Executive Director of Special Education

Job category: Professional
Exemption Status/Test: Exempt
Reports to: Chief Academic Officer
Date Revised: February 1, 2020
Dept./School: Special Education

Primary purpose

Direct and manage the district’s special education program. Ensure that services are provided for special needs students and individualized education programs are provided to meet the needs of all students. Warrant compliance with all state, federal, and local requirements.



Master’s Degree

Special Education Certification

Principal/Mid-Management Certification

Earned or in progress doctorate, preferred

Competitive grade point averages on undergraduate and graduate work


Three (3) years of teaching experience, special education preferred

Experience in successful leadership role at the District or State level

Evidence of staff development experience, committee work. Professional honors/activities and past experience applicable to the position preferred

Successful special education supervisory experience at a campus, district, or state level, preferred

Successful experience in a diverse school district

Special knowledge/skills

Knowledge of federal and state special education law

Knowledge of state and federal compliance reports/indicators such as State Performance Plan (SPP), Residential Facility Monitoring and Performance-Based Monitoring Analysis System (PBMAS)

Knowledge of dyslexia education

Understanding of the individual needs of special needs students

Ability to communicate with all levels of special needs students and their parents

Ability to implement policy and procedures

Ability to interpret data

Ability to manage budget and personnel

Strong organization, communication and interpersonal skills

Major responsibilities and duties

Instructional and Program Management

  • Oversee the development and delivery of special education curriculum and instructional programs that incorporate district goals and support student achievement.  Ensure that curriculum renewal is continuous and responsive to student needs.
  • Develop and implement an effective special education referral process and ensure that student assessments and recommendations regarding placement and program management for individual students are completed in a timely manner.
  • Monitor the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) process districtwide.  Ensure that students are placed appropriately and development of individual education plans for students are consistent with district procedures.  Ensure that student progress is evaluated on a systematic basis.
  • Obtain and use evaluative findings (including student achievement data) to gauge special education program effectiveness.  Make changes when warranted.
  • Ensure that the necessary time, resources, materials, and technology to support accomplish educational goals are available.  Encourage and support the development of innovative instructional programs.
  • Direct transition services for special education students entering and exiting public school programs.
  • Take an active role in the formulating and implementing contracts for special education students receiving services outside of the district.

Student Management

  • Demonstrate support for the district’s student management policies and expected student behavior related to special education program.

Policy, Reports, and Law

  • Implement the policies established by federal and state law, State Board of Education rule, and local board policy in the area of special education.  Recommend sound policies and procedures to improve program.
  • Compile, maintain, and file all reports, records, and other documents required.

Budget and Inventory

  • Develop and administer the special education budget based on documented needs and ensure that operations are cost effective and funds are managed wisely.
  • Maintain a current inventory of supplies and equipment and recommend the replacement and disposal of equipment when necessary.

Personnel Management

  • Prepare, review, and revise job descriptions in special education department.
  • Select, train, supervise, and evaluate staff and make recommendations relative to assignment, retention, discipline, and dismissal.

Communication and Community Relations

  • Establish and maintain a professional relationship and open communication with principals, teachers, staff, parents, and community members.
  • Serve as district liaison to community agencies providing services to students and notify parents and students of available services.
  • Articulate the district’s mission and goals in the area of special education to the community and solicit its support in realizing the mission.
  • Demonstrate awareness of district-community needs and initiate activities to meet those needs.
  • Use appropriate and effective techniques to encourage community and parent involvement.

Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Supervises and evaluates, special education coordinators, director’s secretary, student information (PEIMS) secretary, receptionist and bookkeeper.

Mental demands/physical demands/environmental factors

Tools/Equipment Used: 
Standard office equipment including personal computer and peripherals
Prolonged sitting; occasional bending/stooping, pushing/pulling, and twisting
Repetitive hand motions; frequent keyboarding and use of mouse
Occasional light lifting and carrying (less than 15 pounds)
Frequent districtwide travel; occasional districtwide travel
Mental Demands: 
Work with frequent interruptions; maintain emotional control under stress

This document describes the general purpose and responsibilities assigned to this job and is not an exhaustive list of all responsible and duties that may be assigned or skills that may be required.