DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE
THE SUPPORT THEY NEED?

Our law firm is dedicated to offering high quality, personalized legal services. To this end, we strive in all we do to never forget that the true practice of law is serving the needs of individuals with sensitivity, compassion, and skill. It is our fervent desire that our clients will feel safe, secure and comfortable in their relations with this firm. We are prepared and able to take effective legal action to obtain justice and equity for those we serve. At the same time, we are problem-solvers and very skilled in dispute resolution.

In the realm of special education law and advocacy, we desire to be at the forefront of the struggle to protect and advance the educational rights of children with disabilities. We believe that disabilities educational rights are the next civil rights frontier. We work in the courts, state legislature and Congress to challenge the present barriers to appropriate education for children with disabilities. We are proud of the walls that we have already caused to fall, and of the educational success that so many of our clients have experienced.

OUR FIRM PHILOSOPHY

We believe that close, personal client relationships are a key element in our success. We want you to know us better and we want the opportunity to know you. As often as possible we like to work on student advocacy and legal intervention in attorney/advocate teams. We find that this strengthens client support, while at the same time reducing costs to the client.

Conversations in Special Education Law & Advocacy

SELA has launched a Special Education blog in order to better communicate with its friends and followers. It is intended to be more interactive and informative than postings on our Facebook page. While the blog was started by Mark Kamleiter, Esq., the entire SELA team is invited to paraticipate in writing blog articles and responding to those with questions. To make this blog successful, we need your help. You can help us by doing the following:

  1. Visit the blog and subscribe as a follower
  2. Review the latest blog posting (or earlier ones) and make comments, ask questions, or suggest other topics.
  3. Share the blog with your friends who may be interested in special education. It takes significant number of followers for the blog to show up in searches.

OUR TEAM

ALISON LEHAN ALLMAN

Alison Lehan Allman provides educational and legal services out of the principle headquarters of Special Education Law and Advocacy in Tampa, Florida. In addition to her own cases in special education law, she is the Senior Attorney, and supports and supervises the work of the firm’s educational advocates and attorneys

Ms. Allman is a native Floridian, born and raised in Tampa, where she still resides with her husband, Pat. Ms. Allman attended both private and public schools in South Tampa, and is a graduate of H.B. Plant High School. Ms. Allman earned her B.A. in English from the University of Virginia in 1983, and a J.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1986. She has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1988, and joined the Federal Bar in 2017.

Ms. Allman had a long career as an Assistant State Attorney, serving as a prosecutor in the Misdemeanor Trial Division, Juvenile Trial Division, Felony Trial Division, Intake Division, and participating in the filing decisions of the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office. In 2007, Ms. Allman decided to take a break from her full- time job as a prosecutor to spend more time raising her two sons, but continued to practice law pro bono, working as a volunteer lawyer for several organizations. She served on the Bay Area Legal Service’s Domestic Violence Assistance Project, helping victims navigate the process of filing for Injunctions for Protection. She joined the Florida Guardian ad Litem, advocating for the best interests of children in the Foster Care system. Her role as an advocate for foster children expanded when she joined Crossroads for Florida Kids as an Attorney ad Litem. While working with the Guardian ad Litem and Crossroads, Ms. Allman was frustrated by what she saw as a widespread problem of children with disabilities falling through the cracks of the educational system. She believes that education is one of the most effective ways to break the cycle of discrimination that many of these children face. She continues to provide pro bono services to the foster children of Hillsborough County.

Ms. Allman was introduced to Mark Kamleiter, the former owner of the firm, Special Education Law and Advocacy (SELA), upon the recommendations of educational advocates in the Tampa Bay area. Ms. Allman joined the firm and began working alongside Mr. Kamleiter in advocating for the educational rights of students with disabilities. She shares his philosophy of working collaboratively with the districts, while at the same time being prepared to take effective legal action. As a former prosecutor, Ms. Allman is prepared to litigate when it is necessary to secure an appropriate education for a disabled child. Ms. Allman also embraces SELA’s unique structure of pairing educational advocates with a supervising attorney, to better serve clients and be more cost effective. Ms. Allman enjoys working with the legal team of SELA to provide compassionate and skillful legal assistance to the families of disabled children.

