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.

Beverly Gladney, Statewide

Picture of Beverly Gladney

Name: Beverly Gladney

Location: Statewide

Perspective on Mediation/Facilitation:

Sometimes the plan for a student’s successful progress does not work as expected and there may be disagreements. When school districts and families (or ‘parties’ as we call them in mediation) disagree, mediation can be helpful for them to talk about these disagreements and search for solutions together.

Mediation can give parties a chance to talk about their disagreements, while focusing on the needs of the student and working together to resolve the issues. Mediation is also a place to explore new ideas, plans, and solutions that can better serve the student.

As a mediator, I will try to:

  • Make sure everyone has an opportunity to be a part of the mediation process.
  • Help each person tell his or her story without interruption.
  • Help each person understand the other’s point of view.
  • Provide and acknowledge the parties’ right to disagree respectfully.

When we get a complete picture of all the issues:

  • All parties (school district and family) can suggest solutions, including the unique ones.
  • All parties decide whether the suggested solutions are possible to work for, and support the needs of, the student, the family, and the school.
  • All parties can help write down all the agreed upon solutions, how they will be implemented, who is responsible for them, and all parties receive a copy.

Perspective Regarding Mediation/Facilitation:

As a mediator, I do not tell you what to do, to think, or to agree with in the process. That is up to you. I am present to help all parties express their concerns and to keep the focus on the real issue: what is best for the student; that means the stakes are high. Parties have concerns to put on the table. Disagreements need to be understood and talked about to attempt to resolve. The most important way of achieving these goals is through open communication. One of the most helpful pieces of the process is the confidential rules (you can read more about this on our website at www.wsems.us) – allowing parties to speak freely.

I encourage and help families and schools move through the steps of the process so that they make decisions that are well informed, and work through some roadblocks, if needed. When the parties are focused on the best interests of what is best for the student, they can feel less like adversaries and more like team members. The end result can be a mediation agreement that addresses the concerns of the parties and gives the student the tools to progress.

Education and Training:

  • Bachelor of Science degree, Broadcast Journalism, University of Tennessee, 1983
  • Former anchor/reporter, WITI-TV/Fox6 News in Milwaukee
  • Master’s of Dispute Resolution, Marquette University, 2016, including study of mediation styles, communication and resolution strategies and relationship repair
  • Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System (WSEMS), 40-hour training, 2017
  • Mediator, Kenosha County Small Claims Court

Current Positions

  • Advisory Board Member, Institute of Conflict Studies at Cardinal Stritch University
  • Co-founder of a public relations firm