Skip to main content


The Hawaii CEC is devastated to hear the news of this disaster. Our hearts are with those impacted during this time, especially our HICEC ohana. 


“We have suffered a terrible disaster in the form of a wildfire that has spread widely as a result of hurricane-force winds in the region and underlying drought conditions. Maui and the Big Island both experienced significant fires. Much of Lāhainā on Maui has been destroyed and hundreds of local families have been displaced,” said Governor Josh Green.


Maui Wildfire Relief Fundraiser


Maui Wildfire Relief Fundraiser

Hawaii CEC members have lost everything in the fires and need your help.


In the devastating wildfires that have been occurring on Maui since August 8th, families were forced to flee from their homes, leaving everything behind, many of which lost everything. 


We have dozens of HICEC members who have been potentially impacted as a direct result of the wildfires.


We kindly ask for your support during this difficult time. Help us to achieve sending a minimum of $100 to each impacted member using one of two methods below.


Purchase a shirt


Donate money


About Us

Did you know over 30 HICEC members attended the 2023 Convention & Expo in Louisville, KY?

Hawaii group

Hawaii members flew over 4,300 miles to attend the 2023 Convention & Expo. With the 2023-2024 school year starting, we want to ensue our members have the information early so that you can start the planning process with your school, university, and/or colleagues to attend with us in San Antonio! 

Did you know that Hawaiian Airlines flies direct from Honolulu to San Antonio?

Did you know that CEC offers group registration discounts for 5+ members?

Did you know paraeducators can attend the convention for FREE!?

There’s not just content for special educators at the Convention, and supporting students with special education services takes a team. Learning together enables your whole team to have shared strategies, information and resources to work together effectively. Nearly 20% of our sessions are focused on practices all educators in the building need on topics like collaboration and inclusive practices, family and school partnerships, behavior management, and multi-tiered systems of supports.

If you need assistance in scheduling please contact your president at OR by scheduling an appointment at 

We look forward to attending another informative and inspiring convention & expo! #SanAntonio2024

About CEC

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improve the educational success for children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.

CEC advocates for appropriate policies, sets professional standards, and provides professional development, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice. CEC is known as THE source for information, resources, and professional development for special educators. 

CEC has local Units in all 50 states and Canada, as well as 18 optional Special Interest Divisions focused on a specific topic, specialty area, role, or exceptionality. We also have CEC Student Chapters at hundreds of colleges and universities.

About Hawaii CEC

Teachers and paras in hallway

Who we are:
Hawaii CEC is a vibrant community of professionals, families, students, and community members who strive to change the narrative and support the needs of all. Our board of directors serve within the field of special education in many capacities. Like our diverse membership, the members of our board are parents of children with special needs, special educators, and higher education faculty which allows them to provide perspective from their personal and professional lives. We are 'Ohana

What we do:
Educate and empower children with exceptionalities by providing all Hawaii CEC members with a robust community, abundance of resources, and engaging experiences where they can grow.

Our why:

  1. We believe there is power in community and we are eager to strengthen the connection between those influencing the lives of exceptional children.
  2. We are confident is our ability to advocate for the profession of special education at all stakeholder levels. 
  3. We share the desire to provide equitable and quality learned experiences and support that capitalizes and showcases the strengths and contributions of all.
  4. The field of special education is complex and ever-changing—as special education professionals, we know firsthand that there is a need for educators and family members to have access to resources, updates, tools, and information to support their capacity to make lasting change in the lives of those who matter most to us.

Executive Committee

About the Board of Directors:

Our Board of Directors (BoD) work together to organize events, programs, and professional development opportunities for the member of HICEC. Our board is in regular communication with CEC International to ensure we are bringing the best information and experiences to our state members. We look forward to expanding our BoD to involve new faces and incorporate new ideas and initiatives as we work to change the narrative of special education in Hawai'i. 

Hawaiʻi CECʻs Membership

Hawaiʻi CEC membership consists of all members of the Council for Exceptional Children affiliated with the Hawaiʻi. Membership consists of professional personnel and other persons interested in the education of children and youth with exceptionalities.

