Skip to main content

Small Special Education Programs Caucus (SSEPC)

The Small Special Education Programs Caucus (SSEPC) is an affiliate of the Teacher Education Division (TED) of The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

The purpose of the SSEPC shall be to: 

  1. Identify and address the unique qualities and needs of small special education personnel preparation programs. 
  2. Facilitate professional development activities which will enhance the knowledge and skills of faculty members in small special education personnel preparation programs.
  3. Promote interprofessional support, collaboration, and linkage for the professional growth and improvement of faculty members in small special education personnel preparation programs. 
  4. Facilitate and promote cooperation among small special education personnel preparation programs and Federal, State, and Local Educational Agencies.
  5. Facilitate support for innovation and development efforts by small special education personnel preparation programs. 
  6. Promote and support the policies and activities of the Teacher Education Division and The Council for Exceptional Children in all its efforts concerning special education personnel preparations. 

(from the SSPEC Constitution ratified in December 2020)

SSEPC Executive Board Members

The SSEPC Executive Board members are committed to supporting YOU! Please reach out to us if you have ideas, questions, and/or concerns about how our caucus can support you.  

Chair of SSEPC

Adam Moore, PhD

Adam Moore, PhD 

My name is Adam Moore and I’m thrilled to chair the SSEPC in 2022! I am an Associate Professor and Director of Special Education  Graduate Programs at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island.  Originally from Indiana, the east coast has been my home for the last 18 years. A former National Board certified special education teacher in the Boston Public Schools, I am passionate about improving equity and access to high quality inclusive education for all students. I have a B.S. in elementary and special education from Manchester University (Indiana), M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College joint doctoral program.  As a teacher educator for the last 13 years, I am honored to prepare future educators for our field. Dad to 5 year old Miles and husband to Tracy, I enjoy time with family and collaborating with colleagues from around the country on research projects.

I am proud to call the SSEPC my professional home. As a state CEC leader in Rhode Island, CEC Representative Assembly (RA) delegate, and college faculty advisor for a student CEC chapter for a number of years, I have always felt a strong affinity to TED and particularly SSEPC because of the unique focus our caucus has on teaching in a small program. 

My research in special education teacher preparation focuses on family-centered and inclusive practices, advocating for individuals with disabilities, and teaching for social justice. 

As a party of 1 (I know many can relate), we have so many unique challenges and opportunities to navigate. I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as chair of our caucus. Please reach out if you would like to connect or have ideas about how the SSEPC can support you and your work. 

Associate Chair 

Kathy Boothe, PhD

Kathy Boothe, PhD

My name is Kathy Boothe and I am currently living in Chandler, AZ with my husband and our cat (Zoey) and dog (Zeus). I am an associate professor and program coordinator for Special Education at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. I teach graduate asynchronous courses, which has afforded me the opportunity to live remotely.

I have a B.S. in Rehabilitation Studies and my M.Ed. and Ph.D. are both in Special Education with an emphasis in Emotional/Behavioral disorders. I began her career as a self-contained classroom teacher for students with Emotional/Behavioral disorders.  Additionally, I have worked as a district level behavior specialist and offer behavior training to local school districts. However, I have found my calling in working with pre- and in-service teachers at the college level. I truly enjoy working with teachers as they learn more about themselves and the field of special education.

I have been a member of CEC and TED since beginning my doctoral studies in 2007.  My involvement with SSEPC dates back to 2010 when I was in my first year teaching at a university in Augusta, GA. During my tenure with SSEPC I have served in the capacity of communications editor, membership chair, and now associate chair.  Additionally, for the last several years I have been involved with the TED Professional Development committee. I have also served as a sponsor for a student CEC group in GA, and have experience working at the state level as a board member of both Georgia and Oklahoma CEC. I have also served as conference support for CEC’s TED conferences and as proposal reviews for several divisions of CEC.  

My current research interests include effective online teaching, and effectively preparing general and special educators to handle disruptive behaviors through the use of proper classroom management techniques. 

I am excited to continue working with SSEPC! 

Past Chair

Jennifer McKenzie, PhD

Jennifer McKenzie, PhD

Hello! My name is Jennifer McKenzie and I am currently serving as SSEPC Past Chair. I am currently living in Cedar City, Utah, but I am a midwestern girl at heart! I am enjoying the intermountain west with my husband, Matt, and my two sons, Luke and Aaron.

