About Our Team
Susan Marks & Advocates brings together legal, advocacy and educational consultation services to better serve our clients. Our team includes an attorney with over 35 years of experience in the special education and disability field, special education consultants/advocates with advanced special education degrees and extensive teaching experiences, and an of counsel attorney with extensive special education experience.
Susan Marks, J.D., Ph.D., BCBA-D
Attorney at Law (works out of Sedona)
Susan Marks is the managing attorney for Susan Marks & Advocates. Dr. Marks is a Professor Emeritus of Special Education at Northern Arizona University where she taught in the Special Education teacher preparation program and coordinated the graduate certificate in Autism. She taught courses on positive behavioral supports and inclusive education. She is an Autism Specialist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). Dr. Marks received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1995 and has worked in the field of special education and developmental disabilities for more than 35 years. During those years, she worked in residential programs, rehabilitation programs, and school programs, with a specific focus on autism and individuals with complex needs. Her advocacy interests led her to pursue a law degree, which she completed in December 2014. She was admitted to the State Bar of Arizona in May 2015.
Andrea O’Brien, M.Ed.
Special Education Consultant & Advocate (works out of Phoenix)
Andrea O’Brien is a special education advocate and educational consultant. Ms. O’Brien has been in the field of Special Education for over 25 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in Rehabilitation and Special Education and a master’s degree from Arizona State University in Special Education. She has completed her coursework for a doctorate in Special Education with an emphasis on inclusive practices. During her career she has held a variety of roles including Special Education Teacher, Program Specialist, Educational Consultant, Teacher Supervisor, University Instructor and Advocate. Ms. O’Brien is currently an adjunct instructor at Chandler- Gilbert Community College in the Education Department. She is the Arizona TASH President and a member of the Arizona Department of Education Statewide Inclusion Coalition. She also co-coordinates the statewide AZWINS (with inclusive schools) trainings.
Rebecca Simmons-Thompson, M.Ed.
Special Education Consultant & Advocate (works out of Cottonwood)
Rebecca Simmons-Thompson is a special education advocate and educational consultant. She has over twenty years experience working with individuals with special needs. Ms. Simmons-Thompson began her career in California working in residential programs before transitioning to school programs. Throughout her career she has held a variety of positions such as, Behavior Health Specialist, Autism Specialist, Program Specialist, Special Education Teacher, Educational Consultant, Behavior Consultant, and Advocate. Additionally, she held certification as an instructor in Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) and currently holds a certificate as an instructor of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Most importantly, Ms. Simmons-Thompson has enjoyed raising her four beautiful children, including a child with autism. Her educational background includes a credential in Severe and Profound disabilities and a Masters in Special Education from National University. Ms. Simmons-Thompson has completed course work through Florida Tech University and supervision hours to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Rebecca Gehrke, Ph.D.
Special Education Consultant & Advocate (works out of Phoenix)
Rebecca Gehrke is a special education advocate and educational consultant. Dr. Gehrke currently holds the position of a Faculty Associate in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University after having been a full time faculty member in the Teacher’s College for several years. The focus of her work in Special Education Teacher Education has been on formal assessment and its relationship to eligibility determination, compliance with IDEA policy and procedures, family involvement in the IEP process, designing effective behavior interventions, and inclusive classrooms across the variety of elementary and secondary educational settings. Prior to her career at ASU, Dr. Gehrke held Special Education teaching and leadership positions in Self-contained, Resource, and Inclusion classrooms in both Minnesota and Arizona. Dr. Gehrke extends her focus on student advocacy with her on-going commitments as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and by fulfilling the role of IDEA/Surrogate Parent for children and youth in the foster care system.
Amy Langerman, Esq.
Of Counsel Attorney
Amy Langerman is of counsel for Susan Marks & Advocates. She is a cum laude graduate of Arizona State University College of Law. Ms. Langerman has been a member of the Arizona bar since 1983 and is authorized to practice in all Arizona state courts, the District Court of Arizona, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Langerman is the past president of the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, a former member of the Board of Governors of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and was a judge pro-tem of the Maricopa County Superior Court for 12 years. As a mother to a child with Autism, now 27 years, Ms. Langerman learned by doing, attending IEP meetings, meeting with experts, and even personally homeschooling her son. Beginning in 1996, Ms. Langerman handled her first special education due process case and has filed more than 100 due process cases since then. In all cases that she has filed, she is undefeated, helping scores of children with disabilities. While Ms. Langerman moved to California in 2002, where she is a special education consultant working with a wide range of special education students and supporting placements that promote and implement inclusive practices, she continues to return to Arizona to train and mentor parents, advocates, attorneys and school districts and file due process cases when necessary. Amy’s Website > | Amy’s Facebook Page >