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Rorie Fitzpatrick

Rorie Fitzpatrick serves as Senior Program Director at WestEd, leading the Special Education Policy and Practice Team, and the Resource Planning Team. She also serves as Director of the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) — one of the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education’s largest technical assistance investments. NCSI plays a leading role in supporting state education agencies, actively serving all 60 states and territories to transform systems to improve results for children and youth with disabilities.

Fitzpatrick has a deep background in organizational leadership, policy development for underserved learners, and systemic analyses and improvement. She has been a thought partner to leaders at the national, state, and local levels, including federal policymakers, state legislators, gubernatorial staff and state cabinet members, as well as state and district superintendents and executive teams. Across her 25-year career, she has consistently worked in positions with a focus on resolving equity gaps and creating positive outcomes for historically marginalized student and adult populations.

Fitzpatrick brings rich expertise to the clients she serves, having led work in the areas of system design and improvement for special education and school improvement under IDEA and ESSA, statewide accountability and support systems for educators, schools, and districts, and the creation and implementation of technical assistance and professional development infrastructures. Most of her current portfolio concentrates on designing and providing technical assistance that strengthens state education agency capacity to create and implement aligned and cohesive systems that strategically utilize resources and harness evidence-based practices to improve the quality of teaching and learning for underserved populations.

Prior to joining WestEd in 2013, Fitzpatrick served as the Governor-appointed Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Nevada, having worked with the Nevada Department of Education for a total of 15 years collectively. Other roles during that tenure included serving as the Deputy Superintendent and the Director for Special Education and Federal and State School Improvement Efforts. As part of her state education agency leadership she guided efforts to develop and oversee implementation of state regulations, supported the creation, adoption, and implementation of legislative and Governor-driven priorities, and worked to ensure effective and efficient operational systems within the agency.

Before joining the Nevada Department of Education, Fitzpatrick served as a faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno, in the College of Education, where she focused on increasing positive outcomes for people with disabilities from birth through adulthood.

She received an MEd in early childhood special education from the University of Nevada, Reno.