Walter Haverfield Attorney

Lisa H. Woloszynek

  • Associate
  • Cleveland Direct: 216.619.7835
  • Cleveland Fax: 216.916.2383


Lisa is an attorney with Walter | Haverfield in the Education group. She focuses her practice on providing general counsel to school districts in personnel and student matters, including discipline, special education, records, board policies, collective bargaining agreements, arbitration, residency and custody disputes, social media, Constitutional rights, and discrimination concerns.

While attending Cleveland-Marshall, Lisa was a judicial extern to the Honorable Kenneth S. McHargh in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Prior to her legal career, Lisa worked as a school psychologist in Ohio and Arizona, both in public school districts and charter schools, with student caseloads ranging from preschool through high school and a large range of special education services delivery models. She has been a member of numerous leadership committees within those school districts, including involvement in the development of a new school-wide discipline policy and procedures. She also has additional training related to Autism, including ADOS administration and Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy.





  • Assists with representation of school districts involved in litigation filed in state and federal court.
  • Advises school districts regarding legislative interpretation, implications, and updates.
  • Advises school districts regarding issues impacting school districts including liability waivers, arbitration, confidentiality, student travel, ethics, transgender students, food allergies, home school requirements, and IAT/RTI guidelines.
  • Assists school districts with policy review, development, and application.
  • Counsels school districts regarding special education laws, regulations, and procedural compliance.
  • Represents school districts in special education due process and state complaints, including responses, investigations, interviews, pleadings, effective mediation resolutions and hearings.
  • Completed special education process case assessments for school districts including review of documents for compliance and legal defensibility.
  • Attends IEP and ETRs meetings in contentious situations.
  • Represents districts in situations involving development of IEPs, IDEA procedural compliance, FAPE, Child Find, Section 504, student discipline, residency and custody issues, among others.
  • Reviews school district’s policies regarding special education and response to intervention as well as assisted school district team in developing compliant policies and procedures.
  • Counsels school districts regarding employee conduct, responsibilities, and contract issues.
  • Counsels school districts regarding employment and personnel issues, including discrimination claims, discipline, FMLA, and ADA implications.
  • Drafts memorandums of understanding and resolutions for school districts regarding bargaining unit agreement terms, employee issues, etc.
  • Assists school districts with voluminous public records requests management and response, including compliance and appropriate denial of requests.
  • Advises school districts on compliance with Ohio Public Records Act.
  • Counsels school districts regarding student enrollment concerns.
  • Advises school districts regarding student conduct and discipline, including legal and policy compliance and procedures.
  • Represents school districts in discrimination complaints filed with the Office of Civil Rights.
  • Counsels school districts regarding implications and applications of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and student privacy concerns.
  • Assists school districts with voluminous student records requests management and response, including compliance and appropriate denial of requests.
  • Assists school districts with interpretation, application, and administration of collective bargaining agreements.
  • Develops collective bargaining agreement provisions for school districts.
  • Responds on behalf of school districts to unfair labor charges filed with the State Employment Relations Board.
  • Counsels clients regarding employee conduct, responsibilities, and contract issues.
  • Counsels clients regarding employment and personnel issues, including discrimination claims, discipline, FMLA, and ADA implications.
  • Responds to public agency requests regarding employer separation information.
  • Reviews and analyzes employer requirements to use state programs such as the Ohio Rapback System.


  • Recipient of Law Justice Scholarship, The Professor Theodore Dyke Scholarship Award (Labor and Employment Law Scholarship), and Carroll H. Sierk Award for Outstanding Evening Student in Taxation I Course
  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award for Disability Law and Taxation I



Lisa routinely provides training for administrators and staff regarding legal updates, general education, and special education issues. Representative topics include:

  • Student Discipline, Manifestation Determinations
  • Student Accommodations: Disabilities, Religion
  • Student Custody and Residency
  • FERPA Compliance
  • General Education and Special Education Case Law Updates


  • Ohio School Boards Association's Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys
  • National Council of School Attorneys
  • Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Alumni Association
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association


Our hosts for these podcasts are Miriam M. Pearlmutter and Lisa H. Woloszynek

Episode One: Pending Before the Court, Part One

In our inaugural episode we talk about Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, an education law case pending before the Supreme Court this term. What is the difference between IDEA and Section 504? What remedies are available to parents under these laws and how will the Court's decisions affect school districts? Can parents take claims straight to court and will this circumvent the administrative process? For an update explaining the Court’s recent decision in this case, please take a look at this alert.

