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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: 

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:

Kathy Boothe, PhD

Kathy Boothe, PhD

My name is Kathy Boothe and I am excited to serve as the SSEPC Chair this year! I am currently living in Chandler, AZ with my husband, 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 associate chair.  Additionally, the last two years I have served on the TED Conference Advisory Committee. Previously I have served as sponsor of the Augusta State University (now Augusta University) student CEC group in GA, and have experience working at the state level as a board member of both Georgia and Oklahoma 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!

Associate Chair:

Tamara Lynn, EdD

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. When traveling, I always seek out a local joint for new foods and flavors. In my free time, I am most often found at Cooper and Sofia's activities or watching some sort of sporting event, and I have recently taken up golf to have a hobby of my own! I love dark chocolate and coffee and am most happy when I can entertain and cook for my family and friends.

I am an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Northwest Missouri State University. My background includes working as a special education paraprofessional, teacher, administrator, and professor for over 20 years. 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 was 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.  My current research and teaching interests are in the areas of novice teacher induction, collaborative scholarly writing, educator preparation, transition services, stakeholder collaboration, professional development, and autism consultation.

I have been a member of SSEPC for six years and most recently served as the SSEPC Communications Editor. My love for the many SSEPC members who guided and coached me as a young faculty member led me to seek a leadership role as the Associate Chair. I encourage all of our members to see themselves as a leader by bringing others into this group to be mentored and supported in their work as a part of a small program. As members when we connect with others to collaborate we will be more successful in improving outcomes for teacher candidates across the nation. Please consider connecting with SSEPC on social media (SSEPCTED,  TED - SSEPC, SSEPCTED).

Past Chair:

Adam Moore, PhD

Adam Moore, PhD

It was my honor and privilege to serve as chair in 2022! I am also excited to serve another year as the immediate past chair.  I am an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Special Education Graduate Programs at the University of Rhode Island. Originally from Indiana, the east coast has been my home for the last 19 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 14 years, I am honored to prepare future educators for our field. Dad to 7 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.  I was recently selected as a member of the CEC Accreditation Commission and as a member of the CEC Student Teacher Support Network working group.   

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 2 (I know many can relate), we have so many unique challenges and opportunities to navigate. Please reach out if you would like to connect or have ideas about how the SSEPC can support you and your work. 

Membership Chair:

Sarah Jin Wong, Ed.D.

 Sarah Jin Wong, Ed.D.

I am an Assistant Professor and Head of Graduate Programs in Education at Bryn Athyn College in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. After my undergraduate studies at Smith College and a short-stint at a private school in Connecticut, I stumbled upon the world of early childhood special education during my graduate studies at Teachers College, Columbia University and fell in love with the field of special education. After serving in the realm of early intervention (Birth – 5yrs.) for over a decade, higher education came knocking on my door in 2013. I took the chance, as it became quickly apparent that teacher education in special education might be where I can make create most impact. So recently, I substantiated my commitment by completing my doctorate in July of 2021, at the University of Pittsburgh – with my dissertation titled Embracing Ambiguity: A Case Study of One Teacher Education Program’s Collaborative Inquiry into the Teacher Dispositions Construct. As a teacher educator, I aim to foster and develop teacher candidates’ inclusive dispositions and abilities to provide equitable learning opportunities for their students. My recent body of research focuses on utilizing disability literature to prepare teacher candidates for facilitating conversations about disability in their classrooms, as one way of creating inclusive classrooms.

Currently as a party of 1 at BAC, I often crave connecting with and collaborating with like-minded colleagues in the field. SSEPC and TED-CEC have been that professional family and home for me. I have experienced incredible warmth, friendships and supportive collegiality as a SSEPC member and would love officially welcome you to our family as the Membership Chair!


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.


Kristine E. Larson, Ed.D.

Kristine E. Larson, Ed.D.
My name is Kristine E. Larson. I am an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Notre Dame of Maryland University. I received my B.A. in Psychology at Loyola University Maryland in 2003, my M.A. in Teaching Secondary Social Studies from Johns Hopkins University in 2005, and my doctorate in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University in 2015. In 2019, I traveled to India to study yoga and use this experience to inform my work and life. In addition to teaching special education courses at Notre Dame of Maryland University, I research flourishing/ comprehensive wellbeing in education, and translate my research into practice in my efforts to create affirming organizational and institutional climates- particularly for students with emotional and behavioral challenges. I am the founder and chair of the Teacher Education for Flourishing Collaborative, which seeks to transform the world by promoting flourishing in teacher education, research, and policy. I have been involved with SSEPC since the fall of 2019. I served as the Shares Chair in 2020, 2021, and 2022 and look forward to serving as secretary! 

Communications Editor:

Natasha W. Veale, Ph.D.

Natasha W. Veale, Ph.D.

