John Copenhaver, director of the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University, received the Joleta Reynolds Service to Special Education Award by LRP Publications.
The award is presented annually by LRP Publications, a major national publishing firm that covers the field of special education. The award goes to people who demonstrate dedication, excellence and integrity in carrying out the responsibilities of serving special needs children and their families.
Copenhaver has experience in special education at the school district, state, regional and national levels. Before joining the MPRRC staff, he served as a special education resource teacher, school psychologist and special education director. His work at the MPRRC has involved providing technical assistance at the school, state, regional and national levels. The center serves Arizona, the Bureau of Indian Education, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
Copenhaver has produced numerous training materials, has assisted states with Office of Special Education Programs self-assessment and improvement plans, made numerous conference presentations and published articles on special education issues. He has provided technical assistance in the areas of legal issues, special populations, developing effective Individualized Education Programs, due process and mediation, Section 504, procedural safeguards, systems change, strategic planning, CSPD, state implementation planning, state improvement grants, assistive technology, extended school year, No Child Left Behind Act and numerous other topics.
He has been with the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center since 1989. He holds degrees from the University of Montana and University of Utah in philosophy, psychology, and special education administration.
The award is named in honor of JoLeta Reynolds, senior policy advisor under the assistant secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education. Reynolds played a key role in the 1997 and 2004 IDEA reauthorizations and helped develop the law’s implementing regulations. Her many accomplishments, ability to persevere through challenge and unyielding standard of excellence inspire all who serve students with disabilities.