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 and special education consultants/advocates with special education degrees and extensive teaching experiences. 

Rebecca Simmons-Thompson, M.Ed.

Special Education Consultant & Advocate

(works out of Cottonwood)

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.

Amy M. Papacek, Ph.D.

Special Education Consultant & Advocate

(works out of Phoenix)

Rebecca Simmons-Thompson is a special education advocate and educational consultant. She has over twenty years experience working with individuals with special needs.  Ms. Simmons-Thompson began her career in California working in residential programs before transitioning to school programs.  Throughout her career she has held a variety of positions such as, Behavior Health Specialist, Autism Specialist, Program Specialist, Special Education Teacher, Educational Consultant, Behavior Consultant, and Advocate. Additionally, she held certification as an instructor in Crisis  Prevention Intervention (CPI) and currently holds a certificate as an instructor of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).  Most importantly, Ms. Simmons-Thompson has enjoyed raising her four beautiful children, including a child with autism.  Her educational background includes a credential in Severe and Profound disabilities and a  Masters in Special Education from National University.  Ms. Simmons-Thompson has completed course work through Florida Tech University and supervision hours to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  

Susan Marks, J.D., Ph.D., BCBA-D

Attorney​​ at Law  

(works out of Sedona)

Andrea O'Brien, M.Ed.

Special Education Consultant & Advocate

(works out of Phoenix) 

Artwork by Keith Salmon


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, 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).

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