Special Education Faculty and Staff


Cook_Lysandra_225.jpgLysandra Cook

Special Education Program Coordinator, Associate 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

Michael_Kennedy 225.jpgMichael J. Kennedy 

Associate 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

Therrien-Bill 225.jpgWilliam J Therrien 

Associate Professor of Education

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

Cook_Bryan_225.jpgBryan Cook

Associate 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

Morano_Stephanie 225.jpgStephanie Morano 

Associate Professor of Education

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

Hua_225.jpgYoujia 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

Staff-Adjunct Professors

Gentry Headshot.jpg

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.

Myers 225.jpg

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.

Pollitt 225.jpg

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

Anna Moriah Myers-

Anna is a doctoral student in the department of Curriculum Instruction and Special Education.  She is also working on the Reading Specialist Certification.  Anna received her Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature along with her Masters is Special and Elementary Education from U.Va. in 2000.  Upon completion of her doctorate, she will be a triple Hoo!  Anna’s research interests are teacher preparation as it pertains to struggling readers (specifically those with or at-risk for dyslexia).  Anna comes to her doctoral studies after 18 years in the classroom teaching students in Pre-K through high school.  She has worked with a range of students with disabilities. She is also trained as a trainer in the Wilson Reading System, an Orton-Gillingham based reading intervention.

Lydia Beahm-

Lydia Beahm is a doctoral student in the special education program at The University of Virginia.  Prior to coming to U.Va, she was an elementary special education teacher in West Virginia for seven years.  During her time as a practitioner, Beahm worked with students who had autism, emotional and behavioral disorders, other health impairment and intellectual disabilities.   Her research interests include bridging the research-to-practice gap by developing effective and feasible dissemination methods that support the implementation of evidence-based behavioral practices in classrooms.  Her goal is to iteratively develop and experimentally test a multicomponent approach to support in-service general and special education teachers’ implementation of behavior management evidence-based practices.  Beahm is also pursuing her BCBA. 

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.   

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.

Sarah Emily Wilson-

Sarah Emily Wilson graduated from the University of Florida with her B.A.E. in Elementary Education in 2013 and with her M.Ed. in Special Education in 2014. While at the University of Florida, she discovered her love of educational research which ultimately influenced her teaching career and decision to pursue doctoral studies. She spent several years supporting students with disabilities, their families, and general education teachers as an inclusion teacher and response to intervention coordinator in Florida, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia. Through these experiences, she developed a deep understanding of the importance of social relationships in academic settings for children, and a passion for supporting both special education and general education teachers in creating a more inclusive, and equitable, classroom.  

Currently, Sarah Emily is a second-year doctoral student in the Curry School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia where she works with Dr. William Therrien. Overall, her line of research is focused on developing and sustaining meaningful community membership through friendship development for secondary students with disabilities. Her specific research interests include the efficacy of direct peer-mediated interventions on increasing relationships and social interactions for students with disabilities, the role of social language and peer interactions on academic achievement, and the use of social network analysis to measure the effectiveness of inclusive practices and social interventions for secondary students with disabilities.  

Victoria VanUitert-

Victoria VanUitert graduated from Utah State University with her B.S. in Psychology. She then completed her Master of Teaching in Special Education and Elementary Education at the Universtiy of Virginia. Victoria is a now doctoral student in the special education program at the University of Virginia. Her research interests focus on the development of interventions to support scientific content and conceptual knowledge growth among students with high-incidence disabilities and enhancing teacher practices to further facilitate science achievement in these students. These interests are influenced by her experience as an elementary-school teacher of students with disabilities, English learners, gifted students, and general education students, as well as her experience with NASA’s Pre-Service Teaching Institute. Victoria is a NSF CADRE Fellow (2019-2020), a student representative of the Teacher Education Division of CEC (2020-2022), and was formerly the student representative for the Division of Learning Disabilities of CEC (2018-2019).Victoria is currently working with Dr. Michael Kennedy on the S4 Project and with Dr. William Therrien on the Scientific Explorers project in collaboration with UT-Austin.