Lauren Katzman is deeply committed to advancing systemic changes in K–12 education to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. She has extensive expertise in whole-school reform, evidence-based practices in special education, and strategies to sustain effective inclusive urban schools. Her work has a special emphasis on engaging diverse stakeholders—policy-makers, researchers, and practitioners—in working together to implement cohesive practices that positively affect students with disabilities. To all of her work, she brings a focus on deeply-rooted challenges to equitable education such as enduring linkages between disability and dropout, segregation of students with disabilities, and overrepresentation of students of color in special education.
Katzman is the Executive Director of EDC’s Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative, a national network of 100 school districts committed to improving educational outcomes and life opportunities for students with disabilities in urban schools. In this capacity, she heads up strategic efforts to foster the leadership development of urban school district administrators in general and special education and ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need to enhance systems, programs, and services for students with disabilities and their families.
To advance the field’s knowledge of inclusive education, Katzman has, with Tom Hehir, the former Director of the Federal Office of Special Education Programs, conducted special education program evaluations including New York City Public Schools and the District of Columbia. She has co-authored the book Effective Inclusive Schools: Designing Successful School-wide Programs, co-edited the book Special Education for A New Century, and written articles that have appeared in Harvard Educational Review and Teachers College Record. She is also the author of the chapter “High-Stakes Testing” in The Praeger Handbook of Special Education. She presents her findings at the annual conferences of organizations such as the American Educational Research Association, Division of International Special Education and Services, and Council of Exceptional Children.
Prior to joining EDC, Katzman served as the Assistant to the Superintendent for Special Education in the Newark Public Schools and was the Executive Director of Special Education (Division of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners) for the New York City Department of Education. In both districts, she developed and implemented reform efforts with high expectations for students and a vision of inclusion and special education as a service, not a place. She was also an Associate Professor at Boston University, where she developed and taught special education courses for students majoring in special education, general education, educational administration, social work, and law. She taught for 14 years as a special education teacher, starting in self-contained classes and schools and ending with the development of New York City’s first inclusive middle school.
Katzman holds a BA in Special and Elementary Education from Washington University (St. Louis, MO) and an MS in Special Education from Bank Street Teacher’s College. She obtained an EdM and an EdD in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.