Did Jason Leahy, Executive Director of the Illinois Principals Association block special education leader, Bev Johns, from webinar?


-By Bev Johns

We like to think we live in a free country where we can express our political viewpoints without fear of retaliation, particularly on proposed legislation.

This afternoon I received a telephone call from the Associate Director for Professional Development of the Illinois Principals’ Association (IPA) canceling my IPA Webinar planned for April 25.

As I have gotten to know and like her (and she is soon retiring from IPA) she told me what this was really about.

My first Webinar for IPA on March 2 on Sixty 60 Second Behavior Interventions (the April 25 was to be a repeat of that) was well-attended, and got excellent reviews.

I was told today that IPA PD did not want to cancel, that registration was good for April 25, but that she was directed by Jason Leahy, Executive Director of IPA to cancel. (Jason Leahy has not returned my call to him.)

Why the cancellation?

She stated that IPA had received complaints on my personal position on the Evidence Based Model and that concerns had been expressed to IPA about my email and Facebook comments about IAASE and their positions on legislation (the IPA supports the Evidence Based Model in HB 2808 and SB 1).

Of course that had absolutely nothing to do with my Webinars for IPA.

She stated it was possible that the Webinar might be re-scheduled if the situation changed.

Remember that I had previously received email threats from the President-Elect of IAASE, and then the February 21, 2017 letter from a Washington, D.C. law firm “on behalf of the… Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education (‘IAASE’)” making several false statements and demanding that I cease certain email activity.

This is still a free country, and nothing will stop me from being an advocate for students and teachers.

8 Replies to “Did Jason Leahy, Executive Director of the Illinois Principals Association block special education leader, Bev Johns, from webinar?”

    1. WOW! The entire career of a man who has spent his adult life working to improve schools, conditions in those schools, administrators, teachers and the educational life of students is judged and condemned based of one decision seemingly made in the interest of the professional organization for which he is paid to help lead and protect? In addition he is labeled “despicable” based on this same one act. Now that is a thoughtful reaction and one of tolerance.

      1. Frankly, Paul, that is nonsense. “The entire career is judged and condemned”? That is neither thoughtful or tolerant. A decision to keep a woman who has spent her career fighting for special needs was made and it was a wrong one. Leahy should do the right thing in this case.

  1. To your last sentence, Bev–absolutely!
    Once again, who gets hurt by this cancellation? The kids, of course.
    I suppose the leaders (specifically Jason & Kevin, head of IAASE–see Fred’s earlier post on that) may think that principals & sped administrators already know everything they need to know about proven methods that will help all children, and, thus, don’t need to hear from an expert such as Bev (& I recommend–for those who don’t know her–to Google the name “Beverley Holden Johns”). Her vast experience, leadership, advocacy & international (that’s right–international) renown is unsurpassed.
    When I first started teaching–waaay back in 1974–she was the person I contacted (found her through her involvement {she may have been the president at the time}in IL Council for Exceptional Children) when district or co-op officials (not principals–I always worked for great ones {lucky me}) tried to NOT service kids (F.Y.I. actives–a good antidote for that is to take a course in SpEd Law &–while you’re at it–School Law–esp. in these DeVosian times–you may not be able to say that “Federal law supercedes state law” when it comes to services, BUT–you WILL know the laws, & “knowledge is power”–well, at least in this case). But–I digress from the subject, here, who is Bev.
    BEV is the expert here, no mistake about it.
    We have your back, Bev!

    And Jason & Kevin–back off.

  2. Bev should have been allowed to present. Fighting for fair political change and advocating for teachers has nothing to do with the information she was scheduled to share! it is obvious that Infair actions were taken to ca cel the talk for political reasons!

  3. This action is completely wrong, and should be corrected.
    For those setting up the straw man of saying his entire career was being indicted, no, the one action is being questioned.
    A man of integrity would correct his mistake.

  4. I wrote another really long comment, but must have left the page, as it disappeared. Any, its gist was that I agree w/ccbdrti’s last sentence (&, also, Kevin Rubenstein of IAASE needs to do the same) AND the fact that special education is under attack, advocates not welcome.
    To boot–the firing, yesterday or Thursday, of CPS Special Ed. Teacher Sarah Chambers, who became publicly known several years ago when she led fellow Saucedo School Teachers in “standardized” test refusal; now she is being fired for advocating/encouraging opt outs of the dreadful, nonsensical PARCC tests (or CRAPP, as they have come to be known…because they are). Please sign the petition that is being circulated:
    Last–but not least–the dreadful HB 2808, which includes the amendment to cut the $9,000 special ed personnel reimbursement, passed House 1st hearing BECAUSE it WAS NOT POSTED ON THAT DAY’s HOUSE SCHEDULE, so NO Witness Slips were on IL Gov. site. Rep. Will Davis, bill sponsor, wondered why there were no slips (esp. because previous postings produced a phenomenal # of slips OPPOSING passage)–yet THEY VOTED ANYWAY, & it passed (I believe the # was 15-1!). SO–keep calling/e-mailing your Reps AND Senators (as it’s likely to rear its ugly head in the Senate as some other #–SBwhatever), but make it known that we, their constituents, want them to OPPOSE passage of this bill w/the -$9,000 amendment.

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