Special Education Faculty and Staff


Catherine BradshawCatherine Bradshaw

Professor; Senior Associate Dean for Research & Faculty Development

  • Ph.D., Cornell University, 2004
  • M.Ed., University of Georgia, 1999
  • B.A. University of Richmond, 1997

Bryan CookBryan Cook

Professor of Education

  • Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1997
  • M.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1994
  • B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1990

Lysandra CookLysandra Cook

Professor of Education

  • Ph.D., Kent State University, 2007
  • M.Ed., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1999
  • B.A. (Hons.), University of California, Santa Barbara, 1991

Youjia HuaYoujia Hua

Associate Professor of Education

  • Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2008
  • M.B.A., Gannon University, 2004
  • M.S., Mercyhurst College, 2002
  • B.A., Shanghai University, 1999

Michael_Kennedy 225.jpgMichael 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

Stephanie MoranoStephanie Morano

Assistant Professor

  • Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2017
  • M.S., The City University of New York, 2009
  • B.A., Montclair State University, 2006

Therrien-Bill 225.jpgWilliam J Therrien 

Thomas G. Jewell Professor of Education

  • Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2004
  • M.Ed., Arizona State University, 1998
  • B.A., The Pennsylvania State University, 1993

CISE Faculty

Mandy RispoliMandy Rispoli

Quantitative Foundation Bicentennial Professor

  • PhD, University of Texas at Austin
  • MEd, University of Texas at Austin
  • BA, University of Virginia

LaRon ScottLaRon Scott

CISE Department

Research Faculty and Staff

Olivia ColemanOlivia Coleman

Project Manager

  • Ph.D., Special Education, University of Utah

Rachel KunemundRachel Kunemund

Research Assistant Professor

  • Ph.D., Special Education and Disability Policy, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • M.Ed., Special Education Severe Disabilities, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • B.S., Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University

Staff-Adjunct Professors

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Roberta Gentry, Ph.D.

  • B.A. Psychology, University of Mary Baldwin
  • M.T. Elementary Education and Special Education, University of Virginia
  • Ph.D. Education - Special Education Disability and Leadership, Virginia Commonwealth University

In addition to her role as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Education, Roberta Gentry is currently an Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning at Virginia State University. Prior to these roles, Roberta served as Assistant Professor at the University of Mary Washington, the Coordinator of Assessment and Remediation at Chesterfield County Public Schools and the Lead Teacher Specialist - Special Education at Hanover County Public Schools.

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H. Nicole Myers-Mitchell, Ph.D.

  • B.A. Psychology, George Mason University
  • M.T. Special Education, University of Virginia
  • Ph.D.Special Education and Doctoral Minor in Counseling and Development, George Mason University

H. Nicole Myers-Mitchell is a lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Education. She previously served as the Adapted Curriculum Program Coordinator and Tenured Associate Professor at University of Mary Washington, an Assistant Professor at Bridgewater College and the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. H. Nicole Myers-Mitchell is a former Elementary and Special Education Specialist. She served in this role at Spotsylvania County Public Schools and St. Mary's County Public Schools.

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Daniel T. Pollitt, Ph.D.

  • Bachelor's: University of Wisconsin-Madison; Child Development
  • Master's: Minnesota State University, Mankato; Specific Learning Disabilities
  • Doctor of Philosophy: University of Kansas; Special Education, Adolescent Literacy, Research

In addition to his role as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Education, Daniel Pollitt is an MTSS Facilitatory at Eisenhower Middle School-Kansas City Kansas Public Schools. Prior to these roles, Daniel served as a Research Project Manager for SWIFT-FIA & SWIFT-FIT, a California SUMS Facilitator at the SWIFT Education Center, and a 4-8 grade teacher at Horizon Academy. 

Patricia Crawford, Ph.D.

  • B.S. Psychology, Louisiana State University
  • M.Ed. Special Education, George State University
  • Ph.D. Special Education, University of Virginia

Mira Williams, Ph.D.

  • Ph.D., Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, University of Virginia
  • M.A.T., Early Childhood Developmental Risk, University of Virginia
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Virginia

Jennifer Gelman, Ph.D.

