Parent To Parent of NYS


Staff - Parent To Parent NYS

Ellen McHugh
Regional Program Manager and Regional Coordinator


Ellen Mc Hugh has been employed by Parent to Parent of NY State since 1995.  Parent to Parent of NY State’s New York City office began as a one person office in Brooklyn and has expanded to six employees in the NYC area. Our new offices are located at 25 Beaver Street, in downtown Manhattan.   

Ellen attended elementary and high schools in Brooklyn and Hunter College, CUNY.  While at Hunter and during a semester in Ireland, Ellen was a participant in a joint project with Trinity College, Dublin and University College, Dublin appearing in a student production of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake with  The Abbey Theater, Dublin.  After returning to the States, Ellen was employed as an editor for Plenum Press of New York and London.  Shortly after her return to the States, Ellen married John Mc Hugh.  They are the proud parents of three young men, one of which has a severe to profound hearing loss.

After a few years off to be with her three children, Ellen served as a Parent Member of the Committee on Special Education for five years.  Upon leaving the CSE, Ellen worked in the Chancellor’s Office for Student Advocacy at the NYC Department of Education and  then as Parent Liaison for the New York City Department of Education, coordinating workshops and training opportunities for parents of students with special needs.  During that time, Ellen was an integral part of the team that developed the Children’s School, the first elementary school in the NYC public school system to offer a fully integrated setting for students with IEPs.  With the successful launch of the Children’s School, Ellen participated in the development of integrated sites at the junior high school and high school levels.

In addition to this work, Ellen and Dr. Debra Shanley of Brooklyn College, CUNY, developed a syllabus and taught classes for graduate students in the Education Department of Brooklyn College regarding improved parent engagement with teaching staff. Ellen has also been a guest instructor at Teachers’ College, Columbia University; New York University School of Teaching and Learning and Touro Graduate School of Education.

Ellen has served on many local and statewide task forces. Among them are: The NY State Task Force on Inclusion (member), the Education sub-committee of OPWDD Commissioner’s Advisor Council (Co-chair), Chancellor’s Advisory Parent Council (member), and as the Public Advocate of the City of NY appointee to the Citywide Council on Special Education, which advises and comments on the delivery of services to students with special needs in NYC public schools.  Ellen is a founding member of the ARISE Coalition in NYC, a coalition of advocates, professionals and parents and a member of PIE (Parents for Inclusive Education).  Ellen has coordinated and presented at parent conferences hosted by the United Federation of Teachers and by the Citywide Council on Special Education. 

Ellen has been published in a number of on-line and hard copy journals, including The NY State Task Force on Inclusion Guide to Inclusive Schooling, and has been a commentator on the NYC Schools blogspot. Ellen has presented a number of statewide conferences on Inclusion as well as at OPWDD family conference events in Albany.  Ellen was a featured speaker at the NY State Black and Latino Caucus in February of 2014.

Ellen is a recognized leader in parent engagement to improve outcomes for diverse students; a persuasive and credible voice for inclusive public education policy and practice; a trusted adviser to families, public officials, policy-makers and educators; and a respected and effective advocate for students with disabilities 

Ellen believes that parents are their children’s first and most important teachers and advocates and are the greatest untapped resource our society possesses.  

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