tamar_riley.jpgMIAMI GARDENS — The Florida Memorial University School of Education (SOE) is preparing to launch the Project Preparing Leaders to Execute Effective Actions in Special Education (PLEEASE), to train local special-education leaders.

The project is funded by a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, through the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

Project participants will earn a master’s degree in Exceptional Special Education (ESE), with a focus on leadership. The grant will provide full funding to train 50 ESE leaders over the next five years.

The school is hosting an information session next month. For more information, contact Tamar Riley at Tamar.Riley@FMUniv.edu

FMU’s proposal team was composed of four SOE professors:

Tamar Riley, co-director; Annamaria Jerome-Raja, co-director; Yvonne Campbell and Althea Durden. Riley said the program will emphasize a special focus on providing leadership to urban school personnel.

A congratulatory letter from the Education Department noted that of 95 applications reviewed, only 13 were financed.

The grant offers full tuition and includes stipends for travel and books. The first group of participants will begin in January 2013. The second will start in August 2014 and the final group in May 2016.

Prospective candidates are required to hold a degree or certification in ESE; currently teach or provide leadership in ESE; be recommended by their principal or supervisor; and meet FMU graduate-program admission criteria.

“Our biggest objective is to increase the number of special-education leaders in the local community to improve the quality of education and outcomes for students with disabilities in K-12 classrooms,” said Riley, associate professor of special education.

“Participants will enjoy a five-semester program with an engaging and interactive curriculum,” Riley said. “We will teach and collaborate with leaders from Miami-Dade and Broward county school districts. We will also connect participants with industry mentors.”