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Katie V. Kelly, M.Ed., Ph.D., Esq.

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida

Dr. Katie Kelly has worked in the Special Education field for nearly 35 years. Currently serving as the manager of the Children’s Rights Unit of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc., Dr. Kelly is a true advocate for children across Central Florida whose civil and educational rights may have been violated.

As a state leader in School-to-Prison-Pipeline advocacy, Dr. Kelly has been instrumental in training other advocates, parents and community stakeholders in effective educational advocacy, helping to improve the outcomes of vulnerable youth. Dr. Kelly has also provides trainings to school districts, parents, caregivers, attorneys, advocates and law enforcement. Additionally, she provides regular trainings to multiple Dependency related agencies’ staff across Florida.

As an active member of her community, Dr. Kelly is a member of the Council of Parents Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), Volusia County Bar Association (VCBA), the Flagler/Volusia Association of Women Lawyers, the Florida Bar Educational Committee and Florida Bar Foundation State Wide Teams.

Dr. Kelly’s first disability-related work experience was at the National Institute of Health’s Autism Project, the first program of its kind in the United States. After being inspired by her initial experience, Dr. Kelly went on to get her Master of Education degree in Educational Psychology at the University of Arizona, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in psychology, concentrating in child development, at Cal Western/USIU. Finally, Dr. Kelly completed her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota. During her education experience, Dr. Kelly also served as a public-school administrator, school psychologist, special educator, and program developer for students with Autism and other behavioral disorders. 

Dr. Kelly also developed and implemented the Come Home Safe Project, providing key information to students on how to safely navigate interactions with law enforcement. Her other projects include supervising legal clinics to assist juvenile offenders in expunging their records; successfully advocating in school districts and community forums for an increase in the use of Civil Citations, and providing ongoing technical expertise to school districts and other educational advocates.

Dr. Kelly has written several articles and publications on various educational issues, including having camera’s in the classroom, Autism, and Special Education. Dr. Kelly’s extensive educational training and professional experience in the public-school system, coupled with a law degree uniquely positions her to be an outstanding advocate.