My interest in the field of special education began when I was a teenager and I toured a mental institution. That experience left me shocked and dismayed. I knew even then that the living condition that those individuals existed in was simply not right and that there had to be a better way.
I began studying general and special education as an undergraduate at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI and soon after graduation, I moved to Colorado and began teaching in the Boulder Valley School District. It didn't take me long to realized that the demands of job, called for more skill so I commuted to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO and earned a Masters degree. When the opportunity to pursue a doctorate in the area of severe needs came my way, I packed my bags and headed to the University of Pittsburgh.
The idea of studying ways that individuals with disabilities can be meaningfully included in schools and the communities became a natural fit for what I knew I needed to do. I've come to appreciate that making this a reality rests with the knowledge and understanding the teachers and students in today's classrooms hold. The merged teacher preparation program at CU Denver represents many of the hopes that I brought to the School of Education & Human Development. That is, I hoped that my two passions - special and general education teacher preparation would become more tightly aligned so that practitioners in our schools would be better prepared to teach the increasingly diverse student populations that characterize our public schools, particularly in urban areas like Denver.
My students at University of Colorado Denver:
As a teacher educator, my role is to guide students in gaining the knowledge, understandings and skills necessary to be professional instructors, leaders and advocates for all students in today's diverse schools. To fill this role, my responsibility is to be a knowledgeable and approachable model, mentor and resource. I appreciate that teaching and learning are highly complex and that teachers operate in an ever-changing context of decision-making. Given the complexities of today's school, I am intentional about selecting and bringing diverse experiences, valuable activities, and meaningful content into my teaching and mentoring. I am humbled by the commitment that my students bring to my classroom and am honored to be a part of their development as teachers that will truly make a difference.
Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development:
- Negotiating the Classroom Culture with Children: IPTE 5120/5121
- Advanced Seminar in Special Education: SPED 5400
- Instructional Strategies for Students with Special Needs: SPED 5010
- Internship and Seminar in Special Education: SPED 5910/5911/5912/5913
- Internship and Seminar in General Education: IPTE 5910/5911/5912/5913
My research interests:
My concerns about the attitudes that teachers hold regarding issues of responsive teaching practices has led to a series of investigations of teachers' beliefs towards addressing the educational needs of learners from diverse backgrounds and with diverse needs.
Give me some time with my cookbooks and I'm off to the kitchen. I love trying new recipes and am quick to invent my own as well. I enjoy reading and I particularly look forward to the insights that friends in my book club bring to every discussion we have. Traveling with my family is a top priority and together we never tire of beauty of southwest.
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