John Copenhaver Portrait

John Copenhaver

Program Director

John D. Copenhaver is a Program Director for the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE),Division of Technical Assitance at the Institute for Disability Research, Policy and Practice at the College of Education at Utah State University. Before coming to Utah State University, Mr. Copenhaver has experience in special education at the school district, state, regional, and national levels.  Mr. Copenhaver has also served as a special education resource teacher, school psychologist, and school district special education director.

John was the Director of the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center (OSEP funded project) He founded the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE) in 2004. In 2001 he created the TASK-12 national project to assess and train school based sign language interpreters. His work at the Technical Assistance Division has involved providing leadership for numerous projects, Centers and activities that span 44 States across the country. He has provided technical assistance and professional development at the school, state, regional, and national levels. Mr. Copenhaver has served on the faculty of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) in providing orienatation for new State special education directors. He has provided training to 25 State Special Education Advisory Panels and Interagency Coordinating Councils(ICC's) across the country. He currently serves on a national workgroup for Panels and ICC's sponsored by the Office of Special Education Programs.

Mr. Copenhaver has produced numerous training materials; been called upon to assist states and school districts in most areas of special education; made numerous conference presentations, and provided technical assistance in the areas of legal issues, special populations, developing effective Individualized Education Programs, due process/mediation, Section 504, procedural safeguards, systems change, strategic planning, State Advisory Panels, assistive technology, extended school year, and numerous other topics. 

Mr. Copenhaver has been with the Institute since 1989. He holds degrees from the University of Montana and University of Utah in Philosophy, Psychology, and Special Education Administration-School Psychology. He has been presented with four major national awards, the Martha J. Fields Excellence Award (NASDSE), the Joleta Reynolds Award (LRP Publications), National Award of Excellence (Bureau of Indian Affairs), and a National Award of Excellence in Special Education (NASDSE). John approaches his work in "keeping the main thing the main thing", children and youth with disabilities.