My interest in special education began during my high school years when I did volunteer work. A friend of mine told me about some work she was doing with a young boy with significant support needs - and it sounded interesting. The family needed help with their son, so they asked for community volunteers to go to their home and help care for their son, Keith. I would go once a week for a few hours and read to Keith while his family ran errands - or just had a little break. After this experience, I wanted to explore a career in physical therapy, speech / language therapy, or special education.
After graduating from high school I was fortunate enough to get a job close to home as a teacher's assistant working with students who were deaf and blind. We had 7 students in the class - Each student had the undivided attention of a teaching assistant all day. I worked with a 12 yr old boy named Wilfredo. He taught me how to teach! I was hooked and started my undergraduate work at William Paterson College in special and general education the next year.
Over the next 15 years I taught students with various abilities in public and private schools all over the country - and even abroad. I wanted to increase my knowledge and skill level so I decided to go back to school for a Masters degree with a concentration in gifted education. It was during this time that I began to explore the underrepresentation of certain populations (students with disabilities, English language learners, students of color) in gifted programs and wanted to know more.
My students at University of Colorado Denver:
I am passionate about my work in preparing future teachers. I hope that students leave my class with a greater appreciation of the power their words and actions will have on their students - and a deeper understanding of how their students live up to - or down to the expectations they hold.
Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development:
- Transition/Secondary Issues in Special Education - SPED 5500
- Psychology of the Gifted, Talented / Creative Children - ESPY 5182 (Spring)
- Collaboration in Schools and Communities - SPED 5300
- Teaching for the Success of All Adolescents / Children - SPED 5111
My research interests:
- Effects of disability labels on teachers' referrals to gifted programs
- Effects of race, ethnicity, gender, and English language proficiency on teachers' referrals to gifted programs
- Underrepresentation of teachers of color
I studied pottery years ago when I had more time to devote to hobbies. For now, whatever free time I do have, I enjoy with my husband and 15 year old son at our house in the mountains.
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