First-Ever Endowment For HPISD Special Education Established

The Highland Park Education Foundation (HPEF) announced Thursday the establishment of the first-ever endowed fund for Highland Park ISD’s (HPISD) Special Education Department because of a $100,000 donation from Janelle and Adam Hickey.

Janelle and Adam Hickey moved to the Park Cities with their two children in 2018 and the couple quickly got involved with the school community when Adam served as a volunteer on HPEF’s Finance Committee and then joined the HPEF Board of Directors this 2020-2021 school year.

The Hickeys have one child who receives services from HPISD’s Special Education Department.

“We feel passionate about ensuring the unmet academic needs of students, teachers and administrators in the Special Education Department in HPISD are satisfied for the long-term,” the pair said in a statement.

HPISD’s Special Education Department, led by Dr. Laurie Gagne, serves more than 680 students with disabilities from birth (only hearing and visually impaired students are served at birth) through age 22 (only students with transition needs are served past graduation). 

All seven campuses in HPISD serve students with disabilities through several programs including the SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Committee), 18+ Transition Scots Café/Scottie Treats, which is run by young adults in the program who are 18 to 22 years old and  learning to operate a business that promotes independence while having fun, and Sparkling Scots, which is a group of special-needs students who help bring school spirit to football games and other district events.

“The Hickeys set a remarkable example of commitment and passion for supporting academic excellence in HPISD, honoring the inclusion of every student in HPISD,” said HPEF Executive Director Lauren Holloway. “We are so grateful for this generous gift dedicated to special education.” 

HPEF’s Tartan Endowment holds funds valued over $35 million. To learn more about the Tartan Endowment, visit the website.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *