Photo: Craig P. Barnes accepts the 2015 Wayne Parker Advocate of the Year from Karen Harrison, Executive Director
STEP, Inc. (Support and Training for
Exceptional Parents) is pleased to announce Craig P. Barnes as the 2015 Wayne
Parker Advocate of the Year Recipient.
He was presented the award during the recent Tennessee Disability Mega
Conference in Nashville.
Mr. Barnes received his undergraduate degree
from Duke University in 1996, and he received his J.D. from Saint Louis
University School of Law in 2000. He began his career with a small firm in
Seattle, WA representing indigent prisoners in cases involving prison
conditions, sentencing structure and federal civil rights violations. In 2005,
Mr. Barnes moved with his family to Memphis, where he joined Memphis Area Legal
Services, Inc. (MALS) as the NCLC Brooks Consumer Law Fellow.
Mr. Barnes is currently a Staff Attorney with
the Consumer Unit of MALS. He handles a wide variety of cases in state and
federal court, and represents children with disabilities and their parents in
matters in and related to Special Education. Mr. Barnes was the recipient of
the Tennessee Bar Association’s Access to Justice Awards “special recognition”
for extraordinary pro bono service in the wake of Gulf Coast Hurricane,
Katrina, and was given the TALS New Advocate of the Year Award in 2009. He
recently won an unprecedented case in the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth
Circuit. He currently serves on the board of Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT)
and resides in Memphis, Tennessee.
His award was engraved with the following caption: For his efforts to ensure “a brighter future
for children with disabilities”. A
champion for children and youth!
Extended with sincere appreciation for your tireless work and
collaborative efforts to bring equality, inclusion, and justice to families of
children with disabilities in your community.
STEP’s Wayne Parker Advocate of the Year Award
is presented each year to a person who has exemplified using information to
assist a child or youth with a disability to receive a free appropriate public
education. STEP also seeks recipients who demonstrate teamwork and
collaboration and the zeal to share the information they have learned with
others. Nominees may be a parent of a
child with a disability, an advocate that works with families, a teacher who
has been exemplary in the life of a student with a disability, or a service
provider who has bridged the gap for a student or their family to assist in
receiving a free appropriate public education.
The award is in memory of Wayne Parker, a
former STEP team member, who was a zealous advocate for the rights of children
and families. He worked tirelessly to ensure that families had the information
they needed to speak up and advocate for the needs of their children with
disabilities. Wayne was also a strong advocate for encouraging young people
with disabilities to advocate for the life they wanted. Wayne was well
respected by parents and professionals. Wayne was always quick to praise
members of school teams when they went above and beyond in their advocacy
efforts for students.