WHO WE ARE
The Special Education Advocacy Group is the culmination of Laura Kimpton’s life-long passion for supporting children with exceptional needs and their families. As the daughter of a special education teacher in England, Laura experienced at a young age the incredible rewards of helping students with learning differences. Laura’s personal connection to this powerful work deepened when her Godson was born with Down Syndrome, and again when her own children developed dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. Laura educated herself on these disabilities and home-schooled her children in order to provide the intensive support they needed.
With their foundational skills established, Laura enrolled her children in public school where she once again saw the enormous need for skilled, passionate support for students with disabilities. Laura returned to school herself, obtaining a special education teaching credential so that she could support other children and families with a higher level of expertise. She began teaching as an educational specialist for an intensive-needs classroom, and within her first year won an Excellence in Teaching award. Laura’s classroom served as the model classroom for the country based on curriculum she implemented and taught.
To be able to support a broader scope of students and families, Laura earned her administrative credential and a Masters’ degree in Academic Leadership and Administration. She transitioned to the role of Special Education Program Supervisor, in which she used her educational and administrative skills to advocate for students with disabilities and the supports they need, in two large unified school districts.
Ultimately, to even more effectively support children and families, Laura began working directly for families as a special education advocate. She worked closely with Renee Lamborn at Lamborn Advocacy until Renee’s retirement in 2021. Laura then acquired Special Education Advocacy Group, where she now works tirelessly to ensure that her clients are receiving all the supports and services necessary to be successful in school.
Having supported students with exceptional needs as a parent, teacher, administrator and advocate across the San Francisco Bay Area, Laura is able to effectively collaborate with teachers and administrators to achieve the best possible programs for her clients. She uses her extensive knowledge of services, supports, goal writing, accommodations, alternative placements, inclusion and assessment to foster success for children with a wide variety of needs.
When not working, Laura enjoys spending time with her children, of whom she is amazingly proud, and travelling with her fiancé. As the children get older, Laura is also able to spend more time in her garden with her assortment of animals.
Mr. Gary founded the Special Education Advocacy Group in 2014 to serve a growing need for advocacy services in the East Bay and Tri-Valley areas. Mr. Gary entered the special education world almost 15 years ago as parent, and has been intimately involved with it ever since, both personally and professionally.
Mr. Gary began supporting families of children with special needs as a member of a ground-breaking PTA Special Needs Committee, eventually receiving the PTA’s most prestigious honorary service award, the Golden Oak Service Award for individuals making significant contributions to the welfare of children and youth in a community. Mr. Gary was asked to help guide and improve special education in his district alongside staff as a parent member of a Special Education Steering Committee. He eventually served on a small panel of parents and staff tasked with a year-long process of redesigning the district’s special education processes and procedures to better support both families and staff. Mr. Gary helped his local district become a single-district SELPA, and has served as Chair of its Special Education Community Advisory Committee on and off since 2006.
Mr. Gary eventually served professionally as a full-time Special Needs Liaison for six years, supporting families and staff at 35 schools with a population of 32,000 students. In addition to training both staff and families, he acted as an independent neutral and facilitator to resolve all manner of disputes regarding special education and special needs. He has attended over 700 IEP and 504 meetings (although he isn’t counting anymore), and has supported nearly as many families on their individual special education journeys.
Mr. Gary has presented countless parent and staff education workshops on topics regarding special needs, including the IEP process, 504 Plans, IEP goals, effective communication, helping struggling children, fostering independence in children with special needs, alternative dispute resolution, successful collaboration, accommodating students with special needs in the general education classroom, and more. Mr. Gary remains sought after by both parent groups and school districts for such presentations.
Mr. Gary is the father of two remarkable young men, of whom he is very proud, and a lucky husband of an amazing woman. He is a scout leader, a SRVHS mountain bike team ride leader, and loves to ski, snow board, cycle, sail, camp, backpack, and do just about anything outdoors – especially barbecue.