I have a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education from Culver-Stockton College, an MED in Secondary Administration from William Woods University, and a Ph.D. in Special Education - Behavioral Disorders from the University of Missouri. I’ve been in special education for over 20 years and I’ve served as a special educator, special education director, special education compliance consultant, and now teacher educator. I am currently an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Southern Utah University.

My favorite things to teach are special education law and all things behavior and classroom management. My research interests include coaching of in-service teachers to work with challenging students through evidence-based classroom management and trauma-informed practices. I am also very interested in retention of inservice special education teachers through coaching. 

I’ve been honored to serve SSEPC over the last few years, as I feel it always serves me well. I found my professional home in this Caucus when I was still a Ph.D. student and the collegial support has been invaluable to me as a new teacher educator. I hope you find the same benefits and welcoming spirit that brought me to this group!

Membership Chair

Jody Siker, PhD

Jody Siker, PhD

My name is Jody Siker and I have been the Membership Chair for SSEPC since 2019. I love this position because I get to talk about SSEPC with everyone I meet! I live in Deerfield, IL with my husband, two kids and large dog. I am an Assistant Professor at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL where I work preparing special education teacher candidates at the graduate and undergraduate level. I have been working in the special education field since 2002. Previously, I worked with general education teacher candidates and K-8th grade students in Wisconsin and California. 

I earned my B.S. in Biological Aspects of Conservation and Psychology from UW-Madison, M.S. in Exceptional Education from UW-Milwaukee, and Ph.D. through the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. My teaching focuses on special education teaching methods, collaboration, anti-racist pedagogy, disability history, and universal design for learning. I am also active in improving university faculty teaching methods and use of technology. My research interests include co-teaching, understanding critical reflections of systems of power and privilege, equity, and attracting and retaining a racially-diverse teacher workforce. I also am interested in conducting and studying simulations of collaborative teams.


Sara Taylor, PhD 

Sara Taylor, PhD

I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Northwest Missouri State University. I have held offices at the local, state, and national level in special education organizations including the Missouri Council for Exceptional Children, Learning Disabilities of America, and the Division on Career Development and Transition. I currently teach undergraduate and graduate coursework on the Special Education Process, Assessment, Interventions for Students with Disabilities, and Post-Secondary Transition. Over the last 2 and a half years, I have become involved in SSEPC and look forward to serving as treasurer.

I have a B.A from Western Governors University with a dual major in Special Education and K-8 education in 2010. In 2013, I completed a M.A in Special Education at Point Loma Nazarene University. My doctoral program was completed at the University of California, Riverside in 2019. My dissertation described secondary educator’s practices to develop post-secondary skills in students with learning disabilities. I worked as a special education peer tutor, paraprofessional, and teacher in San Diego, CA. As a secondary classroom teacher, I developed a passion for working with students at all ability levels to promote positive post-secondary outcomes. My academic interests include transition practices especially with diploma-bound students, assessment, dyslexia, educator preparation, and K-12 partnerships.


Elizabeth Potts, PhD

Elizabeth Potts, PhD

I’m Beth Potts, part of a very busy special ed team of two at Missouri Western State University. My husband and I are from Virginia, and we moved to Kansas City, Missouri with our daughters when the youngest was only one--they are growing up way too fast! I spent the first eight years of my higher education career as a party of one and often joked I was a one-woman show, changing my load and developing courses as necessary to fill in where we didn’t have an adjunct available. The record for the most classes someone has had with me is seven!

Spending so much time without like-oriented colleagues has made me value relationships through SSEPC, and I am delighted to be formally involved as your secretary. 

Communications Editor

Tamara Lynn, Ed.D

Tamara Lynn, EdS

My name is Tamara Lynn, and I am a Smithville, MO native.  I am married to Brian, who is the Coordinator of Student Services in the Maryville School District in Maryville, MO.  Brian and I have two children, Cooper, and Sofia.  Our family enjoys traveling and have set a goal to travel to all 50 states before our children graduate.  In my free time, I am most often found at Cooper and Sofia's activities or watching some sort of sporting event.  I have recently taken up golf.  I also love dark chocolate and coffee! Throughout my life, I have many memories of teachers who made an impact on my life.  I never thought of being a teacher, and in fact, I was determined not to be, even though I had many people who insisted that was what I should be doing.  Set out to prove them wrong, I chose to go into Business Management, and I graduated from the Mizzou School of Business in 2002.  After graduation, I spent four years as a paraprofessional in the North Kansas City School District, and it was there that those many influences and paths met, and I knew education was the field for me.