Episode Two: Pending Before the Court, Part Two

In the second part of our Supreme Court term preview, we explore Endrew F. v. Douglas County Schools, a case that addresses the most fundamental question in special education today: What level of education does a school district have to provide to its IEP students to meet federal FAPE obligations? Is any educational benefit enough to comply with the IDEA or must districts provide meaningful educational benefits to their special education students? And what is a meaningful educational benefit anyway? For an update explaining the Court’s recent decision in this case, please take a look at this alert.

Episode Three: Transgender Issues in Public Schools

Class Act tackles a fascinating and controversial topic: What does the federal government require of school districts serving transgender students and how did we get here? Lisa and Miriam summarize recent regulations issued by the Office for Civil Rights and discuss some of the more prominent case law, including Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., the famous Virginia case pending before the Supreme Court. We chat about why this topic is so controversial and how school districts across the country are reacting to these developments. For an update explaining the new administration’s perspective on transgender issues, please take a look at this alert.

Episode Four: Religion and Schools: Part One

In this episode, Miriam and Lisa tackle a sometimes-thorny issue: students' religious rights and how the First Amendment sometimes collides with school policies and practice. Learn about the law and enjoy a plethora of fascinating cases from all around the country! Can a district require students to cut their hair? Is student-led prayer before football games allowed? What about at graduation? What if a child writes an essay about her faith?

Episode Five: Update on the Goldendoodle Case: Fry v. Napoleon

Here's our update on the Supreme Court's decision in Fry v. Napoleon, the case looking at whether parents need to go through the special education hearing process or can go straight to federal court when they have a conflict with their child's school. Turns out that it depends on the central issue in the dispute: Is the conflict about special education services or one relating to disability in general?

Episode Six: Update on Endrew F.: How Much Special Education Must Districts Provide?

The Supreme Court recently ruled on whether school districts are obligated to provide more than just a minimal benefit to students with special education needs. Here's our update and analysis of what this decision means practically for you. Enjoy the episode and let us know what you think!

Episode Seven: Update on Transgender Issues in Public Schools

A lot has happened since our last episode on districts' obligations towards transgender students! Today we talk about the new administration's rescission of the guidance issued by the Office for Civil Rights, the Gloucester case development, and what to watch for in the months ahead.

Episode Eight: Religion and Schools: Part Two

In part two of our series on religion, we tackle common questions that school districts face when employees assert their religious rights. Does a teacher have a First Amendment right to teach creationism? What precautions should be taken during the interview process? How should districts handle requests for schedule changes and time off for religious holidays?

Episode Nine: Bullying and the Law

Bullying lawsuits and agency complaints are on the rise across the nation. What does the law say about bullying and what criteria do courts and agencies use in deciding legal liability? How can districts avoid being found deliberately indifferent to bullying? Miriam and Lisa start off our series on bullying with a brief overview of the laws and how they apply to school districts and their employees.

Episode Ten: Bullying and How to Minimize Liability

Continuing our series on bullying, Lisa and Miriam talk about ensuring that your district is in the best position when faced with a bullying lawsuit or agency complaint. Policies, paper trails, and anti-bullying programs are important features of a comprehensive approach to this nationwide challenge.

Episode Eleven: Immediate Steps When a Bullying Complaint Is Filed

What are the immediate steps your administrators and staff should take when a bullying complaint comes in? How does this look on a practical day-to-day basis? This episode addresses the key steps in a comprehensive response to bullying complaints and offers an often-skipped strategy to avoid these complaints in the first place.

