The Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System helps parents and schools work together to resolve disputes about special education.
We do not provide legal advice or advocacy for either parents or districts, and we do not mediate 504 plan disputes.

William C. Houlihan, Madison, WI

Name: William (Bill) C. Houlihan

Location: Madison, Wisconsin (statewide availability)

Current Position: Supervising Attorney, Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. Over the last 37 years, I have mediated and arbitrated labor disputes including disputes between administration and the teacher’s union in school districts.  I have worked with well over 3,000 cases during that time.

Special Education Experience: I mediated the effort by people from many different groups to successfully rewrite Chapter 115 as it relates to special education. I mediated the class action lawsuit about the delivery of special education involving the Milwaukee Public Schools, the Department of Public Instruction, and Disability Rights Wisconsin, a parent advocacy agency. In 2011, I completed the 5-day Special Education Mediator Training through the WSEMS program, and I have attended the annual training programs every year since.

Special Education Mediation Perspective:  I have always used a consensus building, problem solving approach to mediation. Listening is a critical component of the dispute resolution process. I do not believe the parties can work toward lasting solutions until each participant has been heard, and their ideas and perspectives understood.  Effective mediation is a process by which parties can explore and achieve positive outcomes that are not otherwise available through formal hearing and complaint proceedings.

Education:  Bachelor of Arts, State University of New York, Oswego, New York; Master’s of Science (Industrial Relations) University of Wisconsin – Madison;  Juris Doctorate (Law Degree), University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Disclosure: My wife, Mary Gerbig, is a shareholder in the law firm of Davis & Kuelthau. Her practice includes representing a number of school districts, on a variety of matters, including special education issues.

Confidentiality: I maintain the strict confidentiality of the parties in all cases.