  • B.A. Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • M.A. Special Education, San Diego State University
  • Ph.D. Special Education, University of Virginia

Staff-Doctoral Students/Instructors

Susan Aigotti

Lindsay Carlisle

After graduating with her B.S. in Elementary Education and additional certification in Special Education from Lebanon Valley College in 2012, Lindsay Carlisle spent 7 years of as a special education teacher in collaborative and self-contained math classrooms across grades 6, 7, and 8 in Pennsylvania and Virginia. After attaining her M.S. in Special Education from Longwood University in 2018, Lindsay became increasingly interested in supporting special educators’ use of evidence-based practices, leading to her pursuit of doctoral studies and research. Currently, Lindsay is a first-year doctoral student in the Curry School of Education & Human Development at the University of Virginia. Her specific research interests include improving the effectiveness of preservice and in-service teachers of students with emotional and behavioral disorders by increasing their knowledge of, and ability to apply, evidence-based practices. Working with Michael Kennedy as her advisor, she is interested in using multimedia learning tools (Content Acquisition Podcasts with Embedded Modeling Videos) and performance feedback (Classroom Teaching Scan) to provide access to, and support with implementing, evidence-based practices among teachers of this student population.

Jesse Fleming

Jesse Fleming is a first-year doc student at the University of Virginia studying special education. Before coming to Curry, Jesse was a high school instructional coach for a fully inclusive school for students with autism. Jesse also has taught English and history internationally, worked with students with moderate and intensive needs in a self-contained classroom, taught high school history, and high school special education. Jesse’s advisor is Bryan Cook and together they are examining ways to better understand and apply journal impact factor, open access and preprint policies, and the tenants of open science in the field of special education. Jesse is also interested in improving academic and social outcomes for students with autism through the application of evidence-based practices to the general education setting.

Mary Margaret Hughes

Mary Margaret is a doctoral student in special education at the University of Virginia working with Dr. William Therrien and the STAR (Supporting Transformative Autism Research) group.  She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from Virginia Tech and a Master’s in Special Education from The University of Virginia. Mary Margaret has worked with people with disabilities across the lifespan, in a variety of settings from residential group homes to private and public schools.  She taught special education for a combined 14 years in functional skills classrooms, as a general special education teacher, and most recently in a resource room for elementary students with autism. For many of her years of teaching, Mary Margaret also held leadership roles, including Assistant Clinical Coordinator at a private ABA school for students with Autism and as Special Education Team Leader in local public schools.  Her research interests include addressing barriers to inclusion in standards based general education curriculum for students with Intellectual Disability and autism.

Sean McDonald

In the spring of 2014, Sean completed his Bachelor’s and Masters of Teaching degrees at the University of Virginia as part of the Education School’s accelerated B/MT program. After graduation, Sean continued his local residency in Charlottesville, serving the Charlottesville City Schools Division as both a teacher and instructional coach for seven years. During these years, Sean assumed multiple positions, including middle school special education teacher and social studies collaborative teacher. As he became increasingly curious about helping students and teachers on a larger scale, Sean transitioned to becoming an instructional coach, where he worked with principals, content specialists, and district coordinators to implement curricula and professional development for teachers from a variety of grade levels and subject areas. Being exposed to this macro perspective of teaching and learning ultimately fueled Sean’s aspirations to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. He is currently a doctoral student with a special education concentration in the University of Virginia School of Education & Human Development. His specific research interests include evidence-based practices in vocabulary instruction to support teachers and students with disabilities in inclusion settings. In addition, Sean is interested in research that addresses attrition and retention for special educators of color and implementing professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers that work in K-12 public school settings.

Alan McLucas

Suzanne Spicer

Danielle Waterfield

Danielle completed her Master of Teaching in Special and Elementary Education in December 2015 from the University of Virginia. Eager to begin her career as an educator in central Virginia, she took a paraprofessional job mid-year in the 2015-2016 school year where she provided one-on-one academic and behavioral supports. She then transitioned into a middle school special education teacher role for the next two years where she taught in self-contained and co-taught in collaborative settings. In June 2018, Danielle moved to New Orleans, Louisiana and began teaching in an elementary special education teacher role. During her time in this role, she became interested in the implementation of evidence-based practices along with school staff knowledge of best practices in general and special education. Danielle then began a two-year long special education leadership fellowship from SELF, a New Orleans-based educational organization created to meet the need for high-quality special educational programming in schools, while she was still teaching, but then transitioned out of the classroom into a school administrator role in her second year of the fellowship. As an administrator, Danielle was in charge of all academic and behavior intervention as well as identification of students with disabilities for the K-8 school she helped lead. From these experiences in her educational career, Danielle has become increasingly interested in evidence-based practices, equity, data, and transparency in education, particularly in regards to students with disabilities and students of other marginalized populations. She is currently a doctoral student pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Virginia with a concentration in special education.