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SEF News & Success Stories

Join Our Team!

The Special Education Foundation  is looking for our next Fred Saigh Leadership Academy Coordinator.  As Debbie Smith, our current Coordinator heads into her final year in this role, we are looking for this position to start the 2025 school year.  

The Fred Saigh Leadership Academy (FSLA) Coordinator will plan and organize the Academy program, working closely with students from the Special School District and community leaders. This part-time, 12-month contracted role is with the Special Education Foundation (SEF) and reports to the SEF Program & Communications Manager.

If you have a passion for helping students with disabilities, have the ability to schedule and organize community visits and events, and are looking for a part-time opportunity, we want to hear from you!

Key Responsibilities:

  • Engage with students and community leaders monthly, fostering leadership and community awareness
  • Empower students to become confident, active citizens ready for leadership roles
  • Plan and facilitate monthly site visits for community-based learning
  • Organize and facilitate the FSLA graduation event

Since 2004, the Fred Saigh Leadership Academy has expanded students' horizons with unique community-related opportunities. Each year, up to 20 high school students with leadership potential participate in a year-long program.

The curriculum develops leadership skills and involves students in community issues. Students visit key sites and meet leaders across the metropolitan area one day each month. By the program's end, participants are prepared to lead in their schools and communities, culminating in a graduation ceremony where they share their experiences and growth.

Visit our website for more information and qualifications for this exciting opportunity to work with emerging student leaders served by the Special School District of St. Louis County. Submit your cover letter and resume to Shannon Benedek, SEF Program & Communications Manager at

Apply Today!

Coordinator Debbie Smith had been part of the program for 20 years and heads into her final year of running the Fred Saigh Leadership Academy. In 2008, she was honored for leading the program, and the 2024-2025 school year will mark her 50th year in education. She notes, “The Fred Saigh Leadership Academy was the best part and it’s now time to retire.”  Debbie has been an invaluable part of SEF and we appreciate all of her hard work and dedication to the Academy and to the students of SSD.