MSU’s Cavitt appointed president of Council for Exceptional Children

Cavitt appointed president of Council for Exceptional Children

MSU’s Cavitt appointed president of Council for Exceptional Children

Dennis Cavitt, Assistant Professor of Special Education in the West College of Education at Midwestern State University, has been appointed president-elect for the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). With more than 22,000 members, the CEC is a nationwide professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities on both ends of the spectrum.

Cavitt has worked with special needs children since 1985. Before his current position at MSU Texas, Cavitt was assistant professor of special education at Abilene Christian University from 2007-2018 and director of special programs for Decatur ISD in Decatur, Texas, from 2003-2007.

“It’s amazing that my peers have placed a trust in me that I can guide them the next year forward,” Cavitt said. He will spend this year as president-elect, next year as the president, then a third year as the past president.

With the COVID-19 crisis and the passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the CEC will provide important information to the Department of Education, the Office of Special Education Programs, and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Those organizations will report to the Secretary of Education about the flexibility that will be needed by support service providers for students with exceptionalities. “We want to make sure that these children are taken care of educationally during this unprecedented health crisis,” Cavitt said.

The CEC has already developed a webinar, “Teaching Special Education Online During COVID-19,” and is continuing to develop additional webinars and material for practitioners in the field.

Cavitt’s specialties are working with students identified with high incidence disabilities and experiencing executive dysfunction and self-determination issues. He is a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology and since 1985 has provided services to several Texas school districts, including the school district for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice from 1993-1997. He also was a special education consultant for the Region 11 Education Service Center in Fort Worth from 2001-2003.

As a special education consultant to school districts, he served as behavioral specialist, provided independent educational evaluations, and served as a parent/in-home trainer. His current research focuses on examining preservice teacher attitudes regarding the inclusion of all students in their future classrooms. He also is researching the inclusion of High Leverage Practices into the curriculum of teacher preparation programs.

Cavitt has been a member of the CEC for at least 17 years. He has twice been president of the Texas chapter and has worked on international committees. He has been on the Board of Directors for two years.

Cavitt earned his Ed.D. in Special Education from Texas Tech University, his M.Ed in Educational Leadership from Tarleton State University, his M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Abilene Christian University, and his B.A. from Pepperdine University.

The CEC’s membership includes educators throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. In addition to advocating for funding and program support, it works to improve public policy affecting children and youth with disabilities and gifts and talents; defines standards for the education profession; and offers professional development for the educators. The CEC will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2022.

During the COVID-19 crisis, CEC is offering free membership for new members that allows access to member resources. For information on accessing CEC COVID-19 material or membership, please contact Cavitt at