CEC's Strategic Plan

Perfect World:

All educators.
Every child.
No limits.


The Council for Exceptional Children is a professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities. We accomplish our mission through advocacy, standards, and professional development.


Educators will be highly competent professionals entrusted to provide quality instruction that will enable all students to pursue their full potential.


CEC will have the capacity and capabilities required to achieve its goals and objectives.

View CEC's Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives.

Looking Ahead

We envision a world where:

  • Educators are trusted and respected professionals in their communities
  • All educators work collaboratively to educate all learners
  • All stakeholders (students, families, teachers, community) are empowered, supported and active participants as full partners in education
  • All educators are prepared to work with all students so that all students can pursue their full potential
  • All students benefit from inclusive cultures in schools and communities
  • Public policy enables educators, with all the necessary supports, to focus on their practice
  • CEC is the leading resource for the entire field of special education

Top 10 Stakeholder Identified Issues

  1. Member recruitment. CEC should take a more active role in recruiting future generations of special educators and show the reasons why special education is a desirable, fulfilling career choice.
  2. Collaboration. Help ensure that general education teachers and special education teachers are prepared for the realities of working together in the classroom and have excellent collaboration skills to better work together on behalf of all students.
  3. Teacher retention. Help promote best practices and advocate for policies favorable to keep special education teachers in the field.
  4. Forging connections. Work on ways to foster more peer-to-peer connections among members.
  5. Job-specific networking. Create multiple opportunities beyond the annual CEC Convention & Expo for people with similar jobs (i.e. urban, rural, specialty, grade level) to engage work together.
  6. Strengthen relationships with general education. Find ways to build better connections with the general education community, build trust and put students first.
  7. Bridge the research to practice gap. Promote greater connection between what is needed by teachers and schools and the research community so that research is being done on practical areas and, as such, may have a better chance of being implemented.
  8. Enhance diversity. Continue to seek greater balance and diversity in leadership that is representative of the stakeholder audiences.
  9. Advocacy. CEC is the standard bearer for the profession and must involve members and build support for special education public policies as warranted and keep stakeholders informed.
  10. CEC Units and Divisions. Review relationships with units and divisions to eliminate redundancies and make CEC operate cohesively at all levels, aligning a common brand and focus on its members.

The Process

  • CEC’s CEO and Board Chair crafted agenda with strategic planning professional. (February 2014)
  • Reviewed existing member/stakeholder research conducted in the past two years. (March 2014)
  • Engaged CEC’s Representative Assembly to discuss assumptions about the Future in the Field and the Future for Members’ Needs. (April 2014)
  • Conducted 25+ in-depth telephone interviews with stakeholders. Interviewees represented various constituencies of the special education community, including some non-members and related association executives. (April-May 2014)
  • Held a two-day planning retreat of Board and senior staff at CEC Headquarters. (June 2014)
  • Solicited input from unit/division leaders at Leadership Institute session. (July 2014)
  • Produced a working draft strategic plan based on meeting notes and records. (July-August 2014) 
  • Board continued to refine core purpose, mission, core values and envisioned future. (September-October 2014)
  • Board approved 2015-2017 Strategic Plan. (December 2014)