Nancy O’Hara is Senior Program Associate on the Special Education Policy and Practice team at WestEd. Her responsibilities include national technical assistance activities related to special education.
O’Hara provides leadership and technical assistance through three national centers serving states and districts with a focus on special education policy, systems implementation, and using and reporting high-quality data. She is responsible for the coordination of technical assistance in two national centers as well as providing technical assistance directly to states. O’Hara has expertise in education systems, equity in education, stakeholder engagement, and in all aspects of special education, including fiscal issues, data collection and reporting, general supervision, policy, and high-quality instruction.
Previously, O’Hara was with the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), where she served as the Associate Commissioner for Innovative Instruction, the State Director for Special Education, and in other roles in special education. During her time with the GDOE, she focused on stakeholder engagement, including empowering families as partners, equity and disproportionality, and improving systems of general supervision.
O’Hara has authored peer-reviewed articles and coauthored multiple tools and resources for states to use in improving the implementation of special education and addressing equity issues.
O’Hara has an Ed.S. in special education leadership and an M.Ed. in teaching students with moderate and severe disabilities from Georgia State University. She has a B.S. in general education and special education from Ball State University.