Team Biographies

Team Biographies

Biographies of Professional Staff

Mark C. Francis, ED.S.- Owner/CEO

CEO Mark FrancisMark Francis began his career as a Special Educator in 1986. He has worked in a variety of school districts as a School Social Worker, Special Education Supervisor and a Special Education Director.

In 2003, Mark Francis was honored for his career work in the field of Special Education by the Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education (MAASE). As the state of Michigan closed their state institutions, Mark worked with his team to develop new programs that would meet the extreme needs of Michigan's and Oakland County's most challenging students. He was the Principal of Oakland County's largest center program for 9 years. He was the first Native American to receive this award in the State of Michigan.

Mark served as the Director of Special Education for a large urban county that included the city of Detroit. He also served as the Director of Special Education for a small rural county in southwest Michigan. In his work with Michigan's largest county, not only did he help develop policy, he oversaw the educational needs of over 48,000 students with special needs. He has served on a variety of local, state and national boards, committees and task forces. This would include President for the State of Michigan's Council for Exceptional Children (CEC); the Board for National CEC's Division for Autism and Developmental Disabilities; Executive Board member (Past-President) for the Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES); Member of the American Indian Caucus; MAASE's Framework for the Future which worked on developing recommendations for new state rules and many other local and state committees. He has been interviewed numerous times by Detroit area newspapers and Education Weekly on various issues in Special Education. He was also interviewed on National Radio in Jamacia during a conference in which he was the Keynote Speaker.

In 2009 Mark incorporated FYI-CSI, llc to begin the second phase of his career to the support of student's with disabilities. Over the years FYI-CSI has grown from a one person operation to a company with many employees and consultant with the single belief that all students can and have the right to learn.

Mark has worked with the Bureau of Indian Education; the governments of Tobago and Jamaica; agencies in Kuwait and universities in South Africa, the United States and Ireland. He has been a Key Note or Featured Speaker in countries such as Poland, Jamaica and South Africa. Plus he has presented in Portugal, Bulgaria and across the United States. Mark developed the first English speaking conference for Children with Disabilities in Havana Cuba in 2016.

Besides his work with FYI-CSI, Mark served as the Executive Director of the Midwest Region for Futures Education of Springfield and Senior Consultant for Winsor Learning. Winsor Learning works with districts in a systematic approach to adding Para-professionals and than a step down plan when a student has achieved their goals.

When in the country, Mark consults with districts across the country in analyzing the effectiveness and efficiencies of their special education programs. He also works with districts in assessing the current use and needs of paraprofessionals. He had a two year contract with Ferris State University to provide Special Education Analysis for all 20 of their current Charter Schools.

When in the country, Mark consults with districts across the country in analyzing the effectiveness and efficiencies of their special education programs. He also works with districts in assessing the current use and needs of para-professionals. He is has a two year contract with Ferris State University to provide Special Education Analysis for all 20 of their current Charter Schools.

Mark has testified before Congress in the State of Michigan's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). He is also active with local, state and national politics as it impacts education.

Mark has testified before Congress in the State of Michigan's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). He is also active with local, state and national politics as it impacts education.

Mark is an active member of National CEC and the current Past-President of the Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES) and believes that all students can learn. Systems need to be established that are "Student-Centered" and not "Adult-Centered". He also supports the United Nations treaty (CRPD) that supports inclusive education for all students around the world.

"We are excited to travel the world to share with others and at the same time learn. We have so much to share in helping kids learn everywhere."

Contact Mark Francis for more information regarding special education world wide.

Marcia Young- President FYI-CSI

Marcia Young Bio Marcia Young is a consultant, educator, and trainer. She holds an Administrative certificate from Loyola University, Chicago as well as a master’s degree in special education from Northeastern Illinois University.

Marcia has served as a Director of Special Education/Student Services for Clawson School District in Michigan. She oversaw all activities for students with special education learning needs. At the time she worked with Clawson, she supervised a county-wide program for students with severe autism. She secured a grant from the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education, a multi-university program. As a result, the district served as a model site to assist children with ASD by promoting evidence-based practices for early identification, intervention, and education that produce optimal child and family outcomes. Prior to Clawson, she worked as a Special Education Supervisor for Waterford School District in Michigan. Here, she designed and implemented their district programs for students with autism as well as supervising low incidence programs in inclusive settings all secondary special education programs.

