James Sands, Dubuque, IA

James Sands Portrait

Name:  James P. Sands

Location: Dubuque, Iowa – Available Statewide in Wisconsin


  • Education Specialist (Education Administration), Western Illinois University;
  • Master of Science (Special Education), University of Northern Iowa;
  • Bachelor of Science (Special Education), University of Dubuque.

Mediation and IEP Facilitation Training:

  • Mediation Training Program, Certificate of Completion, Institute of Conflict Studies,Cardinal Stritch Un iversity, Milwaukee, Wisconsin;
  • Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System, 5-Day Intensive;
  • IEP Facilitation, 5 Week Intensive, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana;
  • Mediation and Group Conference Training, Certificate of Completion, Northeast Iowa Community College, Dubuque, Iowa;
  • Restorative Justice Mediation Training, Tippecanoe County Youth Services, Lafayette, Indiana.

Current Position:

Private practice mediator

Past Positions:

  • Mediator, and Facilitator, Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA, Dubuque, Iowa;
  • IEP Facilitator, Indiana School Districts;
  • Director of Special Education, Greater Lafayette Area Special Services, Lafayette, Indiana;
  • Assistant Director of Special Education, School City of Hammond, Hammond, Indiana;
  • Supervisor of Instruction, Arrowhead Area Education Agency, Fort Dodge, Iowa;
  • Special Education Consultant, Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, Bettendorf, Iowa;
  • Special Education Teacher and Transition Specialist, Dubuque Community Schools, Dubuque, Iowa;
  • University Professor, Taught Special Education Courses in Legal Issues, Collaboration, Assessment, Emotional Disabilities, Mild Disabilities, Learning Disabilities, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana;
  • University Professor, Teaching Courses in Mild Disabilities, Emotional Disabilities, and Learning Disabilities, Indiana University Northwest, Gary, Indiana

Mediation/Facilitation/Special Education Experience:

  • Mediator and key participant in many mediations on issues of eligibility, early childhood, extended school year, discipline, related services, autism interventions, assistive technology, least restrictive environment, residential placement, and IEP accommodations
  • Experienced a high percentage of positive mediation sessions with written agreements
  • Served as Restorative Justice Mediator on issues of school trespassing, disorderly conduct, gender, and assault
  • Consultant to local school districts on Section 504 Policies and Procedures
  • Past President, Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities
  • Past President, Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education
  • Trainer of special education teachers and related services staff on the IEP, and state and federal regulations
  • Presenter to teachers and administrators on ways to avoid special complaints and hearings;
  • Co-Presenter with attorney on meeting the needs students with physical and health related needs;
  • Co-Presenter with parent representatives on school and family collaboration to teachers and parents;
  • Presenter to over 2000 general education teachers on responsibilities with the individual education plan, and behavior intervention plan;
  • Co-Presenter on TEACCH model for student with autism, Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) conference;
  • Co-Presenter on TEACCH model and best practices for students with autism, Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education (ICASE);
  • Co-Presenter on Transition Service for secondary students at state and national level
  • Direct services provider using TEACCH, ABA, and researched based Social Skill programs;
  • Direct service provider using researched based reading, written expression, and math programs;
  • Co-Presenter on Providing Mental Health Services in school settings at state and national level;
  • Co-Author, Social Skills Curriculum;
  • Co-Author, Instructional Strategies for Education Students with Disabilities in Regular Education;
  • Chrystal Apple Award Recipient, Purdue University for promoting partnerships between public schools and universities in the area of assistive technology and augmentative alternative communication;
  • Established rural Behavior Intervention Services (BIS) model, Fort Dodge, Iowa;
  • Established Integrated Early Childhood Programs, Lafayette, Indiana
  • Established Secondary Community Transition Model for 18-21 year old students, Lafayette, Indiana
  • Established and implemented Transition Alliance Program (TAP) vocational training model serving 18-24 year old individuals with disabilities, Dubuque, Iowa
  • Recognized in Indiana by schools and parents in resolving issues of disagreement and decreased litigation

Perspectives on Special Education Mediation/Facilitation (I will):

  • Actively listen to both parties and remain neutral
  • Create a safe and confidential place where parties can explain their positions
  • Guide both parties to remain focused on the student
  • Promote open communication and collaboration between families and districts
  • Support both parties as they work towards solutions in reaching agreement