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DDEL Executive Board

Current DDEL Board Members

Dosun Ko

Dosun Ko, PhD is an assistant professor in the School of Education at Wichita State University (WSU). Formerly, he worked as an inclusive elementary classroom teacher in South Korea. As an immigrant scholar, his scholarship centers primarily on equity issues in special/inclusive education at the intersection of different social markers. He has been working with a school community to design and implement a culturally responsive behavioral support system to address racial disproportionality in school discipline that American Indian youth and community experience at a rural High School. He is currently working with Wichita Public Schools (USD-259) to design and enact culturally sustaining, inclusive support systems for addressing racial disproportionality in special education. He serves as a director of research-practice partnerships at the WSU Center for Educational Research and Evaluation Services.

Christopher Cormier

Christopher J. Cormier, PhD is an Associate Professor in the School of Education (Special Education Program) at Loyola Marymount University. He is a former special education teacher in the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area. He has taught all grades from first through 12th exclusively in Title 1 schools. His research program is the social and cultural contexts of minoritized learners and teachers in special education. Under this overarching theme, he examines two lines of scholarship. The first is surrounding the professional and socio-emotional lives of minoritized teachers. The second is around culturally informed identification of minoritized students in special education. Dr. Cormier brings a comparative lens across national and international contexts to both of his research lines.


Julie Esparza Brown, EdD

Julie Esparza Brown, EdD is a professor of Special Education at Portland State University where her teaching, research, and publications focus on the intersection of language, dis/ability, race, and culture, and she is a passionate advocate for equity in education. Prior to joining PSU, she worked in public schools as a special, bilingual, and bilingual special education teacher and a school psychologist. Dr. Brown recently completed a four-year term as an elected school board member for the largest school district in Oregon.  Currently, she is Principal Investigator of a personnel preparation grant through the Office of English Language Acquisition to prepare diverse special educators and to improve literacy outcomes for multilingual students.  Dr. Brown recently completed work as Principal Investigator on a model demonstration grant funded through the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Programs that investigated culturally and linguistically responsive literacy interventions within an MTSS framework for English learner students at-risk for or with disabilities ( Her current co-authored book, Supporting English Learners in the Classroom: Distinguishing Language Acquisition from Learning Disabilities (Haas & Brown, 2019) is available through Teachers College Press.  

Choiseul Praslin

Belkis Choiseul-Praslin, PhD is the Special Education program lead and Assistant Professor at the University of the Pacific. She has been a DDEL member since 2017 and executive board member since 2018. Her research interests include assessment validation for linguistically diverse students with disabilities and special education teacher preparation.









Dr. Cristina Santamria Graff

Cristina Santamaría Graff, PhD is an Associate Professor of Special Education, Urban Teacher Education and is serving as Interim Assistant Dean of Student Support and Diversity in the School of Education at IUPUI. She has expertise in bilingual/multicultural special education and applies her skills in working with Latinx immigrant families of children with dis/abilities in family-centered projects. Her scholarship focuses on ways community-engaged partnerships with families and other stakeholders can transform inequitable practices impacting youth with disabilities at the intersections of race, class, and other identity markers of difference. Specifically, her work focuses on an approach known as “Family as Faculty” (FAF), a strategy in special education programs that positions community stakeholders’ knowledge and knowledge-making as central to the process of transforming systems.





Kathleen A. King Thorius, PhD is an Associate Professor in Urban Teacher Education at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. Her research is concerned with educational access, participation, and outcomes for students, with particular attention to the ways in which systemic factors, including educational policy and educators practices, converge in classrooms to shape the experiences of underrepresented students, including those identified with disabilities. More specifically, her research agenda centers on two interconnected arenas within educational systems that impact student experiences: ways in which underrepresented and diverse student groups are represented in educational research and policy language, and teachers professional learning for equity. This first strand of research is centered around the examination of local school factors that shape the ways in which federal, state, and school district policy converge in schools as educators implement a shift in the way that students are identified for special education: Response to Intervention.




Seena M. Skelton, PhD  is Director of Operations for the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center.  As Director of Operations, she works in collaboration with the Center’s executive director to plan, direct, and manage projects and services offered to state and local education agencies throughout the Center’s thirteen-state region. Dr. Skelton has worked as an educational consultant for a regional special education resource center in southwest Ohio, a lead consultant for three state-wide school improvement initiatives funded by the Ohio Department of Education, and as a co-director of professional learning and technical assistance at the Equity Alliance at Arizona State University and assistant director of professional learning and technical assistance at the Great Lakes Equity Center in the Indiana University School of Education-IUPUI.  


Martin Odima Jr., MA, is a Special Education Teacher Coach in Minnesota's Saint Paul Public School (SPPS) District. He is an Adjunct Faculty at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He studied psychology at the University of Minnesota and completed his master’s in special education at the University of St. Thomas. His scholarly interests focus on educational equity, inclusive practices for students with disabilities, and retention of teachers of color. His publications include a chapter focusing on teaching strategies for special education teachers to thrive and persist in the field. Also, Martin has written several journal articles about building culturally sustaining practices within school communities.







Tammy Ellis-Robinson

Tammy Ellis Robinson, PhD is an assistant professor co-appointed in the Division of Special Education and Educational Psychology and Methodology, Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at the University at Albany. Prior to joining the faculty, she was a special education teacher for students with a range of disabilities in an urban high school and worked in theater education with adults and children with and without disabilities through the Arts Center of the Capital Region and the Center for Disabilities and the ARC of Rensselaer County. As a member of the faculty in the Division of Special Education, Tammy teaches a number of methods courses for pre-service special education candidates.   Her research and community engagement efforts and interests include empowering student, teacher, and community voices through writing and write to learn instructional methods, equity and social justice across the lifespan.  She has been a member of CEC since 2011, serves on the New York State Executive Committee and is excited to join DDEL’s leadership team.

