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Application for New York State Education Department Certification as a Special Education Impartial Hearing Officer (IHO)

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking applications from individuals to serve the New York City region as special education impartial hearing officers (IHOs) in the administration of special education impartial due process hearings for students with disabilities, 3-21 years of age, pursuant to section 200.1(x) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has established due process procedures for use when a parent and a school district disagree about the identification, evaluation, educational placement or the provision of a free appropriate public education for a student with a disability.  Such disagreements may be resolved through an impartial hearing, a formal method in which the parties present and refute evidence before an IHO who renders a written decision.

IHOs are certified and trained by NYSED and appointed to impartial hearing cases by school districts through a rotational selection process.  School districts are required to compensate IHOs for prehearing, hearing and post-hearing activities, including decision writing.


Applications will be accepted from individuals who are able to serve in an impartial capacity; are admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York and are currently in good standing; have a minimum of two years practice and/or experience in the areas of education, special education, disability rights or civil rights, and experience in conducting or participating in administrative hearings; are not now, and have not been officers, employees or agents of a New York State school district or a board of cooperative educational services of which such school district is a component for a period of at least two years; are not an employee of the New York State Education Department; and do not have a personal or professional interest which would conflict with his or her objectivity in a special education due process impartial hearing.  Preference will be given to individuals who have judicial experience (judicial roles and decision drafting).

Applicants must possess knowledge of, and the ability to understand, the provisions of federal and State law and regulations pertaining to IDEA and legal interpretations of such law and regulations by federal and State courts; possess knowledge of, and the ability to conduct hearings in accordance with appropriate standard legal practice and to render and write decisions in accordance with appropriate standard legal practice; have access to the support (e.g., legal research materials such as Westlaw or Lexis) and equipment (e.g., phone with voice mail, current computer with updated software, printer, etc.)  necessary to perform the duties of an IHO and be available to administer due process hearings in New York City in a timely manner.

Selection Process:

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, however, to be considered for participation in the upcoming certification training scheduled for April 19-23, 2021, applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 12, 2021.  Candidates will be selected from the applications received and will be provided additional details on the scope of the work and training requirements.  Selected candidates must commit to a training program, date and presentation method to be determined, for which continuing legal education (CLE) units may be provided at the discretion of the training entity.  Selected candidates must also participate in a virtual interview.

To Apply:

Interested individuals should submit the following:

  1. A cover letter identifying:
    • Your qualifications;
    • Your eligibility; and
    • Why you are interested in becoming an IHO
  2. A completed application: Application for Special Education Impartial Hearing Officer Certification
  3. A current legal writing sample that has been submitted as part of a legal proceeding or sample decision (properly redacted) demonstrating the ability to render and write in accordance with appropriate standard, legal practice.  The sample must be an authored decision, brief or memorandum on one or more dispositive issues in a contested case.   The applicant must be the sole author of the written materials.  If the applicant is not the sole author, the applicant must specify what portions of the written materials are solely attributable to the applicant and explain whether and to what extent the co-author(s) edited those portions that the applicant claims for him/herself.
  4. A current resume.  A resume will not substitute for a fully completed application.  Applications submitted with “see resume” under education and/or work experience will not be accepted.
  5. Three professional references including one written reference or letter of recommendation. References should include contact information, relationship to applicant and description of work provided.

The cover letter, completed application, current writing sample and current resume must be submitted together as a packet by email not later than 5:00 p.m.  on March 12, 2021 to the following email address:

SUBJECT LINE: Impartial Hearing Officer Search

Questions may be directed to the Office of Special Education Due Process Unit at (518) 473-0170.