Access Hawai'i CEC's Current Bylaws Here

Executive Committee

Past President:

Gloria Niles
Dr. Gloria Niles is an internationally recognized thought leader in neurodivergent and technology-enhanced learning. As a former Chiropractic Neurologist, Special Educator, and higher education faculty member, Dr. Niles is passionate about elevating inclusive, strength-focused, personalized learning experiences through technology-enhanced digital learning. Dr. Niles currently serves as the Director of Online Learning for the University of Hawaiʻi System, facilitating the planning and direction of the university's online and distance learning programs, including all related institutional strategies for online and distance delivery of instruction, and drives the implementation of policies, procedures, and systems necessary to execute the Universityʻs vision and strategies for the statewide UH system composed of 60,000 students, faculty and staff on six islands. Dr. Niles has served as a leader for Hawaiʻi CEC since 2016, and she also served for four years as an inaugural member of the CEC Leadership Development Committee. Contact her at


Derek Govin
Derek Govin

Derek Govin is a former special education teacher where he served students with extensive needs including intellectual disabilities, autism, and multiple disabilities in middle and high school classroom settings for nine years. He is the co-founder and co-coordinator of the SPEDucator Project, and currently working for the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa as the Project Coordinator for Project Equal Access. 

He is passionate about the work of Hawaii CEC and believes in the power of community. He was brought to the work by attending the CEC Convention & Expo in Orlando, Florida in 2022 and has been active on the Hawaii CEC board ever since he joined. Contact him at

President Elect:

Vacant Position  


Lauren Collier
Lauren Collier

Lauren has been a special education teacher at Kaneohe Elementary School since July 2017. She currently teaches a resource and fully self-contained blended model. Before teaching in Hawaii DOE, Lauren was a fellow through the New Teacher Project as a New York City (NYC) Teaching Fellow. In NYC she taught in a specialized DOE school for 5 years as a fully self-contained teacher. She received her Masters in Elementary Education from Pace University and is dual certified in General Education and Special Education. She received her Masters of Education from Columbia University, Teachers College in Curriculum and Leadership with an emphasis on culturally relevant education, specifically disability culture. She has presented professionally for Ablenet University, Columbia University, and 808 Educators on special education strategies and culturally relevant education. You can reach Lauren at


Vacant Position  

CAN Coordinator:

Vacant Position  

Membership Chair:

Vacant Position


Bylaws Chair:

Jessica Ford
Jessica Ford

Jessie Ford is a special education teacher at Molokai High School. She specializes in mild-moderate and teaches English Language Arts 9-12 in both resource and inclusion settings; other content areas where she supports inclusion are Biology and Social Studies. Jessie is passionate about equity and access to learning opportunities for students with disabilities.

HICEC facilitates community for special education in Hawaii. As part of the SPEDucator Project (2020-22), in fellowship with other special education teachers across the state, Jessie grew professionally and personally. Attending the national CEC annual conference in Louisville, KY (March 2023) furthered the inspiration for involvement. Access to community for those involved in special education empowers all of us, because not all stars are found in the sky, and every student deserves someone special. You can reach Jessie at

Awards Chair:

Vacant Position  
Web Chair: Jennibeth Seson
Jennibeth Seson
Jennibeth Seson, a First Grade Special Education Inclusion Teacher and proud mother of four who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s in Elementary Special Education. She became a member of Council of Exceptional Children at University of Hawaii at Manoa back in 2012, serving as a Historian. Her passion lies in fostering an inclusive atmosphere where every learner can thrive. She is excited to spearhead initiatives that leverage technology to advance special education.
Communications Chair: Janet Kim
Janet Kim

Janet Kim is the Assistant Specialist College Recruiter for the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa's College of Education. She has previously taught as a K-2 Special Education Teacher at Pearl Harbor Elementary School on O‘ahu and has spent the last decade committed to filling our classrooms with highly qualified, effective, and dedicated educators.

Her areas of expertise and research include teacher shortages, recruitment and marketing, teacher preparation, adult learning, and nontraditional students. You can contact Dr. Kim at

Professional Development Chair: Dr. Jenny Wells
Dr Jenny Wells
Dr. Jenny Wells is a professor and the former Chair of the Department of Special Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa (UHM). Dr. Wells was previously employed with the Hawaiʻi DOE for 14 years. She has been a classroom teacher, district resource teacher, autism consultation teacher, and a District Educational Specialist for Special Education Programs. Her areas of expertise include: evidence-based practices for students with severe disabilities/ autism, special education teacher preparation, special education law and compliance, online distance learning, and reading. You can contact Dr. Wells at


Volunteer Square

The Hawaii CEC would not exist without our volunteers that power our engines every day. Every volunteer is valued, enriches the organization, makes us more diverse and inclusive, and helps us advance our mission.

CEC has a variety of ways for members to get involved locally and nationally, and through short- and long-term projects. Read more about volunteer opportunities by clicking here, but to get started, complete your volunteer profile. We will make your profile available to Units and Divisions and contact you when projects align with your interests and skills.

Create Profile Here

Last Updated:  4 January, 2024

© 2023 Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). All rights reserved.