Michael J. Kennedy

Professor of Education

  • Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2011
  • M.Ed., University of Delaware, 2007
  • M.A., Michigan State University, 2004
  • B.A., Ithaca College, 1998


Michael J. Kennedy is Professor of Special Education in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia.  He is the head of the STORMED Lab (Supporting Teachers through cOaching, obseRvations, and Multimedia to Educate students with Disabilities) please visit: https://education.virginia.edu/faculty-research/centers-labs-projects/research-labs/stormed-lab.  Before completing his Ph.D. at the University of Kansas, he was a high school special education teacher for six years and an elementary level teacher for three years.  Kennedy's main area of research is the design, implementation, and experimental testing of multimedia-based interventions to support pre- and in-service teachers' knowledge and implementation of evidence-based practices.  He has designed and experimentally tested numerous multimedia products intended to support teacher and student outcomes.  Innovations include Content Acquisition Podcasts (CAPs), which are instructional vignettes intended to support teachers’ knowledge and readiness to implement evidence-based and high-leverage practices.  CAPs can also be used to support literacy and content related outcomes for students with high incidence disabilities.  Please visit www.VocabSupport.comwww.SpedIntro.com, and www.highleveragepractices.org to find free resources for teaching and learning.  

In addition, along with Dr. Rachel Kunemund, Kennedy created the COACHED (Capturing Observations and Collaboratively Sharing Educational Data) web app.  COACHED (https://coachedweb.azurewebsites.net) is a free resource to support researchers, teacher educators, school leaders, teachers (pre- and inservice), and other education stakeholders' capacity to document discrete instructional moves during lessons in real time, and immediately translate those data into a customizable coaching/feedback report.  COACHED also contains a self-reflection matrix based on the work of Dr. Sarah Nagro at George Mason University, and on-demand multimeida vignettes for teachers to receive professional development (see https://education.virginia.edu/news/professor-creates-new-app-support-teacher-professional-development and https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/01626434211004121 for more information).  

Kennedy has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles; and, along with colleagues, received a 2018 doctoral level (Project SEEDS, see below) and 2019 masters level (Project VIDEO, see below) training grant from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the U.S. Department of Education.  Kennedy and colleagues have won two grants from OSEP's Stepping Up Technology Implementation competition.  Project VERIFY (2021-2026; see below) and Project S4 (2019-2024; see below) are respectively 5-year, 2.5 million dollar awards to develop and study processes for supporting teacher and school leader implementation of evidence-based multimedia.  In 2019, along with colleagues, Kennedy won a four-year, 1.4 million dollar grant from the Institute for Education Sciences' National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) to develop and test a multimedia professional development process to support teacher candidates' readiness to implement evidence-based multimedia (Project FRaME, see below).  He was an inaugural winner of the early career research and mentoring grant competition from the Institute for Education Sciences in 2013.  He is Co-Editor of Journal of Special Education Technology and Chair-Elect of U.Va’s Faculty Senate (2022-23).  Kennedy was awarded the 2021 TED/Pearson Excellence in Teacher Education Award, and U.Va’s Alumni Board of Trustees Award for excellence in university teaching in 2015. 


Select Publications

(for full list please see linked vita)

VanUitert, V., Kennedy, M. J., Peeples, K., Romig, J., Mathews, H., & Rodgers, W. (2022). Enhancing science performance of students with and without disabilities: Using a multimedia professional development approach.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

Kunemund, R. L., Coleman, O. F., Carlisle, L. M., McDonald, S., Nagro, S., & Kennedy, M. J. (2022). Streamlining observations, feedback, reflection, and professional development: Are you ready to be COACHED?  Journal of Special Education Preparation, 2, 70-79. doi: 10.33043/JOSEP.2.1.70-79openjournals.bsu.edu/JOSEP.

Carlisle, L. M., VanUitert, V., J., Kennedy, M. J., Rodgers, W., Romig, J. E., Mathews, H. M., & Peeples, K. (2022). Intersectionality in inclusive science classrooms: Enhancing student performance via multimedia teacher professional development.  Journal of Special Education Technology. 

Kennedy, M. J., McDonald, S. D., Carlisle, L. M., VanUitert, V., Kunemund, R. (2022). Comparing two established multimedia approaches for teaching vocabulary to students with and without disabilities.  Journal of Special Education Technology.  

Kennedy, M. J., & Romig, J. E. (2021). Cognitive load theory: An applied reintroduction for special and general educators.  Teaching Exceptional Children.  doi: 10.1177/00400599211048214.  

