EDUCATE. ADVOCATE. INSPIRE.
EDUCAR. DEFENSOR. INSPIRAR.
También ofrecemos oportunidades de formación virtual gratuitas para padres de niños con necesidades especiales.
El Southern Center ofrece servicios de defensa de educación general y especial gratuitos y de costo reducido para los cuidadores de estudiantes K-12 en las escuelas públicas.
Edgar Pacheco Jr. serves as both a special education advocate and a parent liaison who shares his skills as our staff interpreter and translator. A native of Brownsville, Texas, Edgar experienced first hand the difficulties faced by students with disabilities in the Valley's public schools.
Undaunted, Edgar ran for a position on the Pearland Independent School District Board of Trustees in the 2020 election and garnered 7511 votes. He has been a delegate to the Texas State Republican Convention and a National Alternate Delegate to the 2020 Republican National Convention.
During the 87th Regular Session of the Texas State Legislature, Edgar whipped the vote for HB 1252 - a bill to extend the statute of limitations for special education complaints in Texas from one year to two years. The Edgar Pacheco Jr. Act was signed in 2021 by the Governor of Texas and became law.
A graduate of Pearland High School the year before the COVID-19 pandemic, Edgar earned his associate’s degree from San Jacinto College in 2021 and is pursuing a BA in Political Science at Houston Baptist University.
Both a committed Christian and a conservative activist, Edgar advocates for students and their parents and amplifies their voices as a way of sharing his faith.
Louis H. Geigerman has been a professional advocate since 1995 when he founded National ARD/IEP Advocates. To meet the needs of college students with disabilities, Louis founded College Disability Advocates in 2016.
Over the years, Louis has logged 7500+ hours in IEP and 504 meetings, 400+ hours in special education mediation and resolution sessions and 500+ hours representing parents in due process hearings. He is a charter member of the national Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA).
In 1995, Louis was trained and certified to serve as a Section 504 Hearing Officer. In 2000, he completed the 40-hour basic mediation training required by the state of Texas for certified mediators.
Louis has shared his knowledge and experience by training and lecturing groups like The ARC of Houston; The Texas State Autism Conference; The Learning Disabilities Association of Fort Bend County; Future Horizons; the Houston Young Lawyers Association and the Northwest Houston Chapter of the Autism Society of America.
His activist legacy includes lobbying efforts for the 2004 reauthorization of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) during the George W. Bush Administration; creation of an annual, endowed series The Benjamin J. Geigerman Lecture at the University Of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, and legislation mandating the installation of cameras in self-contained special needs classrooms in Texas.
In 2020, Louis was named a recipient of COPAA's national 2020 Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Educational Advocacy on behalf of Children with Disabilities.
Louis is the proud father of Benjamin who passed away in July of 2011 and Kayla who works in the marketing division of a major web security company.
As a veteran special education advocate, Patricia Record Freeze helps parents navigate the complexities of the special education process. A member and trainee of the Council of Parents, Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA), Pat was a co-presenter in 2021 for the organization's national conference: From the Trenches: Tips for parents and advocates on the most contentious areas of an IEP meeting and effective strategies for avoiding/addressing points of disagreement. Pat received a Certificate in Special Education Advocacy through William and Mary Law School’s PELE Clinic and follows the COPAA Voluntary Code of Ethics.
Pat earned a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Minor in Psychology from the University of Houston. She attended College of the Mainland’s alternative teacher certification program and focused on English Language Arts and Reading, (Grades 4-8). She worked as a litigation paralegal for many years before becoming a full-time special education advocate in 2014 and is an associate member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
What parents say about Pat:
We tried hopelessly to navigate a complex system, only to be told there were simply no services or programming available to assist our son's educational challenges. From the first moment we contacted [Pat], we knew that we had someone that deeply cared for children, family and the community . . . she advocated to ensure our son received a specialized IEP and that the District acknowledged his needs. Her strength and professional determination have been a blessing to my family when we needed help the most. (Doug A.)
[Pat] is a very professional advocate who worked tirelessly for our children. The school district was happy to work with [Pat] and find common ground in meeting the educational needs of my children. For years we had tried working with the school district on our own with little real success . . . In the course of a few meetings, things turned completely around for the better for all parties. (Tony T.)