Jana Stokes is a former educator and Special Education and Homeless Advocate. She has worked collaboratively with educators, Student Support Teams (SST), liaisons and parents to provide opportunities to service the whole student’s individual achievement. With an abundance of knowledge for McKinney Veto and IDEA/FAPE requirements, she helps parents and students with special education needs develop effective Individualized Education Programs. She is a relentless advocate for students and an expert in ensuring legal compliance for special education students as the President & CEO of Special Education Advocacy and Consulting, LLC and Ryan’s Gift of Advocacy and Consulting, Inc. Company. Jana was born in Selma, Alabama and lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She attended Fort Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree and masters of science degree.

A saying that every cloud has a silver lining seems very true in the story of Jana Stokes. Instead of giving up and being discouraged, difficulties she’d gone through motivated her to start helping others. A few years ago started a non-profit named Ryan’s Gift of Advocacy, the goal of which is to provide advocacy, education and financial assistance to families and students, who are homeless and children who have learning disabilities and health disorders, from birth to age 21. RGOA provides advocacy to families and children in foster care, group homes, veterans, military children and homeless shelters, helping them to have the resources they need to grow. So far Stokes has helped more than 100 families from Georgia and nearby states.

“Jana has been an absolute gift to me and my family,” said Kathryn Renaud, diagnosed with autism. “She has helped me get better school accommodations, a scholarship, and even better testing options. My mother and I both know I would not have been able to navigate Mercer University without Jana Stokes. So, I appreciate her helping me fight for my opportunities and giving me the support that I needed to make it through college.”

“The underprivileged need to have a voice, that’s why I am here,” said Stokes. “My advocacy is set up a little different because I advocate for homeless and disabled. I help kids from birth to college because the school system does not help them until they are age three. her to Atlanta. So I wanted to come back here and work with kids to get them assistance they need to be complete.” 

“Whatever it takes to win, that’s what I do. I treat my clients as I would my daughter,” she said. “I have a daughter with a learning disability, and am a former teacher. Working with disabled children and homeless, I am putting together two things that are my passion.”

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Coach Nikki Zeigler

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