Kunemund, R. L., Kennedy, M. J., Carlisle, L. M., VanUitert, V. J., & McDonald, S. D. (2021). A multimedia option for delivering feedback and professional development to teachers. Journal of Special Education Technology. doi: 10.1177/0162543211004121

Brownell, M. T., Ciullo, S., & Kennedy, M. J. (2020). Teaching students with disabilities—And all students who need a learning boost.  American Educator, 44(4).  Retrieved from: https://www.aft.org/ae/winter2020-2021/brownell_ciullo_kennedy

VanUitert, V. J., Kennedy, M. J., Romig, J. E., & Carlisle, L. M. (2020). Enhancing science vocabulary knowledge of students with learning disabilities using explicit instruction and multimedia.  Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 18(1), 3-25.  

Hirsch, S. E., Lloyd, J. W., & Kennedy, M. J. (2019). Professional development in practice: Improving novice teachers’ use of evidence-based classroom management practices.  Elementary School Journal, 120, 61-87.   

Peeples, K. N., Hirsch, S. E., Gardner, S. J., Keeley, R. G., Sherrow, B. L., McKenzie, J. M., Randall, K. N., Romig, J. E., & Kennedy, M. J. (2019).  Using multimedia instruction and performance feedback to improve preservice teachers’ vocabulary instruction.  Teacher Education & Special Education, 42, 227-245doi: 10.1177/0888406418801913

Pullen, P.C., & Kennedy, M. J. (2019). Handbook of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and Response to Intervention (Eds.).  New York, Routledge.  

Kennedy, M. J., Rodgers, W. J., Romig, J. E., Mathews, H. M., Peeples, K., (2018). Introducing the content acquisition podcast professional development (CAP-PD) process: Supporting vocabulary instruction for inclusive middle school science teachers.  Teacher Education & Special Education, 41, 140-157doi: 10.1177/0888406417745655

Kennedy, M. J., Rodgers, W. J., Romig, J. E., Lloyd, J. W., & Brownell, M. T. (2017). The impact of a multimedia professional development package on inclusive science teachers’ vocabulary instruction.  Journal of Teacher Education, 68, 213-230.  doi: 10.1177/0022487116687554

Kennedy, M. J., Hirsch, S. E., Rodgers, W. J., Bruce, A., & Lloyd, J. W. (2017). Supporting high school teachers’ implementation of evidence-based classroom management practices. Teaching and Teacher Education. 63, 47-57. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2016.12.009

McLeskey, J., Barringer, M-D., Billingsley, B., Brownell, M., Jackson, D., Kennedy, M., Lewis, T., Maheady, L., Rodriguez, J., Scheeler, M. C., Winn, J., & Ziegler, D. (2017, January). High-leverage practices in special education. Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children & CEEDAR Center.  © 2017 CEC & CEEDAR. 

Kennedy, M. J., Wagner, D., Stegall, J., Lembke, E., Miciak, J., Alves, K. D., Brown, T., Driver, M. K., & Hirsch, S. E. (2016). Using content acquisition podcasts to improve teacher candidate knowledge and application of curriculum-based measurement. Exceptional Children, 82, 303-320. doi: 10.1177/0014402915615885

Kennedy, M. J., Deshler, D. D., & Lloyd, J. W. (2015).  Effects of multimedia vocabulary instruction on adolescents with learning disabilities.  Journal of Learning Disabilities, 48, 22-38.  doi: 10.1177/0022219413487406

Kennedy, M. J., Thomas, C. N., Aronin, S., Newton, J. R., & Lloyd, J. W. (2014).  Improving teacher candidate knowledge using content acquisition podcasts. Computers & Education70, 116-127. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2013.08.010

Kennedy, M. J., Thomas, C. N., Meyer, J. P., Alves, K. D., & Lloyd, J. W. (2014). Using evidence-based multimedia to improve vocabulary performance of adolescents with LD. Learning Disability Quarterly, 37, 71-86. doi: 10.1177/0731948713507262


Funded Grant Activity:

Project VERIFY

The primary focus of Project VERIFY (Value Added Through E-Coaching, Reflection, Instructional Technology, Feedback, and You) is to support school leaders (e.g., principals, instructional coaches, and teacher leaders) in providing professional development (PD) and data-based feedback to teachers of students with disabilities.  Over the course of Project VERIFY we will work with elementary school leaders to use the COACHED app (Capturing Observations and Collaboratively sHaring Educational Data) to support educator implementation of academic vocabulary instruction to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.  VERIFY is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs within the Department of Education.  Dr. Michael Kennedy is Principal Investigator for the project.  He is joined by colleagues Dr. Peter Youngs, Dr. Rachel Kunemund, Dr. Stephanie Morano, and Dr. Colby Hall all from U.Va, and Dr. Sarah Nagro from  George Mason University.  This is a 5-year (2021-2026), 2.5 million dollar project. 