My name is Natasha Veale. I have worked in the Special Education field for 22 years. I am married, with three young people ages 14, 20, and 23. I reside in Greensboro, North Carolina. Between 2000 and 2010, I taught students with disabilities at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in resource, inclusion, and self-contained classrooms. In 2007, while still teaching, I began teaching, advising, and supervising pre-service and practicing special education teachers as an adjunct professor at the UNC Greensboro. I became a full-time professor at Salem College in 2011 after earning my doctorate in 2010. Since 2014, I have had the opportunity, as the only full-time Special Education faculty member, to coordinate Greensboro College’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate Special Education programs. In 2021, I also began an administrative position as the Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Education.

From 2014 to 2017, I served in the presidential line of the Teacher Education Division of North Carolina CEC (NC TED). I maintained an active student CEC (SCEC) chapter on campus from 2015-2020. From 2018 to 2022, I served in the presidential line of the state NC CEC chapter. I currently serve as a member of CEC’s Leadership Development Committee (LDC). I am excited to now serve as the Communications Editor for SSEPC.

I received my BS in the Education of the Deaf and Hearing Impaired from UNC Greensboro in 1999, a BS in Special Education from NC A&T State University in 2002, a Master in Education-Behavior Disorders from UNCG in 2005, and a Ph.D. in Special Education Leadership from Capella University in 2010. I earned certification as a John C. Maxwell Speaker, Trainer, and Leadership Coach in 2019. My research interests include career changers in special education, leadership development, and organizational change. I am currently enrolled in an Ed.D. in Organizational Change and Administration program at California Baptist University. My dissertation topic is Principals as Leaders in Special Education: A Phenomenological Study of the Engagement in and Barriers to Principals’ Transformational Leadership Behaviors when Leading Special Education Teachers.

Professional Development Chair:

Jennifer D. Walker, PhD

Jennifer D. Walker, PhD

I am an Associate Professor of Special Education at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. As the Program Director for Special Education, I am part of an amazing three-person team of Special Education professors. I am also a graduate of the (University of) Mary Washington College, and it feels amazing to be back “home.” I have been working in the field of special education for over 25 years as a teacher and behavior specialist. My last K-12 position was teaching and supporting behavior related challenges with middle and high schoolers in a juvenile detention center.

I earned my M.Ed. and Ph.D. at George Mason University and my dissertation focused on the manifestation determination process for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. In my current research, I continue to focus on classroom management, functional analysis, and tiered interventions. However, much of my time is spent working directly with pre- and in-service teachers and I love supervising our student interns in the field.

When I’m not juggling teaching, research, and service, I’m spending time with my husband, 3 active children, a very clingy yellow lab (Bruce), and a temperamental cat (Patty). I don’t have much time for hobbies these days, but traveling and reading are always at the top of my list for free time activities.

I’ve been part of TED, the TED board, Kaleidoscope, the Early Career SIG, and SSEPC for over a decade. This organization, particularly SSEPC, has been instrumental in my research, collaborations, professional opportunities, and friendships. I’m so excited to be part of the SSEPC board and look forward to working with familiar and new small program colleagues.

Student Representative:

Rachel Silva, M.Ed.

Rachel Silva, M.Ed.
Rachel Silva is a current PhD student at the University of Florida studying Curriculum and Instruction. Rachel received a dual bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College. She worked as a Special Education teacher and Reading Specialist for 6 years, working to support student literacy skills, curriculum development, and teacher training in a variety of public and private school settings. She has also worked internationally to develop professional development opportunities for teachers regarding inclusive education practices. Her research interests include special education and general education teacher preparation, teacher collaboration, and the intersection of equity and disability in education

Caucus & SIG Liaison:

Shantel Farnan, Ed.D.

Shantel Farnan, Ed.D.

My name is Shantel Farnan, and I am an Associate 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 sophomore Business Management major at Northwest as well. Maggie is a junior 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 (MO-CASE), and Missouri Council for Exceptional Children (MO-CEC). 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 I felt privileged to be a part of it with Dr. Amy Stevens 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. 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.

If you want to dig deep into my past (it’s been awhile-LOL), I completed my  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 the University of Missouri in 2016. 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.


2023 Goals

  1. Increase our membership efforts to reach a diverse membership with an increase of 10 members (for a total of 70 members) by January 2024.
  2. Provide SSEPC members with access to an ongoing repository of resources (e.g. interviews, books, articles, etc.) specific to small special education programs and other timely topics.
  3. Collaborate with other TED Caucuses and SIGs to provide at a minimum of 4 professional development opportunities on a variety of topics, including those related to the TED DEIJ initiative


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 & Receptio


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
  • 2022 Ruby Owiny


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)

Join now!  Link to member sign-up and PayPal payment


Get Involved 

Interested in becoming involved in a SSEPC sponsored event like SSEPC Symposium, Shares, or another PD opportunity, please email Jennifer Walker (  so she 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:  4 May, 2023

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