When Mr. Kamleiter decided to semi-retire in the summer of 2018, he turned over and entrusted the management and ownership of the firm to Ms. Allman. She has embraced the opportunity, and has plans to expand the services of SELA to include assisting with the legal needs of disabled students as they transition from high school and become adults.

In her spare time, Ms. Allman enjoys being outside, participating in the many sports that living in Florida offers. She loves to bike and run on the Bayshore, as well as playing golf and sailing. She is an avid Rays, Bucs and Lightning fan, and loves to watch ACC basketball, especially the UVa Cavaliers.

ATTORNEY PROFILE

Licensed Since: 1988
Education: University of Virginia, University of South Carolina School of Law
Languages Spoken: English
Florida Bar Member Since: 1988
Federal Bar Member Since: 2017

Areas of Practice: Adoption Related Issues, Juvenile Delinquency, All Neuropsychological Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Applied Behavioral Therapy, Aspergers, Attachment Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Behavioral Challenges/Discipline, Bi Polar Disorder, Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Chronic Health Conditions, Civil Rights, Communication Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Developmental Disabilities, Discalculia, Discrimination, Down Syndrome, Drug Addiction, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Early Intervention (3-5), Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Emotional Behavior Disorder/Disturbance, Executive Function, Expulsion, Family Law, Health Impairments, Hearing Impairment/Deafness

MARK S. KAMLEITER

Mark Kamleiter established Special Education Law and Advocacy in 1993. Mark represents children with disabilities in due process and in Federal Court, advocating for their appropriate education in public school systems.

Mark Kamleiter is a graduate of Old Dominion University in Virginia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education and twenty-eight hours of Masters level History study. He graduated from the College of William and Mary (Marshall-Wythe School of Law-1978) in Virginia, with a Doctor of Jurisprudence. He has completed course work at the University of South Florida, earning certification in Special Education, Varying Exceptionalities. He is also Board Certified in Education Law.

Mark has taught regular education (History, Geography, Government) in middle school and high school and for several years taught a course in Law and Politics at the University of South Florida. He taught in the Pinellas County School System for five years, working with children with developmental delays and autism, and serving as a behavior specialist.

Having practiced law in both Virginia and Florida, Mark established this law firm in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1993 and today it has grown into the law firm known as Special Education Law and Advocacy. As its name implies, the firm is focused upon the representation of children with disabilities relative to issues in public education. Today, the firm has grown to include four attorneys, four professional advocates, and a paralegal.

As a long-time advocate for the rights of children with disabilities, Mark serves on the board of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA). Here in Florida, Mark helped to found, and still provides some leadership in the Florida Association of Special Education Attorneys. A frequent state and national speaker and presenter on issues related to the education of children with disabilities, Mark represents children with disabilities in school meetings, formal complaints, due process and in Federal Court, where he advocates for their appropriate education in public school systems.

Outside of his legal practice, Mark is active in the community. Locally, he worked to promote the passage of the St. Petersburg Human Rights Ordinance amendment, which extended discrimination protections to gays and lesbians. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, Mark and Diane were very involved in the peace movement. He won an important “freedom of speech” case in Federal Court, defending a peace activist, who was arrested outside the gates of the Bay Pines VA Medical Center for expressing his desire for peace and opposition to the war against Iraq. His belief in non-violence has led Mark to serve with CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse, Inc.), a major Pinellas County non-profit corporation, providing spousal abuse shelter, transitional housing, education and counseling, among other services. He is a past-president of CASA and now serves on their governance committee. Mark serves on the board of the Pinellas Chapter of the ACLU, as well as on the local ACLU legal panel.

In the summer of 2018, Mark decided that it was time to semi-retire. While still passionate about his legal practice, he wanted to have time to pursue his second calling. In the 1980’s, Mark, with his wife, Judy, founded a church in Paris, La Pierre Vivante (Living Stone Church). He now feels called to return to Paris and finish the work they started. Mark will be spending most of his time in Europe, but will still actively participate in the work of SELA, providing consultation and client representation through video conferencing, and participating in the Special Education community on his trips back to the United States. Mark entrusted the ownership and management of the firm to Alison Allman. Mark is looking forward to this new chapter in his life.

