natalia Rivera Morales
    Natalia M. Rivera Morales is the Leadership Programs Coordinator for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). At ASAN, Natalia coordinates grassroots organizing and advocacy training programs for Autistic college students and self-advocates with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Natalia also serves as Board Secretary for the Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective (WMDSC), a cross-disability organization seeking to unite multiply-marginalized disabled students in organizing for disability access and inclusion on college campuses in DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies and Spanish from Loyola University Maryland and a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University. She is was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and presently resides in Maryland.

    photo of Casey Followay

    Casey Followay
    Casey Followay is a 2015 graduate of Wooster High School in Ohio. He was born with the disability spina bifida and requires the use of a wheelchair. Living daily with a disability has not deterred his athletic endeavors and adaptive sports have given him a competitive outlet. Casey enjoys playing sled hockey with the Ohio based Wildcats Sled Hockey team, however, wheelchair track is the sport in which he has quickly excelled. He began wheelchair racing in 2005, and won his first National Junior Disability Championship in 2006. In 2009, he overcame many barriers to become the first student in Ohio to join his school track team using a racing wheelchair. Through his advocacy efforts, the Ohio High School Athletic Association included wheelchair events at the state track meet beginning in 2013. Additionally, student wheelchair racers in Ohio can now earn points for their school track teams and race alongside their non-disabled peers.

    Casey is a disability awareness advocate, speaking to schools, colleges and universities educating them about living with a disability and disability etiquette. He is the inspiration behind the creation of the Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio in 2009 which provides adaptive sports to individuals with physical disabilities across Ohio. As an Ohio Athlete Ambassador, Casey mentors other individuals with disabilities encouraging them to pursue a lifetime of physical activity. Success in sports has given Casey the confidence to excel in life. He was awarded the 2015 Wayne County Schools Career Center Perseverance Award. He plans to attend college and study graphic design, coaching and sports management.

    His athletic achievements include:

    • National Junior Disability Championships Record Holder
    • 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 National Junior Disability Champion /li>
    • 2012 USATF Junior Olympics All-American 800 meter
    • 2012, 2014 USA Sled Hockey Development Camp Invitee
    • 2013 US Paralympics Track and Field High School All-American 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500 meter
    • 2013 Ohio High School Athletic Association Track and Field State Champion 400, 800 meter
    • 2014 US Paralympics Track and Field High School All-American 100, 400, 800 meter
    • 2014 Ohio High School Athletic Association Track and Field State Champion 100, 800 meter
    • 2016 Paralympic Hopeful

Last Modified: 07/17/2015