In 2006, my husband and I relocated to Maryville, MO and this is when my education career really took off.  I enrolled in the Alternative Certification program to become a teacher while teaching full-time in Savannah, MO.  I spent the next six years teaching High School Special Education, and upon completion of my Master's in Special Education from NWMSU, I joined Northwest as an Adjunct Instructor in 2009.  In 2012, I began teaching Special Education at Maryville High School in Maryville, MO until 2014 when I moved into my role as Director of the Area Cooperative for Educational Support, a Special Education and Mental Health Cooperative in Northwest Missouri.  In 2016, I completed my Education Specialist in K-12 Principal and Special Education Administration at NWMSU.

  In the fall of 2017, I joined the School of Professional Education as a full-time Instructor in the Special Education department.  I completed my EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2022. in the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis program.  My dissertation is titled “An investigation of the administrators’ roles in the design, support, and evaluation of induction programs in rural, public k-12 schools in northwest Missouri.

As the SSEPC Communications Editor, my goal is to help members connect to collaborate with one another to improve outcomes for teacher candidates across the nation.

Professional Development Chair 

Liz Hartmann, PhD


My name is Liz Hartmann and I am long-time member of SSEPC and have served as secretary, treasurer, and now as the PD Chair. SSEPC has connected me to many wonderful colleagues and provided a home for me within CEC and TED.

I am an Associate Professor of Education at Lasell University, a Co-lecturer of T560: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and a Senior Research Scientist at CAST. In my research I examines teacher implementation of UDL. She is a teacher of students with visual impairment and deafblindness and currently recently published a book for the American Printing House for the Blind on the early intervention of infants and toddlers with Cerebral Visual Impairment.

When I am at TED, in addition to spending time with my SSEPC colleagues, I like singing karaoke with fellow SSEPC board member Jody Siker.  Come join us next time!

Student Representative 

Lynn Scott, M.Ed.

Lynn Scott, M.Ed.

My name is Lynn Scott I relocated to Florida from a small rural community in Indiana. I am pursuing my Ph.D. in Exceptional Education at the University of Central Florida. I obtained my undergraduate degree from Saint Mary of the Woods College and then further pursued a degree in Educational Administration and Leadership through Indiana State University. I began a profession in education after a career change from the business world. My journey would start working as a paraprofessional while pursuing my special education teaching degree in a girl’s juvenile facility and later in a public high school setting serving students with emotional disabilities. Upon completing my teaching degree my very first classroom was at the Middle School level serving students with Moderate Intellectual Disabilities. After years of classroom experience, I progressed to an administrative role expanding beyond my own classroom. My 20 years of classroom experience includes students from grades pre-k through grade 12+ in a variety of educational settings and disability categories.  All these opportunities have afforded me a range of experiences and perspective to the field of education both as a teacher and administrative leader. 

I am a LEAD NEXT Scholar at the University of Central Florida in which my Ph.D. preparation focuses on generating the next level of special education leadership personnel by addressing shortages in state and national identified needs while influencing policy and practice through the learning sciences. The learning sciences is an interdisciplinary field focused on the development of effective learning methodologies and solutions drawing upon the vast body of research in fields such as neuroscience, education, cognitive science, psychology, learning analytics, applied linguistics, computer science, and philosophy.

My research interest includes the use of simulation and multimodal data channels such as eye-tracking and facial emotional affect to investigate and improve the preparation of teachers and administrators in the pursuit of inclusive and equitable practices. By using microlevel process data I seek to improve preparation practice and ultimately outcomes for students with disabilities. Through an interdisciplinary research approach I seek to promote strategies and understanding of neuro-diverse learners by enhancing educational organizations and better informing policy. I feel I am very fortunate to be a member of SSEPC as a Doctoral Student as the opportunity has allowed me to see perspectives and foster networking opportunities beyond what my own program can offer. I value the relationships I have made through SSEPC, and highly recommend membership at any career stage. 

Caucus & SIG Liaison 

Shantel Farnan, Ed.D. 

Shantel Farnan, Ed.D.

My name is Shantel Farnan, and I am an Assistant Professor/Coordinator of Special Education programs in the School of Education at Northwest Missouri State University. A unique fact is that I am currently teaching at my Alma Mater. My husband, Darren and I have enjoyed raising our children in a University community. Our oldest son, Brady, is now a freshman Business Management major at Northwest as well. Maggie is a sophomore and one hour a day she is a peer mentor in a special education classroom and plans to be a teacher.

