Operations / Administration District Assistant Counsel – Special Education
SUMMARY: Provide District-wide, general in-house legal support including, but not limited to, providing leadership for compliance with federal, state, and local laws relating to education law with an emphasis in student and special education. Provide legal service to District staff on a variety of matters, including special education regulations, IDEA, 504, and other laws supporting students with disabilities. Strong, demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion to include a strong work ethic, integrity, sound judgment, initiative, and strategic thinking skills. Problem solve to expeditiously assess issues and provide sound legal advice. Collaborate with other in-house legal representatives to maintain consistency and quality in service to District partners. Acquire and coordinate external legal services, as directed and required.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned.
Represent, counsel, advise, instruct, and defend administrators, and Superintendent regarding a variety of complex legal matters, especially related to:
*Colorado education law
*General school law, OCR issues, Title IX issues, and other related matters
*Students’ rights, responsibilities and discipline
*IDEA, Special Education, 504 and related matters
Represent Jeffco Public Schools in special education due process hearings by investigating the merit of a case, submitting the legally required complaint response, participating in legally required resolution sessions, preparing documentary and witness based evidence for hearings, participating in pre-hearing and related conferences and mediations, and submitting oral and/or written arguments.
Represent Jeffco Public Schools in administrative due process, mediations, informally mediate disputes, and formally respond to State Complaints filed by parents and staff.
Provide expert and well-managed legal services related to Special Education, attend IEP conferences, and coordinate the implementation of hearing orders, mediation and settlement agreements with Special Education and local District and school staff.
Conduct and support training regarding Due Process Complaints, Mediation Requests, 504 matters, and general special education legal concerns.
Direct and manage the legal work of the Student Success Division generally, including the assignment of work to external legal counsel.
Support school administrators with IEP and 504 meetings in cases in which the meetings include parent attorneys/advocates.
Ensure that staff timely implements orders, mediation and settlement agreements with central office and school staff.
In partnership with other District leadership, ensure that all managers and supervisors comply with applicable laws and policies.
Other duties as assigned.
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
EXPERIENCE Minimum of five (5) years of legal practice required. Knowledge of Colorado special education regulations, IDEA, 504, and other laws supporting students with disabilities is required. Prior experience in special education, student and/or education law is required.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING Juris Doctorate degree from an accredited law school required.
CERTIFICATES, LICENSES, REGISTRATIONS Must be licensed to practice law and in good standing in the State of Colorado.
SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, & EQUIPMENT Demonstrated skills in conflict management; problem-solving strategies; budgeting; resource allocation and prioritization; data analysis; and collaborative decision making and group facilitation. Excellent writing and speaking skills and training skills. Knowledge of education laws and student rights laws. Knowledge of and experience with basic computer operation and word processing.
DECISION MAKING Decision making requires independent judgment; legal interpretation; analysis; and application of District, federal, state, and local policies, regulations, and laws to implement policies, laws, and legislation affecting employees,
students, and the public; and to represent the District in IDEA, 504, and special education matters. The quality of these decisions has a profound impact on the climate and culture of the organization. Errors in decision making could impact the quality of the workforce, quality of student education, staffing, budget, integrity of the department and/or District, and/or public’s confidence. Errors could lead to substantial embarrassment to the District, BOE, and Superintendent and/or serious legal ramifications.
COMMUNITY RELATIONS Frequent contact with classified staff, professional staff, outside legal counsel, parents, CDE, and OCR to set critical policy and to respond to issues, complaints, mediations, and charges.
SPAN OF CONTROL Directly supervise one to five employees in the Student Success Division. Carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization’s policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; and addressing complaints and resolving problems.
EDUCATIONAL DELIVERY Provide support to schools and students by providing direction, advice, influence, and training to District leadership regarding policy development, interpretation, and implementation; and by ensuring District compliance with laws established to protect employees and students. Provide direct services to District leadership and departments by resolving legal issues and by providing legal training, analysis, and support. The majority of time is not spent on the school site.
COMPLEXITY OF WORK Work is self-directed and assigned via applicable policies and laws. Requires independent judgment and global thinking within applicable rules and the ability to develop solutions where policies and procedures are not clearly defined. Must have a comprehensive understanding of all rules, regulations, and contracts affecting the District, its employees, and students. Must analyze all facts and circumstances involved, utilize objective and rational reasoning, and understand the impact the decision will have from a global perspective.
The physical demands, work environment characteristics, and mental functions described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to stand; walk; sit; and use hands to finger, handle, or feel. The employee is occasionally required to reach with hands and arms and stoop, kneel, or crouch. The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
WORK ENVIRONMENT While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally exposed to outside weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
MENTAL FUNCTIONS While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to compare, analyze, communicate, coordinate, instruct, synthesize, evaluate, use interpersonal skills, and negotiate. The employee is frequently required to reflect on systemic processes to identify areas that could fail and identify appropriate corrective mechanisms to prevent such events, as well as compute and compile.