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.

Susan D. Mainzer, Minneapolis, MN


Name: Susan D. Mainzer

Location: Available throughout Wisconsin


  • Law Degree (JD) and Bachelor of Arts, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Special Education Mediation & IEP Facilitation Training – WSEMS/Marquette University.
  • Participated in and presented hundreds of hours of mediation classes.

Current Positions: Mediator, Coach, Trainer & Organization Consultant

Past Positions:

  • Private Practice Mediator for more than 20 years
  • Special Education Mediator in Wisconsin (WSEMS)since panel’s inception in 1999
  • Minnesota’s Special Education Mediation panel for over ten years
  • Mediation trainer and instructor in classes on communication, conflict management and creative problem solving to business staff and families.
  • Adjunct Professor, Conflict Studies, MBA – Hamline University
  • Life Coach – help people meet work and personal goals
  • Trainer, Facilitator and Workplace Consultant, Human Resources Department, Metropolitan Council, St. Paul, MN

Mediation Experience:

  • Community Mediator: Disputes between upset neighbors, landlords and tenants, police and citizens. (1984-Present)
  • Divorce Mediator: Financial and parenting decisions; communication and high emotion disputes; diversity issues.(1986-Present)
  • Workplace Disputes: Employer – employee, as well as employee-employee disputes that arise in the workplace environment.(1988-Present)
  • Personal Injury Mediation: Settlement negotiations with attorneys, insurance representatives and injured people. (1990-Present)
  • Farm Mediation: Disputes involving farmers and lenders in Wisconsin. (1993-Present)
  • Special Education Mediation: Issues related to the provision of special education services. (1999- present)

Philosophy: I believe in creating a safe environment for people to talk honestly and communicate effectively with each other. I encourage everyone to listen deeply and to be open to new ideas. I find that often people come up with creative resolutions that surprise each other. In working as a team, people can create durable, doable, agreements. Oftentimes, stronger relationships can occur or be rebuilt. It’s my pleasure to be a witness to the hard work done in mediation.

    Contact WSEMS

    888-298-3857 (Toll Free Voice)
    608-283-9106 (Fax)

    PO Box 829
    Madison WI 53701-0829