Episode Twelve: Public Records, Student Records, and Privacy Laws

School districts are obligated to follow not only state public records laws, but also federal and state student privacy statutes and regulations. In this episode, Lisa and Miriam talk about the specific statutory requirements, particular exceptions allowed by the law, and complicated situations that districts sometimes encounter.

Episode Thirteen: Fighting in the Cafeteria, Student Discipline: Part One

Joined by Christina Peer, a partner at Walter | Haverfield, Lisa and Miriam begin a three-part series on discipline. In today's episode, we explore the due process rights all students are entitled to and take a look at some common challenges that school districts encounter in meting out disciplinary consequences. Imagine a group of children fighting in the cafeteria. You've decided that Bobby is the troublemaker and would like to suspend him immediately. What steps must you take first? What are your deadlines? What will courts look at if Bobby's parents challenge your decision?

Episode Fourteen: Children with Disabilities, Student Discipline: Part Two

In the second segment of our series on discipline, Lisa and Miriam are joined by Christina Peer for a discussion about students with special education needs. When facing disciplinary consequences, children with disabilities are often entitled to additional legal protections, including manifestation determination reviews, functional behavior assessments, and behavior intervention plans. But it is not always clear when these legal protections come into play. Do these regulations apply to students who are in the process of being evaluated or only those already eligible? What triggers a school's obligation to conduct a manifestation determination review? What are some common mistakes schools make when disciplining children with disabilities?

Episode Fifteen: Manifestation Determination Reviews, Student Discipline: Part Three

Joined by Christina Peer, Lisa and Miriam delve into the depths of manifestation determination reviews for students with disabilities who have violated their school's code of conduct. Was the behavior related to or a result of the student's disability? How do teams decide? Learn about the key issues to keep in mind and how to avoid some of the common mistakes teams make in conducting these reviews.

Episode Sixteen: Weapons Drugs, and Serious Bodily Harm

In our last episode on discipline, Christina, Lisa, and Miriam talk about some unusual situations and what the law allows school boards to do in terms of imposing discipline when weapons, drugs, or serious bodily harm are involved.

Episode Seventeen: Whatever You Do, Don't Hit Send

In this End-of-the-Year Bonus episode, Christina, Lisa, and Miriam talk about emails and texts that you and your colleagues should not be sending. Enjoy and have a fantastic winter break!

Season 2 Episode 1: Hanky Panky in the Classroom, Part One

Welcome back to the second season of Class Act: Updates in Education Law. Joined by Attorney Sara Markouc, Lisa and Miriam start off the new year by diving into employee discipline. What are the basics that an investigator must keep in mind when a school staff member is accused of violating district policy and/or the law? What are the most critical steps that administrators sometimes miss? Join our conversation and learn more about conducting defensible investigations that are upheld on review.

Season 2 Episode 2: Hanky Panky in the Classroom, Part Two

Joined by Attorney Markouc, Lisa and Miriam continue discussing the investigative process in disciplining employees. Imagine a paraprofessional who meets with the school's HR director and informs her that the special-education teacher she assists behaves inappropriately and unkindly towards the children in class, many of whom have severe disabilities. What are the immediate initial steps the HR director should take? What are the key DOs and DON'Ts in conducting such an investigation? Does it matter if the teacher's aide is a repeat complainer?

Season 2 Episode 3: Hanky Panky in the Classroom, Part Three

In our final episode on employee investigations, Attorney Sara Markouc discusses employee rights, including Weingarten and Garrity rights. Attorney Markouc also offers insight in conducting the critical employee interview, tips to remember in speaking with witnesses, and ideas for drafting the investigatory report in a thorough and specific way.

Season 2 Episode 4: Goodbye Facebook, Hello Insta! What Apps Are Your Students Using and Misusing?

Joined by James McWeeney, an attorney at Walter Haverfield, Lisa and Miriam kick off a new series about social media challenges that school districts face on a daily basis. You're probably familiar with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but what are some of the other apps most popular with adolescents and preteens? How do students misuse apps and what can school districts and parents do about it?