MiIsha Reid

MiIsha Reid, PhD is an Assistant Professor in special education at Carlow University. She served as a second-grade teacher for three years in the Pittsburgh area. Her research addresses racial disparities in school disciplinary practices and the applications of culturally responsive-sustaining pedagogy with classroom management. She is currently examining the impact of culturally responsive-sustaining pedagogical training on novice special education teachers positive and negative interactions with students.






Wendy Rodgers, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. As a researcher, she focuses on teacher preparation and professional development, classroom observation, and collaboration to support inclusion in K-12 schools. As a teacher educator, she prepares undergraduate and graduate students for their roles as educators, advocates, and change agents. She welcomes this opportunity to more actively support DDEL’s work through her role as the Publications Committee chair.






William Proffitt

William Proffitt, Ph.D., is a Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education, Urban Teacher Education in the School of Education at IUPUI. He served the community of Richmond, Virginia as a special education teacher, teaching English in both inclusive and self-contained learning environments. Broadly, his research centers on advancing emancipation and inclusion for students from historically marginalized backgrounds. Specifically, he explores the identities and lived experiences of Black boys with and without disability labels and those with whom Black boys co-construct the world (e.g., teachers, family members, and peers) to improve Black boys' schooling experiences and post-school outcomes.




Sarah Salinas

Sarah M. Salinas, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at Minnesota State University, Mankato. As a Critical Special and Inclusive Education Researcher, she focuses on the sociocultural context of special education policy and practices related to two stands: 1) Literacy instruction and interventions to support English learners with learning disabilities, and 2) Issues related to the least restrictive environment and transformative/inclusive education for culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional learners, particularly Mexican American and other Latinx students with disabilities. As a Special Education Teacher Educator, she prepares pre-and-in-service special education teachers to use research-and-evidence-based practices for practical, cultural, and linguistically responsive teaching of K-12 students with disabilities with mild to moderate disabilities. Her professional background includes teaching in Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

Endia Lindo

Endia J. Lindo, PhD is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Texas Christian University, core faculty in the Alice Neeley Special Education Research and Service (ANSERS) Institute and Past president of DDEL (2020). Dr. Lindo worked as an elementary resource teacher prior to earning her Ph.D. in Special Education from Vanderbilt University and completing an Institute of Education Science (IES) Postdoctoral Fellowship at Georgia State University. She has been a member of CEC for over 20 years. In addition to serving on DDEL’s executive board, she is currently program chair for CEC’s social justice initiative project 20/20, and serves on the editorial board for Intervention in Schools and Clinics, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Learning Disability Quarterly, Multicultural Learning and Teaching, Multiple Voices-Disability, Race, and Language Intersection in Special Education, and Review of Educational Research. Dr. Lindo’s scholarship focuses on improving the reading comprehension of students with learning difficulties and disabilities by examining approaches for implementing and enhancing school and community-based interventions and increasing the teaching and cultural competence of our teaching force.

Dr. Ruby Batz

Ruby Batz, PhD taught preschool and kindergarten for three years and spent five years working as a special education teacher for students with significant disabilities in Guatemala prior to earning my Ph.D. in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Oregon. I am a transdisciplinary scholar, and currently a new assistant professor of special education at the University of Nevada, Reno. My research centers around exploring the intersection of race/ethnicity, dis/ability, and language in the implementation of family engagement practices. My focus inspires three main lines of research: (1) studies of parenting interventions and parent engagement; (2) studies of how social inequalities impact families, children, and providers; and (3) studies of teacher preparation.

Latasha Schraeder

Latasha Schraeder, EdD currently serves as principal for Hammitt Elementary School, a non-public therapeutic day school, serving students from more than 30 counties with Autism, communication and behavior disorders in Normal, Illinois. Upon leaving the classroom and before her current role as principal she served as a school building administrator as well as an assistant superintendent of pupil services. She is also a motivational speaker and change agent.

Dr. Sean Mcdonald

Sean McDonald is a PhD. student in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education department at the University of Virginia’s School of Education and Human Development. He also completed both his Bachelor’s and Masters of Teaching degree in K-12 Special Education and Secondary Social Studies Education at the University of Virginia. Prior to becoming a Ph.D. student, he assumed multiple positions as a Special Education teacher, Social Studies teacher, and instructional coach across elementary, middle, and high school public settings for seven years. Sean’s research interests include: (a) academic literacy interventions for adolescents with learning disabilities in inclusive settings; (b) culturally and linguistically diverse student outcomes; and (c) multimedia technology.  


Dana Page

Dana Page is a PhD student in Curriculum and Instruction in Special Education at the University of Louisville in Louisville Kentucky. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education at Eastern Kentucky University and her master’s degree in Special Education at Georgetown College. Prior to becoming a doctoral student, she served as a Special Education teacher in self-contained and resource classrooms working with students with emotional behavior disorders. Dana’s research interests are about the overrepresentation and overidentification of black students with emotional behavior disorders in special education and their academic and behavioral outcomes.

Allison Gunter, PhD is the Owner and Lead Consultant for Perspectives Educational Consulting Group where her work focuses on understanding and supporting racially, culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse children and youth, equity in education, and closing the opportunity gap by exploring the facilitators of and addressing the barriers to access, resources, and supports to high quality learning experiences. In addition to being the Founder of Perspectives, Dr. Gunter also works with schools, districts and teacher preparation programs in preparing educators to bridge the gap from research to practice and understand the impact of culture, and academic and nonacademic factors on the academic and social-emotional development of students.  

Last Updated:  31 May, 2023

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