Women in an audience raising their hands

A SEPAC needs a few interested parents to take the lead in getting a parent group organized. Consider stepping up to the plate and running for a SEPAC position or ask a friend to share a role.  MassPAC is here to help.

MassPAC New SEPAC Officer Orientation 
MassPAC provides virtual leadership training for MassPAC member SEPAC leaders. Guidance on effective practices can be found in our new officer orientation – Welcome to SEPAC Leadership!

SEPAC Summer School: A 10-week summer training held in the evening on zoom.  These sessions are geared for current SEPAC officers, as well as parents interested in learning more about SEPACs and leadership.  Basic structures of a SEPAC will be discussed: mission statement, by-laws, advisory role, fund raising guidelines and family engagement.  The hour long sessions begin with a 20-30 minute presentation and are followed by Q&A or breakout room discussions. Check out the recordings on Youtube: 2020  SEPAC Summer School and 2021 SEPAC Summer School.

Role of SEPAC Leaders
SEPAC leaders play an important role in governing the SEPAC:

  1. They must maintain focus and keep meetings from going off on tangents or getting stuck on one issue. The chair helps the SEPAC stick to the agenda!
  2. A leader allows discussion to get more information on a problem before offering a solution, allowing people to express and discuss ideas, while keeping order.
  3. A leader plans for controversy and conflict – keeping criticism aimed at ideas, not people.
  4. A leader helps members reach consensus, asking questions that will encourage understanding of differing positions.
  5. A leader involves more people in decision-making – make involvement real.
  6. A leader makes meetings productive and fun – good meeting produce results and momentum.

What makes a Good Leader?
Effective SEPAC officers exhibit many of the following key skills:

  • effective listening
  • good communication skills (written and oral)
  • negotiating skills
  • diplomacy and tact
  • effective time management
  • organizational skills, and
  • comfort in delegating responsibilities.

Remember, leaders are made, not born and all of these skills can be learned or shared between different officers. If your actions inspire others to learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader!

Additional MassPAC leadership recordings can be found on the Federation’s YouTube channel

Parent Consultant Training Institute (PCTI)
SEPAC leaders wanting to gain more insight into the special education process can take a more intensive training session provided by the Parent Training and Information Institute at the Federation. This is an eight session, fee-based workshop offered through the PTI Center at the Federation.

A.P.P.L.E. Institute- Advancing Parent/Professional Leadership in Education
Free 2-day Leadership Training for SEPACs and Administrators of Special Education


Advocacy in Action – National SEPAC Guide

STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS A Framework for Prenatal through Young Adulthood Family Engagement in Massachusetts

Guidance For Special Education Parent Advisory Councils