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  • Writer's pictureKatie Jackson

My "Why" - Why I became an educational consultant and special education advocate.

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

After a successful career as a special educator, I left the comfortable and familiar to become an agent of change.

Welcome to my first blog post EVER! This is where I want to share ideas and inspiration along with updates about my business. June 2018 I walked away from what used to be my dream job as a middle school special education teacher. I went on to start my private practice as an educational consultant and special education advocate in Fall 2018. If you asked me in Fall 2017 if I would ever leave teaching, I would have laughed at that thought and replied "no way". Little did I know that school year that life was going to take a different path for me.

“It's highly possible that by not being where you thought you should be, you will end up exactly where you're meant to go.”- Rachel Hollis

Before I go into details of my journey, let me first introduce myself to those I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting. I am a wife and mom of two kids and one dog. As you can imagine, my life is pretty hectic. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy reading, cooking, baking, crafting and adventuring the outdoors. I live in Forest Grove, Oregon and my private practice is located in Beaverton, Oregon. I have had the honor to serve families and communities in the Portland Metro Area of Oregon.

My Journey

There are many aspects to my journey and I know that not all of them will fit into this blog post. I want to keep things to manageable chunks so I will create future blog posts going more in-depth on key elements to my journey. Here we go!!

I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a teacher, specifically a special education teacher. Special educator blood ran in my veins. My mom is a special education teacher and I loved what she did. She would take me to her classroom often and it always felt like Disneyland to me. As I went on to high school and college it was no surprise that I was aiming for a career as a special education teacher. When I landed my first teaching job, I thought I had won the lottery. During my career I was always pushing to grow my craft and experience more to make me the best educator. I presented with my mom at disability conferences, educating administrators, educators and parents about special education. I felt so much joy doing this and empowering others with knowledge.

When I had my son, I started to feel the pull of being home with him while also investing the time and energy for my career as an educator. When I had my daughter, I finally felt like I had my stride and balance for being a mom and having a career. Shortly after my daughter's birth my life turned upside down. Aria suffered a severe stroke at 3 weeks old. I will write a future blog post dedicated to her story and the most terrifying moments of my life.

Aria post surgery from her first of three brain surgeries.

Our lives forever changed and I started my new life as a mom of a child with special needs. After a month long hospitalization, we were all back home as a family. Aria had many appointments with specialists and therapists as part of her stroke recovery. When I returned to work I knew I had changed. I had a new perspective as a special needs parent and I loved helping other families who needed guidance or coaching outside of my teaching job. I felt passionate about helping my community and being a resource. During the 2017-2018 school year I continued feeling the pull to help my community while teaching full-time and making sure I was available for all of Aria's appointments and therapies. Working 10 hour days and coming home to parent was no longer working for our family. My husband was going to most of Aria's appointments and I wasn't happy missing those appointments but it was hard to be gone from my classroom to attend them all. I kept thinking about the times I presented at conferences and workshops, teaching families about the special education process and empowering them. In the back of my head, I always knew this is what I needed to do next.

After years of helping families with the special education process while teaching, I needed to make a choice. I could no longer do both and be home more with my family. I finally realized that my place was no longer teaching in public education. I wanted more and to do more for my community. I was being called to be an agent of change and a resource for families. I decided to start my own educational consulting and special education advocacy practice. I am passionate about this work and empowering parents to be part of the special education process. I continue to be part of the IEP team in my new role as a support and advocate with the families I serve. I want to help parents learn the special education process so they can truly be their child's voice and get the education their child needs. I also want to be a resource to IEP teams and help everyone come together to support each other.

Thank you for reading my first blog post! If you want to contact me, schedule a consultation or learn more about my services. Feel free to complete my contact form.

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