Meet The Panelists
Moderator: Heather Eckner, M.A.Ed.
Heather is the Executive Director of A2IDEAS, a special education advocacy nonprofit organization, as well as an Education Consultant for the Autism Alliance of Michigan and an Instructional Assistant at Wayne State University. She has general education classroom teaching experience comprising the inclusion of students with disabilities and is the parent of children who receive special education services and supports. Heather’s extensive knowledge encompasses all areas of eligibility and the continuum of services in Special Education with a training emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Dyslexia. Heather is currently in the fifth training cohort for the Michigan Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (MI-LEND) program, an interdisciplinary leadership program that prepares emerging leaders with the goal of improving the health of infants, children, and adolescents with or at risk for neurodevelopmental disabilities and other related health care needs. Heather also participates in various roles by serving on school committees, executive boards, and by collaborating in advisory groups and coalitions. With the goal of effecting systemic change, Heather’s decision to launch an advocacy practice was driven by her commitment to education and passion for social justice. She is a proponent of furthering evidence-based practices to support individuals with disabilities in education and across the wider community.
Sandee Koski, MA
Sandee has 30 years of experience in disability related field involving children and adults, this includes working as a Speech & Language Pathologist. She has been involved with numerous local, county and state wide initiatives representing concerns of families whose children have disabilities, including identifying and removing barriers in order for people with disabilities to have the opportunity to fully participate in the school and broader community. Currently, Sandee works for the Michigan Alliance for Families as the Statewide Trainer.
Connie Greer, MAT
Connie has 28 years of middle school teaching experience in the field of special education, including teaching in the self-contained program setting, the resource program setting and within the general education setting as a teacher consultant. She has worked with students from all eligibility categories, but has specific skill-sets in working with students who have emotional and learning disabilities as well as those on the autism spectrum. As a teacher at the middle school level, Connie has focused on the development of the academic, social and executive function skills that students will need in order to successfully transition from middle school to high school, and beyond. Currently, Connie works as a middle school Teacher Consultant with the Ann Arbor Public Schools.
Zelda Solomons, ED. SP, MA, BS
Zelda has had over 40 years as an educator. Her teaching experience ranges from K – 12 through Adjunct Faculty Member at Wayne County Community College. She has had teaching experience in general and special education. Her distinguished teaching career has included: Community Based Vocational Instructor, Resource Teacher, Teacher Consultant, Reading Consultant, Alternative Day Program Instructor, and Instructor in a Regional Detention Center. Although her specialist degree concentration is in working with Emotionally and Learning-Disabled Students, her experience extends to all disabilities including Autistic Students.
Currently she works as a Transition Coordinator for Southfield Public Schools providing career preparation/exploration and work experiences that successfully prepares students needing support for transition into post-secondary educational and/or employment options.
She has conducted many workshops and in-services throughout schools in Oakland County involving Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities. She has received Employment Training Specialist Certifications from Michigan State University. Zelda is a member and actively involved with several professional organizations: Oakland County Transition Assistance, Intermediate School Districts Transition Teams, Oakland County Transition Network, Michigan Transition Services Association and has received Outstanding Staff Award twice from Partnership for Education Council in Southfield as well as the Inclusion Leadership Award (The ARC of Oakland County Dove Award in 2016). Zelda believes that the education of a child is one of the most important things you can do in your lifetime because the difference you can make in the education of one child can change the world.