William Paterson University Professor Pamela Brillante Appointed to New Jersey Special Education Advisory Council

Pamela Brillante, a professor of special education and disability studies at William Paterson University in Wayne, has been appointed to the New Jersey Special Education Advisory Council.

The council, established by the New Jersey Department of Education and required under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, provides policy guidance on special education and related services for children with disabilities in New Jersey. Members are appointed for a minimum two-year term with can be renewed for a maximum of three terms. 

The panel is comprised of individuals involved in, or concerned with, the education of children with disabilities, including parents, individuals with disabilities, state and local education officials, and representatives of state agencies. Brillante will be the only member of the advisory panel representing New Jersey institutions of higher education that prepare special education and related services personnel.

“It is important for faculty from higher education institutions like William Paterson University to be active members of an important group like this in order to advise the New Jersey Department of Education about unmet needs in the education of children with disabilities within the state, as well as effectively prepare teachers and leaders to meet these needs,” says Brillante. 

Brillante, who is a specialist in disability studies and early childhood special education, developed William Paterson’s bachelor’s degree in disability studies. The first in New Jersey and one of the first few in the country, the program is designed to meet the growing demand across all industries for professionals who understand the needs of those with disabilities. The program proactively explores the nature and meaning of disability as a social construct instead of a medical deficit, and examines laws, policies, culture and history as a way to de-stigmatize disease, illness, and impairment across all areas of society.

A former public school early childhood special education teacher and administrator, Brillante has served as a county supervisor of child study teams and an education program development specialist for the New Jersey Department of Education. She continues to work with public schools across New Jersey to develop high-quality, inclusive early childhood programs. She is the author of The Essentials of Supporting Young Children with Disabilities in the Classroom, and Universal Design for Learning for Early Childhood Education, as well as numerous other book chapters, journal articles and presentations.

Brillante is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Council for Exceptional Children. A graduate of William Paterson University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education, Brillante holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Rowan University. She is a resident of Wayne.