Margaret Bausch, Ed.D.
Margaret Bausch is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling. Prior to joining the National Assistive Technology Research Institute (NATRI) staff, Dr. Bausch spent more than 15 years as a Disability Program Specialist where she was involved in all aspects of research and product development. She has also been involved in the graduate and undergraduate training programs in Special Education Technology, and is a RESNA certified Assistive Technology Practitioner.
Alise Brann, MS Ed, Ed.S.
Alise Brann is a Research Associate at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) where her work focuses on the integration of instructional technology in the classroom to facilitate access to academic content for students with learning disabilities. Alise received her Ed.S. in Assistive Technology and her M.S. Ed in Moderate Disabilities from Simmons College.
Karen Clay, M.Ed.
Karen Clay, M.Ed., has twenty years of experience in education, multi-media, and technology. Ms. Clay has been with the Education Development Center, Inc (EDC) for six years and is the project director of an NSF project evaluating the effectiveness of SOLO and the use of electronic text to enhance the reading comprehension of students who are struggling with reading and writing. Ms. Clay isrose also involved in a number of projects looking at how cognitive tools can support literacy and increase students’ deeper understanding across the content areas.
Bridget Dalton, Ed.D.
As Chief Officer of Literacy & Technology, Bridget Dalton oversees the instructional design and evaluation processes for CAST’s research and development initiatives. Her research focuses on technology and literacy. She has taught at the elementary and middle school levels and is particularly interested in teaching struggling readers in multicultural settings.
Dr. DeCoste is an occupational therapist and special educator with over 25 years of experience working with children with disabilities. She currently leads the Montgomery County Public Schools HIAT (High Incidence Accessible Technology) Team, providing technology support services to school teams with struggling students in the general curriculum. Denise is coauthor of the Handbook of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (Singular/Thompson) and author of Assistive Technology Assessment: Developing a Written Productivity Profile (Don Johnston, Inc.). She also coauthored AT Teams: Many ways to do it right (National Assistive Technology in Education Network) . Dr. DeCoste presents at national conferences and to school districts across the country on topics such as literacy for students with cognitive impairments, writing assessment, paradigm shifts in AT service delivery, and frontloading technology into the curriculum using the framework of Universal Design for Learning.
Elizabeth Fideler, Ed.D.
Elizabeth Fideler, Ed.D., joined Education Development Center, Inc. in 2005 as Project Director for Technology in CLaSS (TinC), funded by an OSEP Steppingstones grant. The TinC team is studying the effectiveness of a software tool for students with learning disabilities when the technology is applied to content learning and integrated with scientifically-based strategies for teaching literacy skills. Dr. Fideler is also Senior Research Associate for the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative at EDC.
Diana Foster Carl
Diana Foster Carl, M.A., L.S.S.P., has more than 30 years of experience in various capacities in public education, including assistive technology leadership roles in national, statewide, and regional organizations. She is currently contracting with CAST as the Special Projects Coordinator for the AIM Consortium. Carl serves on advisory boards for the National Center for Technology Integration, the National Assistive Technology Research Institute, the Texas Technology Access Project, and the ATSTAR Project. She is a founding member of the QIAT Consortium and serves on its Leadership Team. Carl is a contributing author to the Handbook of Special Education Technology Research and Practice and a frequently invited speaker at national, state and local conferences.
Tracy Gray, Ph.D.
Tracy Gray, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Implementing Technology in Education, director of the National Center for Technology Innovation, and a managing research scientist at AIR. Tracy is a nationally recognized expert in education and technology and has led numerous projects in the United States and internationally, examining the impact of technology on educational achievement. In addition, she has published and lectured widely on issues related to the integration of emerging technologies into the classroom and after-school programs. She recently published Teacher Learning Online: Improving the Teaching of Mathematics Through Better Professional Development for the U.S. Department of Education.
Chuck Hitchcock, M.Ed.
