Susan C. Ferguson, coalition leader

Thursday, March 17, 2011; 6:03 PM

Susan C. Ferguson, 67, who chaired a national organization emphasizing parental involvement in education and who helped establish a foundation for families of children with a genetic disorder, died Feb. 6 at her home in Falls Church. The cause of death was to be determined by the Virginia medical examiner's office.

Since 1994, Ms. Ferguson had led the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, which serves as a clearinghouse for more than 80 organizations and promotes local partnerships to enhance educational opportunities throughout the United States.

In 1991, she helped found the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, an advocacy group for parents of children with the rare genetic developmental disorder.

Susan Crouch was born in Washington and grew up in New Canaan, Conn. She graduated from Syracuse University in 1965 and received a master's degree in special education from the University of Cincinnati in 1970.

She settled in the Washington area in 1972, teaching children with emotional and behavioral disorders at the School for Contemporary Education (now the Phillips School) in Northern Virginia. She later became the school's curriculum supervisor and program director.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Ms. Ferguson was an information specialist and outreach coordinator with the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities.

Ms. Ferguson served on the board of directors of the Arc of Northern Virginia, an advocacy group for people with developmental problems. She also helped develop an educational program in Falls Church public schools to provide improved services for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Her marriage to Mouncey Ferguson II ended in divorce.

Survivors include her husband of 28 years, former Falls Church vice mayor and City Council member Hal Lippman of Falls Church; a son from her first marriage, Mouncey Ferguson III of Los Angeles; a daughter from her second marriage, Danna Lippman of Annandale; two sisters; a brother; a stepsister; and two granddaughters.

- Matt Schudel

© 2011 The Washington Post Company