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Mission Statement: District 88 mission: To work for the continuous improvement of student achievement. Through that mission, District 88 schools have been named as Top Schools in America by Newsweek and the Washington Post.


SASED thanks retiring Executive Director for years of service, names new leader

Pictured is Dr. Michael Volpe, Executive Director of The School Association for Special Education in DuPage County (SASED). Volpe will retire in June 2019, after nearly 30 years of service with SASED.

Pictured is Dr. Melinda (Mindy) McGuffin, who will succeed Dr. Michael Volpe as Executive Director of The School Association for Special Education in DuPage County (SASED), effective July 1, 2019.

For as long as he can remember, Dr. Michael Volpe has had a passion for education.

He grew up watching his father work as a special education teacher and administrator and strived to follow a similar path. He brought that dream to fruition and is now set to retire in June 2019, after nearly 40 years in the special education field.

Dr. Volpe has served in a variety of capacities throughout his career, including school psychologist and special education administrator. It is with mixed emotions that he leaves his current role as Executive Director of The School Association for Special Education in DuPage County (SASED), a position he has held for 13 years. SASED is one of the oldest and largest cooperatives in Illinois, serving about 500 students who have special needs. The organization provides special education and support services to its 18 member public school districts in DuPage County and also acts as the operating and fiscal agent for the DuPage/West Cook regional association, providing low-incidence programming (classrooms and diagnostic services for the deaf and hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired and students with severe physical impairments) for another 76 school districts in the catchment area.

District 88 is a SASED member district, and more than 40 students at Addison Trail and Willowbrook benefit from the organization’s services. A program for students with visual impairments is provided at Addison Trail, and a program for students with multiple disabilities and hearing impairments is offered at Willowbrook. Occupational and physical therapy services also take place in the district.

“I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to have led this organization,” Dr. Volpe said. “I’m certainly sad to leave, but I know it’s in good hands.”

Dr. Volpe has worked hard to leave a legacy of student-centered programs and initiatives that improve the educational environment for all pupils. He said what makes SASED unique is the organization’s attention to data, assessments and instructional work to monitor student progress and growth.

“What makes SASED stand out is our culture – what we do here is kid-focused,” Dr. Volpe said. “It’s amazing how high we set the bar for staff and kids – and they continue to exceed our expectations.”

Dr. Volpe received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and his Master of Science degree in School Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University. He received his master’s degree in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University, where he also completed an Ed.S. program and earned his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.

Dr. Volpe began his career with the Kanawha County Schools in Charleston, West Virginia. He later moved to Illinois, where he worked for one year with SMA in their Therapeutic School before joining SASED as a school psychologist in 1989. He moved on to become an administrator in 1995 and was named as Executive Director in 2006. Dr. Volpe has a deep understanding of special education law and procedures and has served as an Illinois Level One Due Process Hearing Officer. He also has served on the Board of Directors for community service agencies in Connecticut, West Virginia and Illinois and recently completed a nine-year term as a Board Member for Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley. Dr. Volpe has worked as an adjunct professor in the Department of Special Education at Lewis University and Aurora University as well. He has made professional presentations on a variety of topics, including early childhood diagnostics and Response to Intervention.

As Dr. Volpe reflects on his nearly three decades with SASED, he is proud of the work the team has accomplished. He lists expanding programming, improving instruction and assessment and developing a strategic plan to be proactive and stay ahead of legislation as highlights of his tenure.

“I’ve been fortunate to implement, build and maintain a great leadership team and cabinet,” Dr. Volpe said. “The staff members truly make SASED a success.”

And he knows that legacy will continue with SASED’s new Executive Director. He was thrilled when during its Nov. 7 meeting, the SASED Governing Board unanimously named Dr. Melinda (Mindy) McGuffin as the organization’s new leader, effective July 1, 2019. Dr. McGuffin’s hiring is the first step in the transition process to replace Dr. Volpe and Business Director Sam Cannata, who also will retire in June 2019.

“Dr. McGuffin’s background, experience and enthusiasm make her a great fit for this position,” Dr. Volpe said. “Our stakeholders wanted someone with teaching experience, and I’m excited for Dr. McGuffin to share her expertise in that area.”

Board of Control Chairperson Dr. John Correll (Salt Creek School District 48 Superintendent) and Governing Board Chairperson Kathe Doremus (Community High School District 94 Board of Education Member) agreed.

“Dr. McGuffin brings a wealth of knowledge regarding the educational needs of our unique student population,” they said. “Combined with her substantial experience in a special education cooperative, she has the skill set to carry out the mission of SASED. We are very pleased to have found a candidate so able to provide continuity to the vision that has been established and built upon during Dr. Volpe’s tenure.”

Dr. McGuffin’s contract is for three years, and she will work with Dr. Volpe and SASED administration to ensure a smooth transition.

“I'm very impressed with SASED’s philosophy and dedication to providing the highest level of service to each student,” Dr. McGuffin said. “As I take on this new position, it is my goal to continue the great tradition of quality in every aspect of the organization.”

She added she is excited to contribute to maximizing student outcomes through collaboration and focused efforts.

“Some of the challenges we face also can be interpreted as an opportunity,” Dr. McGuffin said. “I will dedicate time to get to know each member district and collaborate with all superintendents to continue to provide great service and explore new ways to support our students.”

For the past six years, Dr. McGuffin has served as Executive Director of the Leyden Area Special Education Cooperative. Previously, she was the first Director of Special Education for Leyden High School District 212, the Coordinator of Student Services for Aptakisic-Tripp School District 102, an Inclusion Facilitator for Woodridge School District 68 and an Intervention Team Member at Indian Prairie School District 204. Earlier in her career, she was a special education teacher at various grade levels.

Dr. McGuffin obtained her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Aurora University and her Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from North Central College. She also has a Master of Science degree in Special Education. She has a Director of Special Education endorsement, a Superintendent endorsement and a CSBO endorsement, and her licenses include Administrative Type 75, Type 03 and 09, along with approvals in early childhood and career and technical coordinator.

“SASED has an outstanding reputation for providing leadership in special education,” Dr. McGuffin said. “The organization lives its vision, and the students benefit greatly from the diversified services and supports. SASED will continue to be an innovative leader in the field of special education by creating and implementing best practices in education for all.”

For more information about SASED, go to www.sased.org.

DuPage High School District 88
2 Friendship Plaza Addison, IL 60101
Phone: 630-530-3981 Fax: 630-832-0198
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