Artwork by Keith Salmon

Knowledge is having the right answer. Intelligence is asking the right question. -unknown

Susan Marks & Advocates brings together legal, advocacy and educational consultation services to better serve our clients. Our team includes an attorney with over 35 years of experience in the special education and disability field, advocates with special education degrees and teaching experiences, and a self-advocate who is a national and local speaker on self-advocacy. 

Ms. Andrea O'Brien is a special education advocate and educational consultant. Ms. O'Brien has been in the field of Special Education for over 25 years. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona in Rehabilitation and Special Education and a master's degree from Arizona State University in Special Education. She has completed her coursework for a doctorate in Special Education with an emphasis on inclusive practices. During her career she has held a variety of roles including Special Education Teacher, Program Specialist, Educational Consultant, Teacher Supervisor, University Instructor and Advocate.  Ms. O'Brien is currently an adjunct instructor at Chandler- Gilbert Community College in the Education Department. She is the Arizona TASH President and a member of the Arizona Department of Education Statewide Inclusion Coalition. She also co-coordinates the statewide AZWINS (with inclusive schools) trainings.

Ms. Carrie Raabe is the  assistant for Susan Marks & Advocates. She is also a co-presenter for our community workshops. Ms. Raabe graduated from Sinagua High School in Flagstaff.  She previously served as the Chairperson of the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council (DDAC) and currently serves on that Council. She was the first person with a developmental disability to serve as Chairperson of this Council.  Ms. Raabe also volunteers at Knoles Elementary School. She was a member of the Arizona Transition Leadership Team from 2003 to 2005 and was an NAU Disability Experience workgroup member and presenter from 2010-2012. She has done presentations for TASH, the Arizona Department of Education, Northern Arizona University, and Arizona State University. She was an Office Assistant at NAU's Institute for Human Development for seven years.

Ms. Vanessa DiCarlo is a special education advocate and educational consultant. Ms. ​DiCarlo graduated from Northern Arizona University, where she received a master's degree in Special Education with an emphasis in inclusive practices, positive behavioral supports, and autism. Ms. DiCarlo worked in typical education settings, in addition to special education settings creating system wide change; and advocating for the inclusion of students with disabilities into typical classrooms by individualizing services such as curriculum modifications, behavior plans, and assistive technology.  Collaborating with various behavioral health  and statewide agencies, she advocated for coordinated services for students.  Ms. DiCarlo  has presented at national and statewide conferences on a variety of disability-related topics, while also consulting with the ADE Support Cadre, and NAU by supervising masters-level teachers in the internship phase of their program. 

Carrie Raabe

Office Assistant & Presenter

(works out of Flagstaff)

Andrea Morrison O'Brien, M.Ed.

Special Education Consultant & Advocate

(works out of Phoenix) 

Vanessa DiCarlo, M.Ed.

Special Education Consultant & Advocate

(works out of Scottsdale)

Susan Marks, JD, PhD, BCBA-D

Attorney​​ at Law  

(works out of Sedona)

Susan Marks is the managing attorney for Susan Marks & Advocates.  Dr. Marks is a Professor Emeritus of Special Education at Northern Arizona University where she taught in the Special Education teacher preparation program and coordinated the graduate certificate in Autism. She  taught courses on positive behavioral supports and inclusive education. She is an Autism Specialist and  a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). Dr. Marks received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1995 and has worked in the field of special education and developmental disabilities for more than 35 years.  During those years, she worked in residential programs, rehabilitation programs, and school programs, with a specific focus on autism and individuals with complex needs. Her advocacy interests led her to pursue a law degree, which she completed in December 2014. She was admitted to the State Bar of Arizona in May 2015.​​​


Amy Papacek, Ph.D.

Special Education Consultant & Advocate

(works out of Phoenix)

Amy M. Papacek, is a special education advocate and educational consultant. Dr. Papacek is a clinical instructor of Special Education in the Mary Lou Fulton Teacher's College at Arizona State University. She is an educator in teacher preparation interested in ensuring that all pre-service teachers understand how to meet the unique needs of their future students and families without continuing to produce and maintain deficit views of children and adults. Prior to joining ASU, Dr. Papacek was a Director of Research and Training at a private school for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Dr. Papacek received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in special education, autism spectrum disorder, and inclusive education at Arizona State University in 2012. She has over 15 years of experience working with individuals with and without exceptional needs in a variety of settings including:  typical classrooms, resource and self-contained classrooms, public and private schools, home settings, dance rooms, soccer fields and any other environment that requires advocacy and assistance.

Copyright Susan Marks & Advocates, PLLC (2015).

The information and materials contained in this website do not create and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between you and Susan Marks & Advocates. Please be advised that no attorney-client relationship is established until a written agreement is executed between you and Susan Marks & Advocates, PLLC.  Do not send confidential documents without express prior approval.  Links provided on this website are for informational purposes only. Susan Marks & Advocates, PLLC is not responsible for the contents or accuracy of the materials linked to this website. The legal authority used on this site is based upon Federal and Arizona state law. Please consult your specific state laws for the legal authority that applies to the topics covered in this site.