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Mary Duerksen graduated from Central Michigan University with a BA in Secondary Education. After teaching high school English and yearbook journalism, she joined an educational software company as an education consultant providing professional development to teachers, curriculum alignment and implementation planning with school district stakeholders.

A resident of Ann Arbor and mother of four, Mary was introduced to special education when her son began receiving services at the age of 3 months. He is deaf, has Charge Syndrome, is on the autism spectrum, and is currently receiving post-secondary special education services.  She joined the Ann Arbor Public Schools’ Parent Advisory Committee for Special Education in 2013, served as the co-chair for three years, and currently serves as chair. Mary has developed a productive relationship with AAPS administrators while advocating on behalf of parents for systemic improvement and coordinating parent education opportunities.

In addition to their son, Mary and her husband are the parents of three daughters. She has very basic American Sign Language proficiency.