Last updated on 6/21/2017 6:17:25 PM

President’s Message:

Pioneers Leading the Way

Joan McDonald, CEC Pioneers President 2017


“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek.”  ~Barack Obama

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”   ~Mother Teresa

As I was considering a theme for this message I came across the two quotes above.  Not being able to choose which one to select, I selected both.   If you haven’t guessed, “change” is my theme for this article.  I believe that CEC is an agent of change.  But who is CEC, it is a compilation of all of its members.  We are CEC and we are the agents of change.  Looking forward to the challenges ahead of us, let us not look to just the CEC Board of Directors and the Representative Assembly to come up with solutions, we need to look inside of each of us and be willing to share our thoughts and ideas for continued growth and success.  When asked for input, take a few minutes of your busy schedules and provide it.  It can make a difference (“…cast a stone across the waters…”).  (Mother Teresa)

Some of the challenges we face are the restructuring (or dismantling) of public education, as we know it. I believe that as leaders we are not opposed to change, however, how we implement change is important. We should be proactive and give feedback to CEC regarding policy to suggest and support recommendations that will go forward to this Administration and Congress regarding services to students with exceptionalities. We cannot let Congress forget that there are many students across this country that have challenges related to poverty; cultural, racial, ethnic and language differences. When we receive an action alert through CEC, take a few minutes and respond through the Legislative Action Center (LAC) or any other method you feel is appropriate (email, social media, etc.) to let your legislators know how you feel and give proactive feedback. 

Not only are we looking at change at a national level, we are looking at change within our own organization. As the Governance Assessment Workgroup is looking at changing the governance structure of CEC we look forward to a thoughtful process. It has been 20 years since the restructuring of leadership within CEC and to stay current, dynamic and productive in this fast paced time in our society, it is time to reconsider who we are, how we service our members and develop a sleek, streamlined organizational structure. As individual members of CEC we need to be active, supportive and contributing members of the organization to maintain a healthy and productive environment so CEC can continue in its work and membership growth.

Within CEC our own Pioneer’s Division is also changing. We have changed our By Laws to be more inclusive. CEC members can now join our division through leadership in CEC at the local, state/provincial, and national levels and/or 15 years of membership in CEC. The results of the Pioneer Division Membership Survey many of you completed is also going to be the foundation of how we can serve our division members in a meaningful way. This occurs when our members are involved and active and willing to participate through providing time, services, information and personal leadership experiences. The State of the Profession project that CEC and the PD is now very actively involved in can change the structure of CEC. This project can provide us with the information we need to make meaningful change. Should you receive a survey later in the year, please be the one to “...cast a stone across the water...?” (Mother Teresa) and participate.

I wish you all a happy and restful summer and hope that you take some time for yourself to regenerate and reenergize yourself to accept my challenge to you to be a change agent yourself by participating,

providing feedback, taking on a leadership role and remembering that “We are the change that we seek.” (Obama)

Joan McDonald
President, Pioneer Division 2017 

Pioneers Division Goals for 2017

As part of the focus for the Pioneers Division of CEC, the Board approved the following goals:

  1. To meet membership needs though outreach, support, and services.
    1. Continue to communicate with members, lapsed members and State Pioneer Chapters
    2. Continue to develop and revise membership recruitment plan with membership chair
    3. Based on membership survey results, develop trainings such as: webinars, conference sessions, ask an expert forum, and other support services to meet members’ needs and assist in recruitment efforts
    4. Continue to communicate through the Newsletter, website, conference sessions, IDC participation, RA participation
  2. To nurture the next generation of leaders for the field and within CEC through collaboration.
    1. CEC/PD Mentoring Program participation and leadership
    2. Showcase addressing “Interagency Collaboration Triad for Success”
    3. Work with Nominations Committee on nominating future leaders
    4. Continue work on the “State of the Profession” project
    5. Outreach to Student CEC for ideas and collaboration
  3. To honor past service and preserve the history of CEC.
    1. Courtesy resolutions to recognize service
    2. Continue “Legacy Series” articles
    3. Archives work for CEC
    4. Mackie Award
    5. June Jordan Fund for Preserve CEC History



Romaine P. Mackie Leadership Award

D. Parthenia Cogdell  

The 2017 Romaine P. Mackie Award ceremony included some unusual highlights. The winner was unable to attend CEC, missing the national convention for the first time in over 30 years. In order to keep the name confidential until the ceremony, the committee arranged a Facetime telephone call with the recipient using a request for participation in the Pioneers business meeting. To her great surprise, during that Facetime call Parthenia Cogdell was awarded the 2017 Romaine P. Mackie Leadership Award. The Mackie Award, initiated in 1993, honors a person who has demonstrated leadership over time in programs for exceptional children and youth.

Parthenia, the first and only African American president of CEC is recognized for the great expansions in membership and professional development accomplished under her leadership. She is a mentor to local and national emerging leaders while continuing to work in her state federation of New Jersey. Optimistic, positive, sensitive, caring and always honest are appellations applied to Parthenia.


Par is renown throughout CEC for her knowledge, persistence and skill when involved in issues of fairness, equity and justice. Her focus is grounded in raising awareness and improving understanding and acceptance of differences including cultural, linguistic and racial diversity.

The Pioneers Division congratulates!! 

D. Parthenia Cogdell




Any person who has been a member of CEC for a period of at least fifteen (15) years, or has served as an officer of a CEC Division or state/provincial unit, or is a Past President of CEC shall qualify for membership.   All members of the Pioneers Division must hold concurrent membership in CEC.

Upcoming Events

Professional Development

As part of our charge for this year the Pioneers Division is also planning on multiple presentations at the CEC 2017 Conference in Boston, MA, April 19-22.  Please look forward to the following presentations:

  1. PD Showcase - “Parent and Student Engagement through Interagency Collaboration – Triad for Success”
  2.  Presentation – “A Brief History of Public Alternative Education:  Looking Back to Look Ahead”
  3. Poster – “The Janus Project:  Looking Back to Move the Field Forward”
  4. Poster (cosponsored with DISES)  ”Belonging to School:  Examining views from students with special education needs in the Republic of Ireland”

The Pioneers Division Executive Board Meeting will be held at the CEC 2017 Conference in Boston on Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The Annual Business Meeting, Awards Presentation and Social will be held following the Board Meeting from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. location TBA.  CEC is planning on having an electronic Conference Agenda and Travel Toolkit which can be accessed at:  http://cecconvention.org/ 

Another important date to look forward to is the Leadership Institute (July 7-9, 2017) and the Special Education Legislative Summit (July 9-12, 2017).  We will be hearing more about this as the year progresses.


The CEC Nation Conference in Boston, MA, April 19-22, 2017.

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