Special Education

NWPHS provides a full range of educational service alternatives. All students with disabilities are provided with special instruction and services that are appropriate to their identified educational needs. The State of Minnesota has mandated eligibility criteria for all disabilities; students must have a disability and be in need of special education to be eligible for services. Categories or areas in which students may be identified as eligible for special education services include:

Appropriate program alternatives to meet the special education needs, goals, and objectives of a pupil are determined on an individual basis. Choice of specific program alternatives are based on the student’s current levels of performance, student special education needs, goals, and objectives, and are written in the IEP. NWPHS does not use restrictive procedures such as restraints or seclusion.

NWPHS uses a variety of methods to provide special education services, which may include: instruction by general education teachers in a general education classroom with modifications, accommodations, supplemental services, and indirect services by special education staff; pull-out direct instruction services in a small group/advisory special education resource setting; one-on-one instruction; co-teaching instruction by general education and special education teachers; homebound; and home-based instructional services.  Services are designed by each student’s IEP team to provide a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

NWPHS has a small campus made up of three separate buildings within close proximity to each other. Licensed and non-licensed Special Education staff are assigned to each building.  Related services such as occupational therapy and speech are provided by contracted service providers on-campus or virtually based on the student’s IEP.  NWPHS may provide services at homes, public libraries, on-line/ virtually, or at care & treatment facilities, based on the individual needs of the students per an IEP team decision.

You can learn more about special education at NWPHS by referring to the Northwest Passage High School Total Special Education System (TSES) Manual.  This manual contains information about pre-referral and referral processes, evaluation process, and other special education policies and procedures.


Tammy Pulver (she/her), Special Ed Director

Peter Wieczorek (he/him), Director

Val Miller (she/her), Special Ed Teacher/Coordinator (SLD, EBD, DCD, ASD)

Theresa Boisjolie (she/her), Special Ed Teacher (EBD)

Megan Fredrickson (she/her), Special Ed Teacher (ABS)

Dave Olson (he/him), Special Ed Teacher (SLD/EBD)

Sharon Booth (she/her), Special Ed Teacher (ABS)

Eujeana Hinkle (she/her), Special Ed Teacher (ABS)

Vicki Anderson, (she/her), Audiologist

Heather Schmidt (she/her), Occupational Therapist

Mariah Schoonover (she/her), School Nurse

Bryan May (he/him), Social Worker/ Counseling

Deb Howard (she/her), School Social Worker

Lori McNelis (she/her), Speech/Language Pathologist

Jason Milano (he/him), Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Specialist

Sally Poesch (she/her), Physical/Health Disabilities Teacher

Nina Syverson (she/her), School Psychologist

Carrie Wittenberg (she/her), DAPE

Chloe Bosak (she/her), Paraprofessional

Selena Orduno (she/her), Paraprofessional

Brandi Saba (she/her), Paraprofessional

Mat Goeltl (he/him), Paraprofessional

Jannika Gutzke (she/her), Paraprofessional

Jeana Hill (she/her), Paraprofessional

Taija Hordyk (she/them), Paraprofessional

Jessica Ryan (she/her), Paraprofessional

Meghan Retzlaff (she/her), Paraprofessional


Parents are important members of students’ IEP teams.  While our staff are always happy to answer your questions about the special education process, the parental rights notice is another good resource to help better understand your rights within the special education process, how to proceed when problems arise, and how to make the special education services work for you and your child.  

The parental rights notice, also called the “procedural safeguards,” provides an overview of your parental special education rights and/or the rights of adult students between the ages of 18 and 21 who are their own guardian. Procedural Safeguards Notice: Part B provides an overview of parental rights for parents of children with disabilities ages 3 through 21 under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This document includes relevant citations to applicable state and federal laws. The notice also addresses key rights such as providing informed consent and procedures for disagreeing with the district.

You will want to read the parental rights notice to understand your special education rights. Sometimes there are rights that parents do not know about until it is too late, such as the timeline for objecting to a district’s proposed Individualized Education Program (IEP).

You can contact any of our special education staff and we will be happy to talk to you about your questions. You can also email the Minnesota Department of Education Division of Compliance and Assistance by emailing mde.compliance-assistance@state.mn.us or calling 651-582-8689.  Additional resources and contact information for advocacy services include:

  • Contact our Special Education Director, Tamera Pulver at tapulver@comcast.net or our Special Education Coordinator, Val Miller at vmiller@nwphs.org or 612-564-8873
  • The ARC of Minnesota (advocacy for persons with developmental disabilities); 800-582-5256.
  • Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health; 800-528-4511.
  • Minnesota Disability Law Center; 800-292-4150.

PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights); 800-53-PACER (800-537-2237) or https://www.pacer.org/


“In order to increase the involvement of parents of children with disabilities in district policy making and decision making, school districts must have a special education advisory council that is incorporated into the district’s special education system plan.” MN Stat. 125A.24 (2005)

The purposes of the SEAC is to advise the NWPHS school’s Board of Directors and the school administration about policies and decisions affecting children and youth with disabilities, promote cooperation between NWPHS and families in the education of children and youth with disabilities, support and encourage involvement of families of learners with disabilities in their school and educational programs, and promote an attitude of respect towards all NWPHS learners and an appreciation of their unique differences.

The Council will consist of parents or guardians who represent the school.  The Special Education Coordinator, under the supervision of the Director of Special Education, acts as the administrative liaison between the SEAC, the School Board, and the teaching staff.  This advisory council currently serves only NWPHS. Council members will commit to attend at a minimum one meeting per year.  The NWPHS SEAC meets at a minimum once annually, parents are notified by email and fliers provided during parent-teacher meetings. SEAC meetings are scheduled when possible, on the evening prior to school board meetings. 

Parents with students currently receiving special education services at NWPHS who are interested in participating in the SEAC should contact Val Miller at vmiller@nwphs.org.


  • ROI Forms
  • Scheduling annual IEP meetings with Doodle
  • eSign
  • Guardianship
  • Transportation accommodations
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS)