Our professors are known statewide for great teaching.
LDA faculty members have a passion for training teachers and a proven record of doing it very well. They are experts with advanced degrees and several years of special education practice themselves, and they have developed far-reaching professional networks throughout the state.
Dr. Rachel David
Rachel works with families, students, and teachers to develop advocacy and awareness around learning. She believes that at the core of education is the need to collaborate among all stakeholders, most importantly parents and students, to help them understand themselves as learners and the impact their support has on academic achievement. She is a recipient of a CCS Grant and was selected for SINET, a professional database that provides models for exemplary teaching. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Curriculum & Instruction) from the University of Phoenix and a double Master’s Degree in Deaf Education and General Education from Columbia University. She also serves as LDA’s education service manager, overseeing our grant-funded, community-based Learning Connections program that fills a gap for students who fall through the cracks of the educational system because they do not meet criteria for special education services or their needs exceed the system’s capacity to serve.
Mary Beth Kelley, MA
Mary Beth has been in the field of special education since 1990, serving in a variety of roles in public schools as well as nonprofit settings. As a professor, she has taught graduate students at the University of Minnesota in the Special Education Department and at the University of St. Thomas and Augsburg College. She holds a Masters of Arts in Education from Bethel College and holds K-12 licenses in three categories: Specific Learning Disabilities, Mild to Moderate Mentally Handicapped, and Emotional & Behavioral Disorders. She also oversees LDA’s assessment program and is developing new programming for transition-age youth.
Dr. Christine Peper
Christine has been a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, University of Minnesota, and Augsburg College and served as president of the Minnesota Special Education Advisory Panel. She first became interested in working with individuals with disabilities during her tenure with Teach for America when she taught high school special education in one of the most under‐resourced communities in the United States. Upon completion of her two-year commitment to Teach for America, she took a position to start a transition program for students ages 18‐21 with a variety of disabilities. For eleven years, she worked as a special education teacher responsible for developing transition curricula, individual education plans (IEPs), and assessments. Additionally, she provided case management services to students with a variety of disabilities including learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, autism, and developmental disabilities. She has significant experience working with students with disabilities, their families, and professionals to plan successful transition plans for students as they exit school services and transition to adult services. Her work in the classroom has led to her main research interests, including increasing student participation in their IEP meetings, improving existing self‐determination scales used for older students with disabilities, and improving transition assessment and instruction for students. Specifically, her dissertation examined the technical adequacy of two self‐determination measures she developed. She holds a doctorate degree from University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and a master’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University.