Dr. Ellen Small serves as the director of student teaching and the coordinator of the New York State Teacher Performance Assessment. Dr. Small places student teachers in classrooms in the surrounding school districts and provides them with supports to complete this last phase of their program requirement. She works closely with student teachers and placement schools to ensure students’ success and the continued development of their pedagogy. In addition, Dr. Small teaches special education and other courses in the education department to prepare students to be effective teachers.
Prior to her position at Iona College, Dr. Small served as a special education teacher and school improvement specialist in the Yonkers School District, seeing first-hand the academic and social challenges that students and teachers encounter in urban settings. As a special educator for more than 30 years, she differentiated instruction to ensure the academic success of students with disabilities and worked closely with parents to provide them with support.
During her 10 years as a school improvement specialist, Dr. Small provided parents, teachers, and school administrators with professional development on research-based practices in literacy, inclusive practices, differentiation, positive behavioral interventions, and the special education process. Her research interest is the disproportionate suspension of minority students with disabilities. She established an after-school program as an alternative to suspension in the Yonkers School District. Dr. Small’s role at Iona College has enabled her to continue her strong desire to support students in the vital process of learning.