I have held offices in state and national special education organizations, including Small Special Education Programs Caucus (SSEPC), Missouri Council for Administrators of Special Education, and Missouri Council for Exceptional Children. I have been actively involved in SSEPC since 2011 when I first started in higher education and have been the Communications Editor, Associate Chair, and was the Chair for the 2020-2021 year. I had presented yearly at TED Conferences, served as a reviewer of proposals, and volunteered in many capacities at the conferences. SSEPC Shares has been a recurring session at TED and was started by Dr. Amy Stevens and myself in 2017 as a way to facilitate professional development activities that enhance the knowledge and skills of faculty through inter-professional support and collaboration. In addition, during my time as Chair of SSEPC and since then there has been an increased focus on Professional Development which led to a new SSEPC Board position. SSEPC moved all PD online during 2020-2021, including collaborative Writing Retreats with Diversity Caucus, Early Career Faculty SIG, and Early Childhood SIG.  All of this led to the fabulous role I get to be a part of now, which is serving as the SIG/Caucus Liaison on the TED Board. It is a great honor to serve TED and the SIGs and Caucuses.

I completed her B.S. Ed. at Northwest with a dual major of elementary education/special education in 1995. In 1999, I completed my Master’s in Educational Leadership and my Specialist in Superintendency in 2008. My doctoral program in Educational Leadership/Policy Analysis was completed at University of Missouri. I was previously a special educator and coordinator at a rural school and later in Maryville, MO. For twelve years, I served as Special Education Director for Maryville School District and Northwest Missouri Special Education Cooperative. My academic and research interests are in transition, special education leadership, response to intervention, collaboration, virtual and online instruction, engagement, diverse field experiences, dyslexia, and K-12 partnerships.


2022 Goals

  • Increase membership by 10 members (for a total of 60 members) by January 2023. 
  • Collaborate with other TED Caucuses and SIGs to widen our outreach and impact within TED.
  • Provide SSEPC members with relevant, timely, and helpful professional development on a quarterly basis.  
  • Furthermore, the executive board will facilitate professional development to support faculty during the COVID-19 global pandemic.


Member Benefits

In addition to shaping how our caucus supports faculty in small special education programs, SSEPC members also become part of a professional group who understands the unique opportunities of teaching in a small program.  Often SSEPC members talk about “having to do it all” in their departments -- a daunting task.  The SSEPC provides a professional network of colleagues from across the United States who are working in a similar setting. From sharing syllabi and class resources, to attending a SSEPC sponsored professional development talks, the SSEPC supports members at all stages of their career. Several SSEPC events that are held at TED, CEC, or held virtually include:

  • SSEPC Symposium 
  • SSEPC Shares 
  • SSEPC Roundtables
  • SSEPC sponsored writing retreats
  • Nasim Dil Award Presentation & Reception


Nasim Dil Award

The Nasim Dil Award for Outstanding Service to Teacher Education is an annual award given to an SSEPC member who has demonstrated exemplary service to the development and advancement of quality teacher education in special education.  As a founding member of the SSEPC, Dr. Nasim Dil, professor emeritus of University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), continues to be an SSEPC member committed to improving teacher education.

Past Nasim Dil Award Recipients:

  • 2000 Bill Geiger
  • 2001 Shirley Ritter
  • 2002 Barbara Reed
  • 2003 Glenn Buck
  • 2004 Roberta Strosnider
  • 2005 Georgia Kerns
  • 2006 Debi Gartland
  • 2007 Cynthia Watkins
  • 2008 Michelle Kamens
  • 2009 Laura Carpenter
  • 2010 Diane Giannola
  • 2011 Shirley Steffens
  • 2012 Brenda Gilliam
  • 2014 Dava O’Connor
  • 2015 Patti Powell
  • 2016 Dee Berlinghoff
  • 2017 Frank Dykes
  • 2018 Patrice Hallock
  • 2019 Amy Stevens


Become a Member

To join the Small Special Education Caucus (SSEPC), members must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a faculty member of Public/Private Institute of Higher Education:
    1. Involved with preparation of undergraduate and/or graduate (excluding doctoral candidates); or
    2. Employed in a department or program with seven (7) or fewer full-time Special Education Faculty (regardless of level of training provided by that program).

Fill Me Out to Become a Member

Get Involved 

Interested in becoming involved in a SSEPC sponsored event like SSEPC Symposium, Shares, or another PD opportunity, please email Adam Moore ( so he can connect you to the right leader. 

Contact us at:

Find us on your favorite social media outlet!

  • Facebook: TED-SSEPC
  • Twitter: @SSEPCTED
  • Instagram: ssepcted
Last Updated:  16 March, 2022

© 2022 Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). All rights reserved.