Governor's Advisory Council for
Exceptional Citizens

What Is The Governor’s Advisory Council For Exceptional Citizens (GACEC)?

Statutory Responsibilities

At a State level, the Council served for a number of years as the Advisory Council for Exceptional Children with a primary mandate to advise the State Board of Education of the educational needs of exceptional children. Delaware Senate Bill 353, passed in 1977, gave the Council its present name and expanded its responsibilities to cover the human service needs (including education) of exceptional citizens of all ages.

At a federal level, the Council serves as the State Advisory Panel for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its amendments.

  1. Delaware Code: Title 14, Chapter 31, Sub. Sec. 3111
    “…the Governor shall appoint an advisory council to act in an advisory capacity to the State Board of Education and other state agencies on the needs of exceptional citizens. The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance of the council…”
  2. Federal Statute: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its amendments
    The State Advisory Panel will:

    • advise(s) the state educational agency of unmet needs within the state in the education of children with disabilities;
    • comment(s) publicly on any rules or regulations proposed for issuance by the state regarding the education of children with disabilities and the procedures for distribution of funds under this part; and
    • assist(s) the state in developing and reporting such data and evaluations as may assist the Secretary under Section 618



GACEC staff includes an Executive Director, Wendy Strauss, an Officer Manager, Kathie Cherry, and an Administrative Coordinator, Sybil White, each funded at 37.5 hours per week. The Executive Director performs administrative responsibilities, prepares Council reports and correspondence, and has liaison responsibilities specifically with the Department of Education (DOE) and generally within Delaware’s human services delivery system.


Organizational Structure

GACEC is a volunteer Council and holds scheduled meetings which are open to the public. Officers are elected annually, with the elected chairperson responsible for providing the Council its primary leadership and supervision for the staff members. The Board of Directors consists of the officers, committee co-chairs, and the Past Chairperson. The Council developed and is guided by its By-Laws, and a Code of Ethics to effectively discharge its diverse responsibilities.

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