Project VERIFY is funded by a grant from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the U.S. Department of Education (#H327S210007).  The Principal Investigator is Dr. Michael Kennedy, the Co-Principal Investigators are Dr. Sarah Nagro (George Mason University), and from U.Va Drs. Peter Youngs, Rachel Kunemund, Stephanie Morano, and Colby Hall.  

Project S4

The overarching purpose of Project S4 (Supporting Student Science Success Through Multimedia Learning and Teacher Professional Development) is to improve academic achievement for middle school students with disabilities, thus helping them prepare for rigorous high school coursework and beyond.  Through all aspects of this project, students with disabilities (SWD), English Leaners (ELs), and others who are at-risk for these challenges will gain access to evidence-based instructional technology through a series of multimedia modules intended to boost understanding of core concepts in science courses.  Specifically, students will use content acquisition podcasts (see www.vocabsupport.com for samples), and visualizations and simulations of science concepts (phet.colorado.edu) to improve overall science performance.  Teachers will receive professional development in part using the Classroom Teaching (CT) Scan (www.thectscan.com) and multimedia modules (see www.spedintro.com).  

Project Sis a 5-year (2019-2024), 2.5 million dollar grant funded by OSEP within the U.S. Department of Education (#H327S190004).  The Principal Investigator is Dr. Michael Kennedy, the Co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Jennie Chiu, and the project Investigator is Dr. Bill Therrien.  

Project FRaME (Using Feedback, Reflection, and Multimedia to Teach Evidence-Based Practices in Classroom Management)

Project FRaME (Using Feedback, Reflection, and Multimedia to teach Evidence-based practices in classroom management) is a collaboration between the STORMED Lab at U.Va (Dr. Michael Kennedy, PI), Clemson University (Dr. Shanna Hirsch, Co-PI), and George Mason University (Dr. Sarah Nagro, Co-PI) and funded by the National Center on Special Education Research within the Institute for Education Sciences (#R324A200061).  The primary outcome and goal is to develop a multimedia, multicomponent instructional approach (FRaME) for use in teacher preparation coursework and field placements.  We will work with approximately 30 teacher preparation institutions around the country to iteratively develop and test FRaME and its capacity to support teacher candidates' knowledge and implementation of tier 1 classroom management practices.  

Project VIDEO

A Master’s Degree Program in Special Education Available at the University of Virginia

Funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)

Do you have a bachelor’s degree and thought about becoming a special education teacher?  Do you have an interest in learning how to teach students to read?  Project VIDEO could be for you!  We have funding to provide $12,000 fellowships to well-qualified individuals seeking to become special education teachers or speech-language pathologists who will work in schools. 

The purpose of Project VIDEO (Virginia Intensification for Individuals with Dyslexia who need Explicitness and Ongoing Tiered Supports) is to collaboratively prepare special education teachers alongside speech-language pathologists (SLPs).  This project is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the U.S. Department of Education (Grant # H325K190048).  The successful completion of this project will contribute to OSEP Director Laurie VanderPloeg’s call to attract, prepare, and retain effective personnel in special education.   Like most states, Virginia (VA) has a critical shortage of certified special educators and SLPs; this shortage contributes to students with disabilities (SWD) experiencing among the worst academic outcomes of any student group (Virginia Department of Education, 2019). 

Funded scholars in project VIDEO will either be enrolled in U.Va’s post-graduate masters of teaching program that leads to state licensure as a special educator (K-12), or U.Va’s communication disorders master’s degree program that leads to licensure as a SLP.  The scholars selected from among the two programs will complete their respective programs, but also share coursework and aligned practice-based opportunities in shared field experiences.  The two programs have separate application processes and requirements. 

The first VIDEO scholars from special education will enroll in June of 2020 and complete their masters/licensure program in May of 2021 (11-month program).  The first VIDEO scholars in the SLP program will enroll in June of 2020 and graduate in December of 2022 (2.5-year program).  Subsequent scholars will follow the same sequence for the duration of project funding.  We aim to use project funds to support a total of 75 future professionals (15 professionals/year x 5 years) who serve VA students with dyslexia and other disabilities.  Each will receive a $12,000 fellowship to help address financial barriers to entering the field.  The fellowship will be applied directly to the student account.  Other fellowships, scholarships and awards are also available.  Scholars who accept funding from the federal government are expected to work with students with disabilities in schools for at two years for every one year they accept funding.  

Questions?  Email Project Director Dr. Michael Kennedy at mjk3p@virginia.edu Apply today!  Co-Principal Investigators on the project are Dr. LaVae Hoffman, Dr. Lysandra Cook, and Dr. Emily Solari.

Special Education Teachers for the Future (SEEDS)

A Ph.D. Program in Special Education Available at the University of Virginia

Funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)

The SEEDS program is currently filled.  Please contact Dr. Kennedy for other opportunities for doctoral funding.