Ed O’Leary Biography

Dr. Ed O’Leary spent more than 40 years working in and with schools as a secondary special education teacher, special education consultant, transition specialist, work experience coordinator, program specialist, and program director. He is a nationally recognized expert in the area of transition and Indicator 13 and has been an invited speaker at numerous state and national conferences and trainer with hundreds of local districts.

Dr. O’Leary taught at the graduate and undergraduate level and worked in vocational rehabilitation. He trained and presented nationally to thousands of educators on the transition requirements under IDEA 97 and IDEA 2004 and developed a data-based decision-making model to help districts and states meet the transition and Indicator 13 requirements and demonstrate improvement and results.

The Transition Outcomes Project (TOPs) was implemented in 28 states/territories and over 1,500 districts.  This professional development model included direct training, self-assessment, use of real-time web-based data analysis, action planning, and evaluation of progress and improvement.  

Dr. O’Leary was also involved with professional and parent organizations and held leadership positions in the Iowa Governor’s Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities (past chair and member), the Council for Exceptional Education (state president, governor, and served on national committees), the Iowa Association of Vocational Education Special Needs Personnel, the Iowa Division of Career Development, and ARC/Iowa.

He received awards of distinction from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Heartland Area Education Agency for leadership, exemplary professional practice, and service delivery to students, parents, and professionals, and was recipient of the Oliver P. Kolstoe Award from the National Division on Career Development and Transition, Council for Exceptional Children.

In addition to ongoing professional development training on transition and the Transition Outcomes Project, Dr. O’Leary developed a comprehensive web-based professional development model to bring together post-school outcome data (Indicator 14), transition requirement data (Indicator 13), and self-assessment data on the national evidence-based predictors of post-school success. 

Dr. O’Leary operates his own consulting firm, Cutting EdJ Consulting, Inc. In that capacity he provides training and technical assistance, as well as speaking about secondary special education and transition service issues to educators, adult agencies, and parents across the United States.