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Welcome to the Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System (WSEMS) website

Wisconsin families of children with special needs and school districts, together or individually, can request a mediation, a facilitated IEP meeting, or a facilitator for a resolution meeting from the WSEMS ( We offer a list of trained, impartial mediators and facilitators ( The WSEMS services are free and voluntary.  Mediation is private and confidential. Requests for mediations are processed by Gia Pionek, a neutral dispute resolution professional.

The WSEMS was founded in 1996 by a parent, a special education director, and a mediator. This collaboration continues today as an example of how parents, teachers, administrators, advocates and attorneys can work together in a cooperative way for the best interests of the students in Wisconsin’s public schools. Please contact the WSEMS with any questions.

The people who have roles in fulfilling the terms of the WSEMS grant are:

Nissan Bar Lev, CESA 7 Special Education Director (representing the school perspective); Courtney Salzer, J.D., Executive Director of WI FACETS (representing the parent perspective); Gia Pionek, Intake Coordinator/Administrator and Nelsinia Ramos, WSEMS Multi-cultural Coordinator.

The WSEMS wishes to acknowledge the continuous support of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) in providing the grant funding from federal discretionary dollars that makes this program possible. Christina Spector, DPI liaison, provides communication and support between DPI and the WSEMS. Since 1996, DPI has also supported the confidentiality and privacy of the users of our system – which is a hallmark of our program.  Participants’ names and districts, as well as the content of mediations, are not shared with DPI or any other entity.