As the Chief Officer of Policy and Technology at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), Chuck Hitchcock oversees the organization’s public policy initiatives and technology innovation. He is the director of a U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) supported National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) Technical Assistance Center. Chuck has extensive practical experience in special education administration, technology education, and teaching at all levels from early childhood to graduate school.
As Director of Professional Development & Outreach Services, Grace Meo manages CAST's program for preK-20 teachers and administrators. Ms. Meo also oversees a national consortium of schools that collaborate with CAST on researching, designing, modeling, and disseminating universally-designed materials and practices that address the needs of all learners. Ms. Meo has served as Director of Research-to-Practice for the National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum, leading state-level initiatives to train teachers in the use of universally-designed curricula and instructional approaches. As one of CAST's founding members, Ms. Meo has helped shape the organization's mission, structure, and goals; and was instrumental in early fundraising efforts. She has served as Instructional Technology Specialist for the Massachusetts Department of Education and as Technology Coordinator for the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District in Massachusetts.
Boo Murray, Ed.D.
Boo Murray is a Senior Research Scientist and Instructional Designer at CAST, where her work focuses on applying principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to materials and instruction. Dr. Murray is currently co-principal investigator for an OSEP-funded project studying the effectiveness of Science Writer, a web-based universally designed science writing environment. In addition, she is a consultant on projects focusing on applying UDL principles to science instructional materials and assessment. and has been director of CAST’s privately funded Model Classrooms Project, where the principles of UDL were integrated into instructional materials and approaches across all subject areas in several middle school classrooms.
Cynthia Overton, Ph.D.
Cynthia Overton, Ph. D., is a research analyst at AIR. She works with The National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI). Funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education, NCTI offers technical guidance to facilitate growth and sustainability of assistive and learning tools by fostering innovative technology solutions. Cynthia’s most recent work with NCTI has involved analyzing data about school administrators’ priorities when identifying and implementing assistive and learning technologies, and creating resources based on this information to support practitioners. Prior to working at AIR, she taught an educational technology course for pre-service teachers. Cynthia received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in education with an emphasis on educational technology from the University of Michigan. While at Michigan, Cynthia was the recipient of a Rackham Education Scholar’s Award and two Spencer Research Training Grants. Her research examined how students with visual impairments use technology to engage with their learning environments. Cynthia also holds teaching credentials in elementary education and has received Assistive Technology Applications training through the Center on Disabilities at California State University, Northridge.
George Peterson-Karlan, Ph.D.
Dr. George R. Peterson-Karlan, Ph.D., is Professor of Special Education at Illinois State University. He is licensed Director of Special Education and previously served as a special education administrator with the Fort Wayne (IN) Community Schools (1997-2002) where he supervised the programs for students with moderate, severe, and multiple disabilities, coordinated the assistive technology services team, and co-led the Autism Support Team. Dr. Peterson-Karlan previously served on the faculties of Purdue University and University of Illinois. Dr. Peterson-Karlan has directed a number of research and training grants in the area of assistive technology, including most recently a synthesis of more than 20 years of research on technology to support writing by students with learning and academic disabilities. He has also presented nationally and internationally on the selection and implementation of assistive technology to support the educational progress of students with disabilities.
David Rose, Ed.D.
David Rose, Ed.D., co-founder of Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), and principal investigator for two national centers to develop and implement the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). Specializing in developmental neuropsychology and in the universal design of learning technologies, Dr. Rose lectures at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he has been on the faculty for twenty years. An author of Scholastic’s highly successful Literary Place and Wiggleworks®, Dr. Rose has worked as a consultant for Houghton-Mifflin, Scholastic, Tom Snyder Productions, EBSCO Publishing, Pearson, Sopris West, and other publishers. In 2004, he was named one of education's "Daring Dozen" by the George Lucas Educational Foundation's Edutopia magazine.
Nancy Safer, Ph.D.