Season 2 Episode 5: What Can Schools and Parents Do When Kids Misuse Social Media?

How can parents monitor inappropriate app use? Why would we want to limit our digital footprints? What is the school district's role in addressing technology misuse? Today's episode addresses all of these questions and more. Attorney James McWeeney joins Lisa and Miriam to discuss how schools and families can work together to approach these challenges in a proactive way.

Season 2 Episode 6: Is My School Board on Facebook?

Rounding out our three-part series on technology, we are joined by James McWeeney who discusses what happens when school districts use social media to interact with their communities. Can a district-sponsored Facebook page, for example, delete a parent's unflattering comments? When does deleting comments implicate First Amendment issues and public-records questions? What is a public forum and how should school districts organize their social media presence to protect themselves from constitutional claims? Join us for a fascinating look at these and other challenges faced by school districts who use technology in communicating with the public.

Season 2: Episode 7 BONUS EPISODE: A Much Higher Education

In this timely bonus episode, Lisa and Miriam are joined by Attorney Kathy Perrico to discuss how recent medical marijuana legislation affects school districts' obligations. For example, are students with disabilities entitled to use medical marijuana on school grounds? What happens when federal and state laws collide and how have some school districts navigated this legal quagmire?

Season 2: Episode 8: Section 504 Basic Overview

You've probably heard of Section 504, but sometimes laws can be confusing and the details may be a bit fuzzy. What's the difference between eligibility under Section 504 and IDEA? Is the "free appropriate public education" standard different for kids who have a Section 504 disability versus those who qualify under the special education statute? What's the difference between accommodations and modifications anyway? Join Lisa and Miriam for a fantastic overview of Section 504 with Attorney Kathy Perrico who often advises districts on Section 504 laws and regulations.

Season 2: Episode 9: Section 504 Plans- Common Challenges and Pitfalls

Hope your summer has been relaxing and productive! In this timely episode, Kathy, Lisa, and Miriam continue discussing Section 504 Plans and common pitfalls that school districts encounter. Do all children with qualifying disabilities need a 504 Plan? What are the basics that must be included in a 504 Plan? How specific should the plan be and why? Join us for an informative and lively chat on these and other disability-related questions.

Season 2: Episode 10: Extracurricular Activities for Children with Disabilities Under Section 504

Rounding out our series on Section 504, Kathy chats with Lisa and Miriam about nonacademic and extracurricular activities for children with disabilities. What does the term "extracurricular" include? What are districts' obligations to accommodate children with disabilities who want to participate in standard team sports? What might try-outs look like for a student who requests such an accommodation? Join us for an insightful and interesting discussion of the challenges school districts face.

Season 2: Episode 11: Public-Sector Unions and Agency Fees- Examining Janus v. AFSCME

Just a few months ago, the Supreme Court issued a critical and controversial decision in Janus v. AFSCME, holding that public sector unions may not collect agency fees from nonmembers. What does this mean and whom will this affect? What are the implications for school boards around the country and what are some best practices for board members to keep in mind? Lisa and Miriam dive into the legal and practical ramifications of this momentous ruling.

Season 2: Episode 12: Mainstreaming Children with Disabilities

What is mainstreaming? In previous generations, most students with special education needs were taught apart from their neurotypical peers, in self-contained classrooms, separate facilities, or even state institutions. Decades of research, however, showed that children with disabilities do better when included in the general education classroom and exposed to peer modeling. Now, school districts are obligated to educate children in the least restrictive environment, also known as inclusion or mainstreaming. But mainstreaming special education students can be complicated and challenging, even for experienced educators.

In this episode, Lisa and Miriam explore a recent surprise ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that addresses mainstreaming and highlights the potential legal liability that comes with using self-contained settings for children who can be served in the general education classroom. What are the challenges teams face when it comes to determining a child's least restrictive setting? Which factors must districts consider when deciding whether inclusion or a self-contained classroom is best? What benefits must a general education setting provide to a child with severe disabilities to qualify as a least restrictive environment, and what does that instruction look like practically? In this episode, we explore these complicated questions through the lens of the Sixth Circuit's recent ruling in LH v. Hamilton, and consider the wide-range of implications for school boards, administrators, and teachers.

