Alexandria, VA – The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Board of Directors recently announced the selection of four officers and three at-large members of the Council of School Attorneys (COSA) Steering Committee. COSA is the national network of attorneys representing K-12 public school districts.
COSA supports school attorneys in their representation of public school boards and provides opportunities for leadership in legal advocacy for public schools. COSA’s seven-member Steering Committee advises and informs NSBA to assist it in carrying out COSA’s purpose.
“Promoting and defending public education is a prime focus for NSBA,” said Francisco M. Negrón, Jr., NSBA’s Chief Legal Officer. “COSA’s new slate of leaders, experienced and committed school attorneys from across the country, will play a pivotal role in strengthening and expanding our legal advocacy efforts in the coming year.”
Marc Terry was named Chair. Marc is a partner in the Westborough, Massachusetts office of Mirick O’Connell, where he leads the firm’s Public Education practice. He concentrates his practice in the representation of public school districts, municipalities, and other public entities as well as private employers in labor and employment matters. He also advises school districts regarding policy, student rights and discipline, the budget process, and more. Marc has participated in COSA leadership, committee work, and program planning and presenting for many years.
“COSA has always been an organization of sharing, support, and collaboration for school attorneys,” said Terry. “As we continue to provide opportunities for school attorneys to learn and grow in the profession, we can help schools create safe, nurturing learning environments for our nation’s students. I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the Steering Committee for this outstanding organization.”
Haley Percell was named Chair-elect. Haley is the Chief Legal Officer at the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA). She has significant experience in employment and school litigation as well as counseling and advising clients regarding employment and school law matters. At OSBA, Haley leads a 10-person legal staff and provides advice and litigation services to member school districts, charter schools, education service districts and community colleges.
Kenneth Walker was named COSA Secretary. Kenneth is General Counsel for Austin Independent School District (ISD) in Austin, Texas. There, he supervises the legal staff for the 75,000+ student school district. Before joining Austin ISD, Kenneth served as General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer of the Memphis-Shelby County (Tennessee) Schools.
Joe Scholler became Immediate Past Chair: Joe is a member with Frost Brown Todd, LLC, in West Chester, Ohio, where he leads the education law group. He serves as general counsel and labor counsel to some of the largest school districts in Ohio. Joe has been selected by peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America since 2021, has been included on the Ohio Super Lawyers list and was named to the Cincinnati Business Courier list of Forty under 40, which recognizes professional success and community involvement.
Three longtime COSA members were named COSA Steering Committee members-at-large: Greg Goheen of McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips in Kansas City, Kansas, Aleksandra Rushing of Husch Blackwell in St. Louis, Missouri, and Brad Banasik, Legal Counsel and Director of Labor Relations/Policy at the Michigan Association of School Boards in Lansing, Michigan.
Scholler congratulated the new COSA Steering Committee members. “We are grateful to have a diverse team of experienced school attorneys representing state associations and school boards both as in-house and outside counsel ready to guide our network. Public schools are facing significant changes and challenges, and now more than ever, their attorneys need the information and support COSA provides.”
“This group of new leaders brings extensive experience and involvement with COSA,” Negrón emphasized. “They all share a passion and commitment for public education and will work hard to ensure the continued success of COSA’s efforts in supporting school attorneys and providing leadership in legal advocacy for public schools.”
For more information about COSA, visit www.nsba.org/cosa.
Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is a non-profit organization representing state associations of school boards and the Board of Education of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through its member state associations that represent locally elected school board officials serving millions of public school students, NSBA advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. We believe that public education is a civil right necessary to the dignity and freedom of the American people and that each child, regardless of their disability, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or citizenship, deserves equitable access to an education that maximizes their individual potential. Learn more at www.nsba.org.