ATTORNEY PROFILE

Licensed Since: 1978
Education: Old Dominion University, William & Mary Law School
Languages Spoken: English
Florida Bar Member Since: 1994

Areas of Practice: Adoption Related Issues, All Neuropsychological Disorder, All Other Special Needs, Anxiety Disorders, Applied Behavioral Therapy, Aspergers, Attachment Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Behavioral Challenges/Discipline, Bi Polar Disorder, Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Chronic Health Conditions, Civil Rights, College/Higher Education, Communication Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Developmental Disabilities, Discalculia, Discrimination, Down Syndrome, Drug Addiction, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Early Intervention (3-5), Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Emotional Behavior Disorder/Disturbance, Executive Function, Expulsion, Family Law, Health Impairments, Hearing Impairment/Deafness

KIMBERLEY SPIRE-OH

Kimberley Spire-Oh is an attorney in private practice. Ms. Spire-Oh received a J.D. from Hofstra School of Law and a B.S. in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell University. Her practice focuses on special education law and advocacy and disability law representing clients throughout Florida. She also is a frequent speaker on special education issues for many local, state, and national conferences. Prior to starting her law practice, Ms. Spire-Oh was legal editor for LRP Publications’ reporters, bulletins and treatises involving disability law. She has also worked as a mediator, as a Congressional caseworker, as donor relations officer for the Harvard School of Public Health, and as a grant writer and consultant for numerous nonprofit organizations.

In addition to serving as co-president of the Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) of Florida, Ms. Spire-Oh currently serves as co-chair of the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County’s Education Committee, co-chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee for LDA of America; secretary of the the board of directors for Different Brains, Inc.; vice-president of the board of directors for SeasonQs, and as a member of the Florida State Advisory Committee for the Education of Exceptional Students, the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking 2012 Class, the Florida Association of Special Education Attorneys, the Disability Rights Bar Association, as well as the Palm Beach County School District’s Diversity and Equity Committee and Exceptional Student Education Advisory Committee. She received a 2011 Multicultural Leadership Award from the Florida Diversity Council. Ms. Spire-Oh has first-hand knowledge of disabilities as an individual with a seizure and autoimmune disorders and as mother of a twice-exceptional child.

ATTORNEY PROFILE

Licensed Since: 1991
Education: Hofstra School of Law, Cornell University
Languages Spoken: English
Florida Bar Member Since: 2007

NINA A. KANNATT

Nina A. Kannatt, Esq. represents our firm in the northeastern part of the state (Jacksonville and all surrounding counties including Duval, St. Johns, Flagler, Nassau and Clay). Nina brings a powerful, passionate and understanding voice to a largely unrepresented area of the state.

Nina hails from New York. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. In 1988 she graduated from Villanova University School of Law. Nina then returned to New York and began practicing law concentrating in all areas of Defense Litigation. Several years later she moved to California and continued as a litigator. Her true interest at the time was Environmental law and she was fortunate to obtain a position with the Department of the Army where she was responsible for managing a multi-million dollar environmental cleanup of a military base in the San Francisco Bay area.

In 1996 Nina took a short break from the work force to spend time with her newborn son. Eight years later and with two more children, she was enlightened to the needs of children and families with special needs. Nina states that, “through her children’s school experiences and activities I met many families who where frustrated as they struggled to get the local schools to address the needs of their children. These families often felt like they had nowhere to turn to for help. I know as a parent how hard it is to watch your child struggle and my heart aches when I hear the stories of children who struggle. I decided that it was time to use my skills to help.” Consequently, she became an advocate for families with children with special needs in education in the Jacksonville area.

In 2007 Nina was admitted to the Florida Bar and shortly thereafter opened a Special Education Law Practice. Nina feels fortunate to have met Mark Kamleiter at a COPPA conference where he graciously offered to mentor and assist her with her work. Nina states that, “It quickly became clear that working as a team we can help more families than either of us can on our own. I am delighted to be part of the SELA team as the individuals on our team have so many unique and varied experiences that allow us to serve our clients more effectively than any one individual can. I look forward to the opportunity to make a difference in the life of each child and family that I work with.”

