Two local leaders in special education featured in Keystone Breakfast Speaker Series

KALAMAZOO- Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency assistant superintendent for special education, Laurie Montgomery, and the director of KRESA WoodsEdge Learning Center, Angela Telfer, are the November speakers for the Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Speaker Series.

Montgomery and Telfer will speak at 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, in the Dean’s Conference Room (Room 2150) of Schneider Hall, home of the Haworth College of Business. Their presentation is titled “The WoodsEdge Story: A Phenomenal First for Special Education in the U.S.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, begins with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting Kayla Hunt at (269) 387-6059 or kayla.j.hunt@wmich.edu. Free parking is available in the Fetzer Center parking lot.

WoodsEdge Learning Center

WoodsEdge serves students from the ages of three to 26 from all nine school districts in Kalamazoo County. It features innovative learning spaces and tools designed to support students at all stages of learning. Montgomery, Telfer and their staff worked closely with architects to design WoodsEdge to provide a nurturing environment for students with severe to profound impairments. The state-of-the-art special education learning facility was the first of two construction projects funded by a $25.4 million bond proposal that Kalamazoo County voters approved in 2007. The special education facility is the first in the nation to achieve LEED Gold Certification in the “Schools” category.

Laurie Montgomery, BS ’82, MA ’85, Kalamazoo RESA assistant superintendent for special education

Montgomery is a Western Michigan University alumna with 27 years of professional service in K-12 public education in Michigan: five years working in the general education setting, 17 years as a school psychologist and five years administering special education programs and services. She has a strong commitment to improving the quality of instruction for youth-at-risk and with disabilities.

As the assistant superintendent for special education for Kalamazoo RESA since July 2009, Montgomery is responsible for the provision of special education services to all eligible individuals in Kalamazoo County, from birth to age 26. From 2007 to 2009, Montgomery was director and supervisor of special education for the southern region of Kalamazoo County, overseeing all special education programs and services, as well as fiscal and legal obligations for Portage, Schoolcraft and Vicksburg Public Schools.  She earned bachelor’s, master’s and educational specialist degrees from WMU; she is a doctoral candidate at Eastern Michigan University.

Angela Telfer, MA ’90,  director of KRESA WoodsEdge Learning Center

Telfer, also a WMU alumna, has more than 25 years of experience in special education as a teacher, consultant and administrator.  Telfer strives to provide excellence in education so that children and adults with disabilities are as independent as they are able to be and are accepted and respected as valued, participating members of their communities.

Telfer earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in special education with a focus on autism spectrum disorders from WMU. She earned a special education supervisor certification from Grand Valley State University. She has provided training in autism spectrum disorders at Kalamazoo RESA and throughout Michigan, and she has been a trainer for the START (Statewide Autism Resources and Training) Project.

In addition to the November 30 event, the 2012-13 Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Speaker Series schedule includes—

  • Jan. 25: Jeanne Hess, Kalamazoo College volleyball coach
  • Feb. 22: Dr. Hal Jenson, M.D., founding dean of the WMU School of Medicine
  • March 22: Lisa Garcia, director, WMU Business Connection
  • April 26: Dan Gaydou, president, MLive Media Group
  • May 31: Bill Rose, president and chief executive officer, Kalamazoo Nature Center
  • June 28: Sharon Carlson, WMU director of archives and regional history

The Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Speaker Series provides an opportunity for the local community to hear top business leaders and WMU faculty, alumni and friends of the Haworth College of Business discuss current topics of interest to the community.

Editor: Cindy Wagner
Haworth College of Business
2100 Schneider Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamzoo MI 49008-5457 USA
(269) 387-5050 | (269) 387-5710 Fax