Marcia has been the recipient of several awards for her work in Special Education which include the following: Greg Gwisdalla Award – issued by Special Education Administrators of Oakland County presented to an individual who has made signific contributions on behalf of special education with commitment to quality service, integrity, diverse involvement in the County and in the State of Michigan.

Excellence in Education Nominee – issued by the Oakland Press and Oakland Schools for excellence in education for the PEER LINK Program, a program that links students in ASD Programs with their peers. SESOM Beacon Award – issued by Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education Supervisors for work done in the field of Special Education to support students.



Dr. Alice M Farling- Senior Consultant

Dr. Alice Farling is an international consultant, educator, and trainer. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Vanderbilt University as well as a master's degree in special education from Northern Illinois University and a MBA from the University of Chicago. She has also completed coursework at Northwestern University and the University of Florida and Harvard.

Dr. Farling served as the Assistant Superintendent of Special Education for Fairfax County, Virginia. She oversaw all activities for students with special education learning needs. At the time she worked with Fairfax County, there were 62,000 students with special learning needs, making it the 12th largest school district in the United States. Dr. Farling consults and leads workshops locally and internationally related to inclusive education and school system leadership and systems change.

Dr. Farling is the current Executive Director of the Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES) which is a division of the Council for Exceptional Children.

Internationally, Alice has presented around the globe including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, England, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

Dr. Farling has led workshops for the Office of Overseas Schools (Romania) and has consulted with ministries of Education in Kuwait, Thailand, Bosnia, Israel, Palestine, and Tobago. Most recent projects were in Tobago, West Indies, Johannesburg, South Africa and Bulgaria.

Ongoing projects include:
1. For the past 12 years, Dr. Farling has led workshops for promising special education administrators in Virginia as faculty for the “Aspiring Special Education Leadership Academy” (ASELA) sponsored by George Mason University and the Virginia State Board of Education.

2. Leadership and support for the Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES) virtual events series that focuses on special needs children and youth via dynamic and interactive discussions with special education teacher trainers and leaders around the world. Most recent discussion centered around the UNESCO 20222 report.

3. Showcase sessions and participation in the Inter-Divisional Collaborative (IDC) for the Council of Exceptional Children at their annual convention.



Dr. Vicky Spencer- Senior Consultant

Dr. Vicky G. Spencer holds a Ph.D. in Special Education with a minor in Literacy from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia; a M.S. in Special Education from Texas A&M Commerce in Commerce, Texas, and a B.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Texas at Dallas, in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Spencer began her career in higher education at George Mason University where she worked for the Virginia Department of Education at the Training and Technical Assistant Center and served as the Coordinator of the Autism Certificate Program and the Graduate Program in ABA.

After fifteen years, she took a position as an Associate Professor at Dar Al-Hekma University in the Special Education Program in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Upon returning from Saudi Arabia, Dr. Spencer was an adjunct at Johns Hopkins University in the Doctor of Education Program in Entrepreneurial Educational Leadership for two years. In 2019, Dr. Spencer accepted the position of Professor and the Director of the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Graduate Program at Shenandoah University in the Department of Psychology.

She has over 25 years of experience as a classroom teacher, university professor, disability specialist, teacher trainer, and parent consultant. During this time, Dr. Spencer, a Fulbright Scholar, developed a strong interest in international education and has traveled extensively for the past fifteen years serving as both an educator/researcher.

She is also the past president of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES) which focuses on inclusion and diversity of all children both in the educational system and the community. Dr. Spencer’s areas of research include behavioral management strategies, cognitive learning strategies, and inclusive practices for all people.

In addition, she has numerous publications in refereed journals, six books, and presented her research at over 50 international and national conferences in the field of education.



Alison Lovelace- Consultant

Alison Lovelace is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and has certifications in Educational Leadership, Child & Family Forensics, and Organizational Behavior Management (OBM). Alison attends The Chicago School of Professional Psychology for her PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with a concentration in OBM. Alison has over 20 years of working in the public education system, within 3 different states; in the roles of special education teacher, consultant for students with autism, and special education administrator.