ATTORNEY PROFILE

Licensed Since: 1988
Education: University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University School of Law
Languages Spoken: English
Florida Bar Member Since: 2007

ANDREA W. MACINTIRE

Andrea Macintire is an educational consultant and child advocate dedicated to providing support to families who have concerns about their child’s academic progress or emotional and behavioral functioning within the school setting. This includes issues related to IDEA (Exceptional Student Education and Response to Intervention) and Section 504 compliance, as well as student retention, discipline, and placement. She believes in educating and empowering families by teaching them the strategies they need to fight for their child’s rights, while providing them with the technical information needed to fuel that fight. She is also a passionate advocate, serving families directly by representing their interests at school and district meetings. From helping families to initiate the evaluation process and assisting school-based teams with devising and implementing best-practice interventions to monitoring student progress and intervention fidelity, she will work with you to ensure that your child’s rights are protected every step of the way.

Mrs. Macintire received her B.A. in political science and psychology from the University of Delaware in 1992. Graduating with honors (magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa), she went on to earn two graduate degrees (M.A. (1993) and Ed.S. (1995)) in school psychology.

While working as a supervised school psychologist in private practice in Palm Harbor and Largo, Florida, she compiled a bank of research-validated academic and behavioral recommendations in such areas as ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities across subject areas, intellectual disabilities, emotional and behavioral issues, and neurodevelopmental disorders. This collection of recommendations includes less common disorders, such as Tourette’s Syndrome, spatial neglect, epilepsy, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, dyspraxia, and giftedness with learning disabilities, and is now shared with families in her job as an advocate. Mrs. Macintire has worked with children of all ages, advocating for and designing educational plans for preschoolers through high-school students. As a former nationally certified school psychologist with Pinellas County schools, she secured services for students from within an institution marked by a lack of resources, and worked effectively with all members of various multidisciplinary teams; and, as the parent of a child with multiple disabilities, she experienced first-hand the worry and frustration of navigating the impersonal, often times seemingly indifferent special education system.

Mrs. Macintire believes deeply in the right of every child to receive an appropriate, broad-based education while participating actively in all aspects of the learning community. She is committed to fighting for your child and invites you to contact her and tell her your story.

COMMITMENT

  • Recognizing all students as valuable members of their learning communities;
  • Providing a continuum of services and unwavering support;
  • Protecting your child’s right to appropriate education within the least restrictive environment;
  • Designing and advocating for evidence-based academic and behavioral interventions, accommodations, and modifications;
  • Securing continuous progress monitoring of goals and reevaluation of curriculum, instruction, and services;
  • Ensuring intervention-focused, comprehensive evaluations.

TAMMY MULLON

Tammy began her professional life in the financial services sector. She was employed by Merrill Lynch as a Financial Consultant and then worked as a Vice-President, Investment Banking Manager for SunTrust Banks. In the process, she gained extensive expertise in facilitative leadership, organizational development, strategic planning, data analysis, and negotiation. Those skill sets have proven invaluable in her second career as an Educational Advocate.

She entered the world of special education in 2009, advocating for her own children. Over time her advocacy efforts expanded as she attended training offered by our State Parent Center to become a Volunteer IEP Support Parent. As her interest and passion grew, she attended The Twigs Advocacy Training, a program that provides an overview of all aspects of special education advocacy. She also completed the Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training Series.

For two years, 2013 and 2014, she attended the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia’s year-long “Know Your Child’s Rights!” training series taught by Sonja Kerr, Esquire. To date, she has attended more than 1000 hours of webinar training and workshops hosted by professional organizations focused on advocacy for children, including The Advocacy Institute Academy Deluxe Webinar Collection.

In 2014, she completed COPAA’s Special Education Advocacy Training (SEAT), a nationally developed and recognized year-long course that provides participants with training to become a special education advocate. Upon completing the SEAT training, she fulfilled her student practicum requirement with Special Education Law and Advocacy. In 2014, she joined the law firm and has been effectively servicing five east-central counties in Florida.

In 2015, Tammy was selected by The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) to participate in Florida Partners in Policymaking, a six-month leadership and advocacy training program that teaches individuals with developmental disabilities and parents to become community leaders and catalysts for systems change.

