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Area of Work

Special Education

WestEd provides technical assistance and consulting, and conducts research and evaluation studies, to help state education and human services agencies and local education agencies build capacity to improve developmental and academic outcomes for young people with disabilities.

Our signature initiative, the National Center for Systemic Improvement, supports districts and states in transforming their systems to improve developmental and academic outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.  

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Featured WestEd Experts

Making a positive difference in the field

  • Photo of Silvia DeRuvo

    Silvia DeRuvo

    Senior Program Associate

    Silvia L. DeRuvo is a technical assistance provider working with states and districts to obtain improved education outcomes for students with disabilities. DeRuvo serves as a Senior Program Associate at WestEd. She works with clients at the state and local levels to evaluate special education and schoolwide multi-tiered support programs for their effectiveness in preparing students with disabilities for college/career readiness.

  • Rorie Fitzpatrick

    Senior Managing Director

    Fitzpatrick serves as Director of the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI), which plays a major role in helping states achieve a national vision of Results-Driven Accountability (RDA) for special education and early intervention programs.

    Rorie Fitzpatrick has worked in education for more than 20 years, with significant expertise and experience at the statewide level in improving results for students with disabilities. Prior to joining WestEd, Fitzpatrick served as Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Nevada.

  • Michele Rovins

    Michele Rovins

    Director, Special Education Policy and Practice

    Michele Rovins serves as the Associate Director of the National Center for Systemic Improvement, a nationwide technical assistance center that helps states transform their systems to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.
    Rovins has over 25 years of experience in the field of education, mostly focused on the education of children and youth with disabilities. Specializing in systems change, technology systems development, implementation, and evaluation, she has successfully managed several projects for the U.S. Department of Education and served as the Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.