CEC's Strategic Plan

(as of 2-23-2018)

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 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. Research to practice. 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 Divisions & State/Provincial Units. Review relationships with state organizations 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.
  • Reviewed existing member/stakeholder research conducted in the last 2 years.
  • Engaged CEC’s Representative Assembly to discuss assumptions of the Future in the Field and the Future for Members’ Needs.
  • Conducted 25+ in-depth telephone interviews with stakeholders.
  • Held a two-day planning retreat of Board and senior staff in June 2014 at CEC Headquarters.
  • Produced a working draft strategic plan based on meeting notes and records.
  • Board approved 2014-2017 Strategic Plan in December 2014.