April 3, 2018

The National School Boards Association’s Council of School Attorneys (COSA) will present its Lifetime Achievement Award to James C. Hanks on April 7, 2018. The award will be given at the morning general session of COSA’s 2018 School Law Seminar in San Antonio, Texas.

Hanks has devoted his career to the development of education law, responsible public employment law, and due process. He has been a COSA member for 30 years, served on the COSA board from 1984-1995 and chaired the organization from 1991-1992. He continued his leadership and contributions to public education in his practice as a leader, speaker, author, and resource for clients and for other professional organizations at the state and national level.

Hanks has been a frequent and popular speaker and writer on education and employment law topics at state and national forums, including COSA and National School Boards Association programs. In 2017, he participated in COSA’s 50th Anniversary celebration program and presented "The Law of Leave: How the Federal Framework Affects Employment Decisions in Public Schools."

Hanks is a member at the Ahlers & Cooney law firm in Des Moines, Iowa and has served as chair of the firm's Education Law practice area, which represents over 250 Iowa K-12 school districts, area education agencies, community colleges, colleges and universities.

Two of the COSA members who practice with Hanks, Danielle Haindfield and Drew Bracken, will offer remarks at the awards presentation, Saturday, April 7 at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter.

“We are proud to honor Jim for his years of service to our organization, and the school law community at large,” said COSA Chair Pilar Sokol. “Jim has contributed greatly to the evolution of school law, by leading, writing articles and presenting for COSA, and by active legal advocacy at the state level.”

“Jim has been supporting the work of school attorneys and the school boards they serve, through COSA, for years,” continued Sokol. “Our members have reaped the benefit of his wisdom; we are so pleased to be able to offer a small token of our appreciation.”

“I have belonged to a number of legal organizations, but no group of lawyers has ever been more collegial and helpful to me than the lawyers of COSA,” Hanks said. “The strength of COSA is derived from a focus on thoughtful research and advocacy and a willingness to embrace all points of view. It is a great honor to me to receive this award from school lawyers that I hold in the highest regard.”

For more information about COSA, visit www.nsba.org/cosa.


The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA believes education is a civil right necessary to the dignity and freedom of the American people, and all children should have equal access to an education that maximizes his or her individual potential. The association represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. www.nsba.org

Formed in 1967, the NSBA Council of School Attorneys (COSA) provides information and practical assistance to attorneys who represent public school districts. It offers legal education, specialized publications, and a forum for exchange of information, and it supports the legal advocacy efforts of the National School Boards Association.  www.nsba.org/cosa

Hanks, James


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