During the 2016-2017 school year, Alison was an assistant principal at a special day school for elementary-aged (K-6) students with emotional disturbances. During that school year Alison was instrumental in creating and sustaining program change, which resulted in progress for the students and decreasing the number of seclusions and restraints. Alison assessed each environment and variables to determine how to effectively make organizational changes that met the needs of the students. Alison provided guidance to staff on evidence-based practices and how to be proactive and less reactive. At the end of the 2016-2017 school year, the special day school closed, and the students and staff transitioned into neighborhood schools that expanded a current behavioral program within the district.

From 2017-2021, Alison was an assistant director of elementary education, and her primary responsibility was to oversee the behavioral program in the district and create consistency of programming between the sites. Alison worked within a five-person district-level team. This team developed components & expectations of the behavior program, quality indicators, a process for requesting support, a data collection review and process, and facilitated regular meetings with building administrators of the behavior program to build capacity of leadership skills.

Since July 2021 Alison has started her own private practice and works with high conflict families in the family court system, leads parenting education courses, provides behavioral health services to children & families, leads professional development workshops, consults with administrators in the development of special education programs with quality indicator tools, and collaborates with schools to improve parents’ skill set while analyzing the progress of individual student education and behavior plans. Alison is currently providing behavioral consultation to schools in Alaska and Oregon. She utilizes the technologies of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) to increase employee performance and workplace culture in schools. Alison is the founder of BX-OP Behavior Opportunities where the mission is to change behavior to improve children's lives, with the use of practices that are rooted in the science of behavior and trauma informed practices.



Dr. Mary Kealy- Consultant

Dr. Mary Kealy is an experienced educator with a career spanning over several decades in leading special education programs in public schools in NJ and VA and working as an adjunct professor preparing teachers and leaders for advanced degrees in special education and educational leadership. Her key areas of expertise are in leadership, administration of special education programs, inclusive education, professional learning, and school-university partnerships.

Mary served in 2 of the largest school districts in VA as assistant superintendent of student services, Loudoun County Public Schools, and Director of Special Education, Fairfax County Public Schools, and is currently Director, VA Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Center, George Mason University, VA.

Mary holds a BS in Elementary and Special Education, an MA in Learning Disabilities and an EdD in Instructional Leadership, in addition to advanced graduate study and certification in early childhood, administration and supervision and as a principal and superintendent.



Larry Simpson- Consultant

Received a BA from Michigan State University in Special Education for the Emotionally Disturbed and Socially Maladjusted grades K-12. Earned a MA from Michigan State University for teaching students classified as Emotionally Impaired. Additionally, received Special Education Supervisor’s Approval, also from Michigan State. Worked on Ed. D. (ABD) at Wayne State University in Curriculum and Instruction. Dissertation topic was “Teacher efficacy and reading achievement for students with disabilities.” Also, while at Wayne State University I earned Temporary Special Education Director’s Approval.

Experiences:
Worked as a Senior Consultant for Francis Young International. Duties included audits of twenty Public School Academies, plus completed analysis with other schools in Michigan, New York and the Havasupai Indian Reservation. H was also part of a team that conducted reviews for the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency in Michigan. Other audits of special education programs at both public and charter schools in Detroit, Warren, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Mr. Simpson presented in Kuwait and Cuba.

Other trainings included targeted professional development to staff members and school leaders on implementation.

Mr. Simpson served as a team leader that implement a web-based IEP system (SESIS) for students with disabilities for the New York City Department of Education. He trained more than four hundred teachers in over one hundred schools. Mr. Simpson served as the Special Education Director for the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

I was responsible for the developing and managing of a thirty-four-million-dollar annual operating budget and supervised more than five hundred staff serving more than 2150 students with IEP’s and 400 students on 504 plans. He also served as the team leader in the district’s efforts to eliminate the disproportionate identification of African American students in programs for cognitive impairments. This work included extensive work with parents and established a Parent University. Mr. Simpson served as the district’s hearing officer for students facing long-term suspensions and expulsion. After retirement, I returned as a consultant to help continue the work on the Disproportionality and to write the corrective action plan.

Other experiences include Chairperson for the Special Education Advisory Committee for the State of Michigan Board of Education, and Chairperson of the Michigan Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. I worked thirty-three years for the Flint Community Schools that included serving as the Special Education Director. In Flint I was the Chairperson of the committee of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Adjunct Instructor at the University of Michigan, Guest Lecturer at Wayne State University, Leadership Flint Class President, and finally, Life Member Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.
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