William C. Houlihan, Madison, WI

Name: William (Bill) C. Houlihan

Location: Madison, Wisconsin (statewide availability) – Mediation Only

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.