Season 2: Episode 13: The Challenge of College Credit Plus and Dual Enrollment for Students with Disabilities

College Credit Plus, also termed Dual Enrollment in some states, is a program that enables high school, or even middle school students, to take college courses for both college and high school credit. Although these programs are a fantastic way for families to save money and expose students to higher learning opportunities, school districts may be faced with unexpected challenges when students with IEPs or 504 Plans take college classes.

Who is responsible for ensuring 504 accommodations at the university level? Is a dually-enrolled high school student even entitled to IEP services in a college course? What should high school teams and counselors advise students with special education needs who may struggle with the higher demands and expectations of a College Credit Plus course? Lisa and Miriam explore these questions and consider decisions from the Office for Civil Rights that shed light on school districts' obligations in these changing times.

Season 2: Episode 14: Top Evaluation Team Report Mistakes

A district's special education process typically begins with a request for an evaluation, either from a teacher or a parent. But even the best teams can miss requests, forget deadlines, and slack off in communicating with families. In this last episode of our second season, Lisa and Miriam take a good long look at the most common ETR/ MFE mistakes teams make and how to avoid the liability that comes along with these errors.

Season 3: Episode 1: Secret Recording Devices in the Classroom

It seems like almost every week we hear yet another news story about a school in hot water because of a secret tape recorder or phone that a parent sent in a student's back pack. Is this even legal? And what if a parent requests to send a recording device with her child in advance? Do school districts have to agree? What if the parent wants to record a team meeting? When is a school district obligated to allow such recordings and what precautions should the team take? Lisa and Miriam kick off Season Three with a fabulous interview with Peter Zawadski, an attorney at Walter | Haverfield who often advises school districts about developments in technology and privacy laws. In this episode, Peter reviews school district obligations when parents ask to record their child's classroom or a team meeting, including considerations under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Season 3: Episode 2: Hand Over that Fight Video!

Student privacy can certainly be tricky in this era of rapidly-developing technology. It seems like everyone has privacy rights under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) these days, but sometimes these rights and obligations collide. For example, what if parents request a video recording of their child, but the clip includes footage of other students as well? Are districts obligated to redact video footage? Doesn't that get expensive? Joined once more by Peter Zawadski, an attorney at Walter | Haverfield, Lisa and Miriam review FERPA basics and discuss updated guidance from the Family Policy Compliance Office. This topic is a follow-up to the issues raised in Episode 12 of Season 1.

Season 3: Episode 3: Anonymous Reporting Apps- What Your Districts Need to Know

In the wake of school shootings and similar tragedies, many school districts across the country now offer hotline services where students can submit anonymous tips through an app, and a crisis center evaluates these concerns for bullying, suicidal ideations, or other potential violence. These technological advances come with many benefits for children and parents, but they also present some interesting legal issues for school boards and administrators. For example, can a principal search a student's backpack based on an anonymous tip? What other obligations do school districts have in responding to tips sent to a third-party crisis center? Attorney Peter Zawadski joins Lisa and Miriam in exploring the Fourth Amendment and its legal implications for school districts that use anonymous reporting apps.

Season 3: Episode 4: Booster Groups and School Boards

Booster groups are parent and community-led organizations that support and fundraise for various programs offered by public school districts, such as sports, drama, etc. Some booster groups are official and others are not, but any group's activities can raise challenging legal questions for school boards. Who is liable if a child is injured at a booster group event? Can booster events feature alcohol and gambling? What are Individual Fundraising Accounts and are they even legal? Can students be required to pay a fee if they don't want to sell chocolate door to door? Join Lisa, Miriam, and Peter to learn about booster groups and various federal and state laws that govern these organizations. We also discuss policies and practices that school boards should be implementing when working with booster groups.

Submit comments or questions