Renee Palakovic- has worked in Title I as well as other major Elementary and Secondary Education Act programs for 18 years in the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She has worked in both the fiscal and program compliance areas where she has gained expertise in all facets of federal grant administration and compliance.
Ms. Palakovic currently serves as the Chief of the Division of Federal Programs (DFP) and the State Title I Director for Pennsylvania. The DFP administers the statewide implementation of Title I and at least eight other federal programs authorized under the No Child Left Behind Act and ARRA. DFP is responsible for the distribution of nearly $1 billion annually to eligible LEAs. Ms. Palakovic is well known at the state and national levels for being able to take complex federal issues and make them understandable to the practitioner. She is an advocate for children.
Ms. Palakovic received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the Western Governor’s University in Utah and will receive her Master’s of Education in Reading from Edinboro University in December 2011.
Kristen Tosh Cowan- is nationally recognized for her expertise in the area of federal education law. As a partner with Brustein & Manasevit, Ms. Cowan has primarily focused her work on audit defense and grants management issues facing state education agencies, school districts, and post-secondary institutions. Ms. Cowan advises on compliance with federal programmatic rules as well as fiscal regulations of numerous federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Ms. Cowan also works closely with the private sector to advise on rules affecting nonpublic schools, charter schools, and third party contractors.
Ms. Cowan regularly speaks at national conferences on audit and compliance issues. She frequently conducts training workshops and seminars for state and local education agencies on complex administrative and fiscal issues. Moreover, she is a regular featured speaker in audioconferences sponsored by the Thompson Publishing Group.
Ms. Cowan has written extensively on the requirements of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), including The New Title I: The Changing Landscape of Accountability (6th edition, 2009); The New Title I: Balancing Flexibility with Accountability (2002)); and the 1994 reauthorization (Great Expectations – Understanding the New Title I (1995); In addition, she co-authored the definitive publication on cross-cutting grants management rules affecting education grants (Federal Education Grants Management: What Administrators Need To Know (2006 and 2007)). She writes regular articles for the Title I Monitor, the Title I Handbook, and the Single Audit Information Service, all publications of the Thompson Publishing Group.
Ms. Cowan currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and serves the needs of many of the firm’s west coast clients. Ms. Cowan received her Bachelor’s Degree in public policy from Duke University in 1990 and graduated with honors from American University's Washington College of Law in 1993. A native of Beaver, PA, Ms. Cowan is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
Leigh M. Manasevit- has practiced in the field of education law since 1974 beginning as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. During his government service, Mr. Manasevit regularly appeared in Federal court representing the United States in civil rights cases involving educational institutions across the nation. His work included one case ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. He also defended the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) in cases where HEW was accused of overly vigorous enforcement of school civil rights cases. Mr. Manasevit’s government experience has given him an extensive familiarity with the intricacies of navigating the Federal bureaucracy and managing school districts.
As one of the two founding partners of Brustein & Manasevit, Mr. Manasevit established a law practice that addresses the legal issues involving educational institutions public, private, elementary and secondary, or postsecondary on the Federal level. He has appeared extensively before all tribunals of the U.S. Department of Education and regularly pursues Federal court review of unfavorable agency decisions.
On the elementary and secondary level, Mr. Manasevit has worked extensively on No Child Left Behind (NCLB). He has advised and trained schools, districts, states, and private providers throughout the nation on implementation of NCLB. He has frequently served as a keynote speaker at national and statewide organizations of Title I professionals. He regularly advises recipients of Title I on implementation issues. Mr. Manasevit co-authored a comprehensive manual on No Child Left Behind, and its predecessor, the Improving America's Schools Act, and has provided editorial consultation on several revised editions. He has also written several articles on NCLB.
Mr. Manasevit also has a nationally recognized reputation in the area of special education. He has represented schools and school districts across the country in complex special education matters. When the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was reauthorized in 1997,and again in 2004 he co-authored a detailed how-to manual on the new law and conducted regional workshops and training on the provisions of that law. He regularly makes presentations to education groups on the requirements of this law.
Mr. Manasevit manages a higher education practice that covers all aspects of compliance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act. This practice includes changes of ownership, accreditation, and all adverse actions brought by the U.S. Department of Education. He has represented institutions before all tribunals of the U.S. Department of Education, all major accreditation agencies as well as in Federal Courts.
Recently , Mr. Manasevit successfully represented the State of New Mexico in Zuni Public School District 89 v. Department of Education , before the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Manasevit is an honors graduate from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in New York City. He is a member of the California Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, the Bar of the United States Supreme Court, and several bars of the United States Court of Appeals.
Last Modified on May 13, 2011