In 2017, she completed the National Special Education Advocacy Institutes (NSEAI) yearlong advocacy program. This included extensive cross training in the areas of education research-based practices, behavior, special education law, psychology, evaluations, transition planning, related services, conflict resolution, case management, and progress monitoring that leads to functional outcomes. The program is IEP Process focused versus Due Process focused.

In 2018, she was accepted into The William & Mary Law Institute of Special Education Advocacy, a training program hosted by the William & Mary School of Law and co-sponsored by the PELE Special Education Advocacy Clinic and Wrightslaw. The purpose of the program is to provide training in special education advocacy to experienced advocates and attorneys who are new to special education law.

Tammy is a long-time member of The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA). She actively follows the member Listserv and participates in weekly study groups. She is also a member of the National Association for Professional Special Education Advocates.

Tammy’s ultimate goal is to support each student, through the spirit and the letter of the law, to be as independent, as self-sufficient, as self-advocating as possible, and to enforce their right to a successful education. Her focus is on effective, meaningful special education programming that is designed to ensure students lead productive and independent adult lives.

COMMITMENT

  • Recognizing all students as valuable members of their learning communities;
  • Providing a continuum of services and unwavering support;
  • Protecting your child’s right to appropriate education within the least restrictive environment;
  • Designing and advocating for evidence-based academic and behavioral interventions, accommodations, and modifications;
  • Securing continuous progress monitoring of goals and reevaluation of curriculum, instruction, and services;
  • Ensuring intervention-focused, comprehensive evaluations.

DEBORAH R. CAMPBELL

Deborah Campbell, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a Licensed and Certified Speech/Language Pathologist, Certified Dyslexia Testing and Treatment Specialist and Special Education Advocate. She is the owner and president of Superior Therapy, with offices in Crystal River and Brooksville. Her knowledge and passion for special education advocacy comes from both her personal and professional experiences with special needs children and adults with disabilities. Deborah is a graduate of the William and Mary Law Institute of Special Education Advocacy training program.

Deborah is a native Floridian. She grew up in Margate, Florida, attended undergraduate and then graduate school at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, and currently resides in Citrus County, Florida. Deborah is married with two children. Deborah has been an SLP for over 26 years and has extensive credentials in her field. She is currently a Ph.D student at the University of South Florida, with her research focus in Language and Literacy.

Deborah is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), Florida Speech-Language Hearing Association (FLASHA) (and is a serving member of the Florida Medicaid Task Force committee), International Dyslexia Association (including the Florida branch) (IDA), Counsel of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), Professional Membership/Certifier: Learning Alley (previously Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFBD).

Deborah is passionate in her advocacy for children with disabilities in the public school system, and works tirelessly to ensure that they receive the educational support that they need.

TAQUAISHA JOHNSON

My name is Taquaisha Johnson. I am Special Education Law and Advocacy’s paralegal, and I am usually your first contact with the firm. I will also be your best resource for continuing contact, relative to the matters which you have with us as we work hard to obtain the best educational services for your child. Always feel free to ask to speak to Alison or any of our staff if you feel that it is necessary. When you do speak with me, I will always try my best to handle your work, deliver your messages, and get feedback to you in a timely manner.

I am a Florida native, born and raised in Ocala, Florida. I have a beautiful daughter and a loving husband. In 2007, I began working with Mr. Kamleiter, serving first as a legal assistant with more than 5 years of experience, and ultimately working my way up to the status of a Certified Paralegal in 2009, with studies done through Penn Foster College. I provide vital services as our paralegal and advocate. Many of the responsibilities include, but are not limited to, direct advocacy, legal case preparation, litigation preparation, file management, office management, scheduling and office communications. As a paralegal, I also work under the Attorney’s supervision in the preparation and filing of Guardianship documents.

Working with Alison, Mark and the Special Education Law and Advocacy’s team has taught me a lot about the importance of obtaining the best educational services for children with disabilities. It is vital that children with disabilities have good legal advocacy, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work directly with families and children as a paralegal, and advocate in the Special Education Law and Advocacy’s office. It will be my pleasure to work with each of you for the better education of your special child or children.