Cathy HolahanDoug Ward
Senior Legal and Policy Advisor
Ms. Holahan provides legal, policy, and strategic planning support to organizations on education policy matters with a focus on disability-related issues, special education, school climate and discipline, and the advancement of innovative strategies to improve student outcomes, particularly in high-poverty, low-performing schools. Previously, Ms. Holahan was Managing Attorney of the Children-at-Risk unit of Connecticut Legal Services, Inc., a statewide group of attorneys who advocated through systemic policy change and individual representation for improved access to quality education for low-income students. In that role, she founded and led several key initiatives focusing on the intersections of the education, child protection, and juvenile justice systems. She led multiple efforts and initiatives that resulted in changes to state and district policies related to students with disabilities, school discipline, and juvenile justice reform.
Ms. Holahan has presented at national and state-level convenings on issues of students with disabilities and school discipline. Ms. Holahan was a middle school classroom teacher for several years in Baton Rouge, LA through Teach For America. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law, a Master of Social Work in Policy and Planning from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Vermont.