Dr. Nancy Safer, managing research scientist, has over 30 years of experience in special education with expertise in program development and policy research and analysis related to services for children and youth with disabilities. In addition to her role as co-principal investigator on the National Center on Response to Intervention, she is also co-principal investigator of the National Center on Student Progress Monitoring and the Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd). Dr. Safer is the former executive director of the Council for Exceptional Children where she provided, for almost ten years, strategic and operational leadership in the management and coordination of the organization of more than 50,000 special educators, related professionals, and families. She is also the former director of the Division of Educational Services at the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, in which she was responsible for the Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Program and the Preschool Formula Grants Program, and eight discretionary grants programs.
Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, Ph.D.
Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, Ph.D., senior research analyst, is a deputy director on the National Center for Technology Innovation as well as a task leader for implementation support on the Center for Implementing Technology in Education, both OSEP-funded projects. She is also a task leader for curriculum development on the Explicit Literacy in Adult ESL research, funded by IES. Her research and technical assistance work has focused on applying best practice research from the special education literature to digital environments for students of all ages with disabilities. She has delivered many presentations and published several articles and chapters on teaching youth and adults with disabilities, particularly those who struggle with literacy. At AIR she has also been involved in developing and teaching a distance learning course on accommodating adults with disabilities for adult educators for CalPro (www.calpro-online.org) and developing an online warehouse of adult education standards (www.adultedcontentstandards.org).
Mary Thorngren, MS
Mary Thorngren, M.S., is a senior project specialist at the American Institutes for Research, AIR. She serves as the deputy director of the Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd) and provides technical assistance to Safe Schools Healthy Students grantees. Mary brings extensive experience in the development and provision of technical assistance and training to local, state, and national organizations, teams, groups, consumers, and parents and a passion for ensuring that all teachers and students have the technology tools they need in order to be successful. She has over 25 years of experience in leadership and managerial positions in not-for-profit organizations, with a focus on parent involvement, cultural competency, Latino health and education and on developing sustainable, effective and collaborative community.
Dr. Joy Zabala is a pioneer in special education and assistive technology. She is currently the project manager of the AIM Consortium, a 15-state project headed by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) and funded by a grant from the Office of Special Education Programs of the U. S. Department of Education. The AIM Consortium improves the quality, availability, and timely delivery of accessible instructional materials to K-12 students with print disabilities. Dr. Zabala is also developer of the SETT Framework, a founding member of the QIAT Community and facilitator of the QIAT List, and newsletter editor of the Technology and Media Division of the Council for Exceptional Children.
Ruth Ziolkowski, MBA
Ruth Ziolkowski is an ATIA representative for the NIMAS Technical Assistance and Development Centers through CAST’s OSEP grant. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy in 1985 from the University of Illinois. Early in her career she worked with augmentative communication and assistive technology as an occupational therapist. She received her MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management in 1987. Ziolkowski, President and Proprietor of Don Johnston Incorporated, began working with the company in 1987 and is proud to celebrate Don Johnston’s more than 25 years of success.
Jenna Wasson, M.Ed.
As a Research Associate at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), Jenna Wasson contributes to a variety of projects focused around the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Jenna’s prior work for an advocacy group for parents of children with disabilities and as well as her experience as a middle school inclusion specialist give her a unique and balanced perspective of special education.
Cheryl Volkman is the Co-founder and CEO Emeritus of AbleNet Inc. Volkman's current role is to drive the company's academic research initiatives, including the AbleNet Research Consortium. Volkman's efforts are dedicated to securing academic research and helping to integrate findings with the company's innovative market research data. The information and knowledge derived from this process will help guide the development of solutions designed to achieve student success. Volkman is currently on the board of directors for the Alliance for Technology Access and serves on several national advisory boards.
Judith Zorfass, Ed.D.
Judith Zorfass is an Associate Center Director at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC). For the past 20 years, she has directed numerous research and development projects to help struggling students, particularly in the middle grades, improve their literacy development across content areas through the integration of technology tools into the curriculum.