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Home > About Us > News & Events > November 30, 2017 – Mary LaCorte to Retire as ECAC’s Assistant Director and PTI Director
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November 30, 2017 – Mary LaCorte to Retire as ECAC’s Assistant Director and PTI Director

Mary LaCorte Picture

Mary LaCorte

Davidson, North Carolina – The Board of Directors, Executive Director and staff of the Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center (ECAC) announce the retirement of Mary C. LaCorte.

ECAC began in 1983 as an all-volunteer group of parents serving Charlotte area families of children with disabilities. Today, ECAC remains as one of the oldest statewide Parent Training and Information Centers (PTI) in the country, funded through the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

Mary became involved with ECAC in early 1985 through concerns she had about the education of her child and other children attending the same school.  In December of 1985, she left IBM and became ECAC’s 3rd employee. Her deeply rooted passion for children with disabilities began early.  In middle school, while living in Thailand, she was a volunteer in a local orphanage for infants/toddlers and children with disabilities.  During high school, Mary provided childcare for a young girl with severe disabilities and became her longtime friend.  Then came the birth of her 1st child in 1976, shortly after the passage of The Education for All Handicapped Children now known as IDEA – the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.  Her passion grew deeper and became even more personal as the “Momma” of a remarkable, now adult daughter, who was born with Emanuel syndrome. Before moving to North Carolina in 1984, Mary gained extensive advocacy experience as a volunteer with the Arc in Florida.

As ECAC grew to a statewide organization, Mary grew with it and by 1997 she became ECAC’s Assistant Director and Director of the PTI program. During her 32 years with ECAC, she has been through 3 reauthorizations of IDEA and was invited by the White House to be present as President Bill Clinton signed IDEA 2004 into law. During her tenure, she was responsible for the PTI program including the production of ECAC’s 2 highly acclaimed video’s; “The IEP Team Process” and “Accommodations and Modifications”, editor of the newsletter NewsLine and numerous other parent education publications and tools designed for families of infants/toddlers, children and youth. Over these 32 years, Mary has served on many local, state and national advisory boards, groups and committees, including the state’s Council on Educational Services for Exceptional Children.  For the past five years Mary has also been Co-Director of the North Carolina Deaf-Blind Project, a program of the NC Department of Public Instruction, Exceptional Children in collaboration with East Carolina University and ECAC.

As she prepares to transition to the next chapter in her life, Mary shared, “It has been my extreme pleasure to have been an integral part of this remarkable organization, serving families, educators and other professionals over these many years.  I am sincerely grateful for the many opportunities afforded me throughout my career at ECAC and will miss our ECAC “family”. I will also miss the many peers, colleagues and friends in North Carolina and across the country that have had such a huge impact on my life, both professionally and personally, and the lives of families and children living with disability and special needs.”   She plans to spend more time with her family, continue to advocate for her daughter and stay active in the “disability” world.  Mary also is looking forward traveling, volunteering and catching up on hobbies and interests.

ECAC’s Board of Directors and all the families served are grateful to Mary for her many years of service in building ECAC, service to the many families she has served in North Carolina and are excited for her about this next chapter in her life. Thank you, Mary!

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