University appoints new coordinator for Americans with Disabilities Act

July 06, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Leah Zimmerman has been named Penn State’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)/504 coordinator, following a national search. Zimmerman, who brings a broad range of experience within the disability, education and vocational rehabilitation field, began transitioning into the position in mid-June from her previous post as campus liaison consultant for student disability resources at Penn State.

Zimmerman replaces Bill Ritzman, who served as the University’s ADA/504 coordinator since 1999 and retired June 30.

“Leah is extremely well-qualified for this position,” said Ken Lehrman, Penn State’s vice provost for affirmative action. “Her background in disability issues within secondary and postsecondary education, rehabilitation services for the state of Virginia, and government experience in the U.S. Department of Education, makes her an ideal fit for this role.”

In the position, Zimmerman will coordinate the University’s Title I employment obligations under the ADA as it pertains to reasonable accommodations for faculty and staff. The role also provides guidance, consultation and training to the University community regarding the University’s obligations related to employment, facilities, programs and services. Zimmerman also will be responsible for responding to allegations of discrimination based on disability as specified in the University’s Section 504 Grievance Procedure.

Since 2014, Zimmerman has been the University’s student disability resources liaison to Commonwealth Campuses staff who provide services for students with disabilities. Before that, she spent four years with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in Washington, D.C., as a program specialist. In that position, Zimmerman managed operational processes for OSEP’s Research to Practice Division director and served as co-project officer for two state consortium grant recipients helping youth with disabilities obtain gainful employment.

Zimmerman served six years with the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services (VDRS) as an employment training specialist engaged in a variety of responsibilities to coordinate supported employment services for adults with disabilities. In addition, Zimmerman spent two years as a career evaluator for Fairfax County Public Schools in Alexandria, Virginia, and was a vocational evaluator consultant with VDRS in Manassas.

She earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Bucknell University and a master of arts degree in education and human development, as well as a doctorate of education with an emphasis in special education and applied neuroscience, both from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Zimmerman is a certified vocational evaluator.

Last Updated July 06, 2017