Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

3:00 pm - 5:15 pm - Virtual Presentation          Via Zoom Webinar 

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Zoom Webinar (Link will be sent separately)



Member $10

Non-Member $15

Registration closes on May 17th. Walk-in/late registrations please email for availability.  


Refund policy

  • No cash refunds will be offered for pre-registration if a workshop is held
  • If a pre-registrant provides a written request at least four (4) business days prior to the scheduled workshop; the registration fee can be applied to an upcoming workshop in the same programming year 
  • Read full policy click here


Ned deBary 
Special Needs Advocacy Network, Inc. 
(508) 655-7999 

Same Side of the Table

At this year’s remote forum, BSEA Director, Reece Erlichman will moderate a panel of Hearing Officers, Advocates and Special Education Administrators to present and analyze the impact and implications of COVID-19 related issues. Panelists will discuss what’s been happening at the BSEA, highlight successful Team approaches to maintaining FAPE in remote (and any) learning environments, and offer guidance for collaboration and problem-solving as a "new normal" emerges. 

SPaN's Annual Same Side of the Table forum is open to all professionals involved in the Special Education process – Advocates, Attorneys, Administrators, Educators, Clinicians and Parents. We’ve discovered that having representatives from all corners in one room can be a catalyst for improving communication and staying student focused.  

This Presention is a Live Webinar ONLY 

3:00 pm to 5:15 pm

 Registration closes May 17th 

Note to SPaN members:  If the registration fee is a financial hardship, please send an email directly to Lisa Lapinski, VP Programming:  llapinski@spanmass.org  Consideration will be made on a case by case basis.   


Attention current Members: please follow this link to sign up for this workshop.

Member-Event Registration 

(current member has paid an annual fee of $75 or more in the past 12 months)

Moderator and Panelists 

Reece Erlichman (Moderator) is the Director of the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA), within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Administrative Law Appeals. After a brief period in private practice, Ms. Erlichman began her long tenure with the BSEA, serving in a variety of capacities, including Mediator, Hearing Officer (a position she held for over twenty years), and Assistant Director. She interrupted her service at the BSEA for a period of two years (2000-2002) to serve as Senior Program Director for Special Education Litigation for the Boston Public Schools. Ms. Erlichman lectures frequently on topics in special education law and BSEA practice/procedure for both legal and lay audiences. Ms. Erlichman received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1974.

Sara Berman, Esq is a Hearing Officer with the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals. She has held this position since 2001. Prior experience includes: Staff Attorney, Greater Boston Legal Services; Summer Counsel, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau; Staff Attorney, Disability Law Center, Inc.; Attorney in Private Practice; Hearing Officer, MA Labor Relations Commission. Ms Berman received her J.D. from Boson University School of Law in 1976 and her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1972.

Amy Reichbach, JD, M.S.Ed has been a Hearing Officer with the BSEA since July 2014. She graduated from Brown University and earned a Master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania before attending BC Law as a Public Service Scholar. Previously, Amy worked at the ACLU on the School to Prison Pipeline and Disproportionate Minority Juvenile Confinement; represented children and parents in child welfare cases with the Child and Family Law Division of the Massachusetts public defender’s office; and taught Civil Procedure and Education Law at UMass Law School. Amy also clerked for Chief Justice Marshall at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and for the late Judge Reginald Lindsay at the federal District Court in Massachusetts. She has published law review articles about education law in the Boston College Law Review, the Boston College Third World Law Journal, and the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review.  Before attending law school, Amy taught middle and high school English at urban public schools in Philadelphia.

Myrto Flessas, JD, jonied the BSEA In 2010, and since then has mediated hundreds of cases in more than 60 school districts. After graduating from Temple University School of Law in 2000, Ms. Flessas was a principal attorney in the firm of Flessas & Finocche, LLP. Most of her work was focused on representing parents in special education disputes. Ms. Flessas also provided pro-bono representation for students in special education through the Boston Bar Association and with the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association in the field of domestic violence divorce.  Prior to her work at the BSEA, Ms. Flessas had the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors for the Federation for Children with Special Needs. Along with mediating cases at the BSEA, Ms. Flessas runs informational trainings for parents and school districts to help the parties better understand mediation and use the process to promote meaningful and positive results.

Dr. Ann Caretti Ph.D, CAGS, M.Ed has administered educational evaluations and served as special education chair for than a decade.  Special Education Administrator for more than twenty years As the Director of Student Services, current position, participated in only three hearings at Nauset Public Schools. Executive Board Member of the Administrators for Special Education for more than ten years. Soon to retire in June 2020. 

Jessica Murphy,  M.Ed., CAGS has worked in the field of special education for over twenty years. After starting her career in special education as a 1:1 assistant in the Brookline Public Schools in 1992, she began teaching in 1993 at the Lighthouse School Inc. (a 766 approved special education day program for students 3-22 with disabilities) in Chelmsford MA, then was a special education teacher in the Waltham Public Schools for the 4-6 grade levels.  Ms. Murphy left the classroom for work in administration in 2001, becoming Team Chairperson for Concord Public Schools, where she became the Director of Special Education for Pre-K to 12, in 2004.  After 15 years in Concord, Ms. Murphy has recently become Director of Student Services for the Sharon Public Schools   

Christine M. Riley, Consultant and Advocate is trained in and passionate about helping families achieve the most appropriate education for their children with learning challenges.She established Cape Cod Advocate in 2005 to provide educational consultation and advocacy for children of all ages and disabilities. Since then, she's advocated for hundreds of families in every school district on Cape Cod and the Islands.Christine has trained other advocates since 2006 and is prominent in the field in Massachusetts, serving in leadership roles for several  professional organizations.

Seetha Burtner, Ph.D is originally from Mumbai, India. She has lived in Massachusetts since 2005 and has been a special education advocate since 2013. She serves students from preschool to high school, with challenges including ASD, complex trauma, emotional disabilities, ADHD, executive function issues, specific learning disabilities, Down’s syndrome,communication impairments, medical issues, and behavioral issues. She also serves as aspecial education surrogate parent for children in state custody and serves on the board of SPaN. Before entering advocacy, Seetha was a freelance journalist in the Boston area, publishing stories in the Boston Globe, the Improper Bostonian, the Boston Phoenix, andother publications. Prior to that, Seetha was an assistant professor of philosophy at Westchester University in Pennsylvania, where she taught analytical philosophy, logic and applied ethics. Seetha lives in Belmont with her husband and two school-aged boys.

Jennie DunKley, Consultant and Advocate is a 20 year veteran special education consultant and advocate. She is a senior trainer for the Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN) workshops in Basic Rights; IEP Development; Learning Styles; and Transition. She also presents her own workshops, including the Four Fs of Function; Positive Parenting; Writing Functional and Measurable IEP Goals; Multiple Learning Styles; and ASD Transition IEPs, to private groups, educators, advocates, evaluators and SPED-PACs. She received advocacy training though William & Mary Law School, ISEA Clinic; Suffolk University Law School, Center for Advanced Legal Studies; FCSN; Wrightslaw and the OSEP/COPAA SEAT (Special Education Advocacy Training) program, which included a practicum at the Massachusetts Disability Law Center. Jennie initiated and developed SPaN programs such as the School Fair, the Same Side of the Table and the SPaN Grant project. In addition to her work on the Board of SPaN, she serves as an Advisory Committee member for SpedEx and on AANE’s Conference Committee. Jennie is a past Chair of the Massachusetts Special Education Advisory Council (SAC) where she also served as a parent representative.