I engage in systems change and research on equity and justice issues in inclusive education in schools, school systems as well as state and national education organizations and agencies. My research interests include the analysis of systems change in education, how teachers learn in practice in complex, diverse school settings, including how educational practices improve student learning. Awards include the 2023 Luminary Award from the Division of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Children, Council of Exceptional Children; the 2018 Budig Award for Teaching Excellence in Special Education at the University of Kansas; the 2017 Boeing-Allan Visiting Endowed Chair at Seattle University; the University of Kansas 2016 Woman of Distinction award; the 2013 Scholar of the Century award from the University of Northern Colorado; the 2011 TED-Merrill award for leadership in special education teacher education in 2011; and the UNESCO Chair in Inclusive International Research. I co-lead the World Education Research Association International Research Network on Student Voice for Promoting Equity and Inclusion in Schools along with Professor Kyriaki Messiou of the University of South Hampton, UK.

A number of my articles focus on the design and development of teacher education programs that involve extensive clinical practice in general education settings. I have led the development of such programs in three universities, and continue to do research and development work in teacher education. I have also offered technical assistance as well as conducted research on the impact of technical assistance on individuals, as well as local, state, and national systems in the U.S. and abroad.

I have received funding for more than $35 million in federal, state, and local grants. I serve on the Board of Editors for the book series Inclusive Education and Partnerships, an international book series produced by Deep University. Recent books include Ability, Equity, and Culture (with co-author Kathleen King Thorius) published by Teachers College Press in ‘14 and Equity on Five Continents (with Alfredo Artiles and Federico Waitoller) published in ‘11 by Harvard Education Press.

Administrative Appointments

  • Co-Faculty Director, Learning Differences and the Future of Special Education, Stanford Accelerator for Learning, GSE (2018 - Present)

Honors & Awards

  • Luminary Award, Division for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners (2023)
  • Budig Teaching Professorship in Special Education, University of Kansas (2018)
  • Boeing – William M. Allen Visiting Endowed Chair, Seattle University (2017-2018)
  • Woman of Distinction, University of Kansas (2016)
  • Opponent, Ph.D. thesis: Hermína Gunnþórsdóttir, University of Iceland (6/19/2014)
  • Visiting Professor, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand (1/20/2014–1/28/2014)
  • Visiting Professor, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, England (11/1/2013-10/31/2016)
  • Century of Scholars Award, University of Northern Colorado, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences (2013)
  • Invited Presentation: Inclusive Education: Towards an Innovative Training, UNESCO and the French National Commission for UNESCO (2013)
  • The Teacher Education Division Pearson-Merrill Award for Excellence in Teacher Education, Council for Exceptional Children (2011)
  • Best scholarpractitioner article on systemic change, American Education Research Association, Special Interest Group, Systems Change (2010)
  • The State of the Art and Best Practices in Taking Inclusive Education to Scale, Briefing to Congress on Inclusive Education and Implications for Policy (2009)
  • The Acorn Award for Grant Productivity, Mary Lou Fulton College of Education, Arizona State University (2008)
  • Dissertation of the Year Faculty Advisor, American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (2006)
  • UNESCO Chair, International Inclusive Education Research, UNESCO (2005)
  • Excellence in Leadership Program, University of Colorado (2004-2005)
  • Researcher of the Year, School of Education, University of Colorado-Denver (1998)
  • University Service Award, University of Colorado-Denver (1995)
  • Policy Fellow, Institute for Educational Policy (1993)
  • Educator of the Year, Colorado Association of Retarded Citizens (1989)
  • Junior Teaching Scholar, University of Colorado (1989)
  • Teaching Excellence Award, School of Education, University of Colorado-Denver (1989)
  • Distinguished Efforts for Rural Special Education in the state of Colorado, American Council on Rural Special Education (1987)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Professor (Research), Graduate School of Education, Stanford University (2020 - Present)
  • Dean’s Scholar for Teaching and Research, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University (2018 - 2020)
  • Professor, Special Education, University of Kansas (2017 - 2020)
  • Affiliate Faculty, Institute for Policy and Social Research (2014 - 2020)
  • Affiliate Faculty, Center for Research on Learning (2013 - 2020)
  • Chair and Professor, Special Education, University of Kansas (2012 - 2017)
  • Professor, Culture, Society, and Education, School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University (2010 - 2012)
  • Director (with Alfredo Artiles), The Equity Alliance (2008 - 2015)
  • Principal Investigator, National Principals’ Center – NIUSI-LeadScape (2006 - 2012)
  • Professor, Special Education, Arizona State University (2006 - 2010)
  • Professor, Special Education, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center (2004 - 2006)
  • Principal Investigator, National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (2001 - 2009)
  • Associate Dean for Research, School of Education, University of Colorado at Denver (2001 - 2006)
  • Director, Center for Collaborative Educational Leadership, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center (2001 - 2006)
  • Principal Investigator, The National Institute for Urban School Improvement (1997 - 2008)
  • Associate Professor, Special Education, School of Education, University of Colorado at Denver (1994 - 2004)
  • Division Coordinator, Division of Technology and Special Services, University of Colorado at Denver (1994 - 1997)
  • Division Coordinator, Special Education and School Psychology, School of Education, University of Colorado at Denver (1993 - 1994)
  • Assistant Professor, Special Education and Special Education Program Coordinator, Division of Educational Psychology and Special Education, University of Colorado at Denver (1987 - 1994)
  • Assistant Professor, Special Education, Teacher Education Department, Metropolitan State College (1986 - 1987)
  • Consultant, Special Education Services Unit, Colorado Department of Education (CDE) (1986 - 1987)
  • Assistant Professor, Project Coordinator for Personnel Training Program for Teachers of Students with Severe Emotional Disturbance, University of Northern Colorado (1985 - 1986)
  • Research & Teaching Assistant/Special Education Division of Educational Studies, University of Northern Colorado (1983 - 1985)
  • Teacher, Emotionally Disturbed/Behaviorally Disordered, Majestic Heights Elementary School, Boulder Valley Public Schools, Colorado (1979 - 1983)
  • Teacher, Emotionally Disturbed/Behaviorally Disordered, Kohl Elementary School, Boulder Valley Schools, Colorado (1979 - 1979)
  • Teacher, Multi-Handicapped/Emotionally Disturbed Douglass Community School, Loudoun County Public Schools Leesburg, Virginia (1977 - 1979)
  • Behavior Consultant, St. John Child Development Center Washington, D.C. (1976 - 1977)

Professional Education

  • Ed.D., University of Northern Colorado, Special Education: Research, Teaching and Administration (1985)
  • M.Ed., George Mason University, Special Education: Emotional Disturbance (1977)
  • B.S., George Mason University, Early Childhood/Elementary Education (1975)

Service, Volunteer and Community Work

  • Leader, The Different from What Film Festival



  • Standing Panel Review Member Office of Special Education Services, U.S. DOE



  • Reviewer, Colorado Department of Education Splinter Grants



  • Member, Office of Special Education Programs Strategic Planning Team



  • Member, Colorado Developmental Disabilities Planning Council



  • President, Board of Directors, Developmental Disabilities Center



Research Interests

  • Equity in Education
  • Leadership and Organization
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • School Reform
  • Special Education
  • Teachers and Teaching

Stanford Advisees

  • Doctoral (Program)
    Kevin Anderson, Chris Plantinos, Estefania Rodriguez Sanchez

All Publications

  • Disability Policy in the Context of Intersectionality, Contemporary Oppressions, and Injustices: Toward a Just Future JOURNAL OF DISABILITY POLICY STUDIES Kozleski, E. B., Proffitt, W. A., Stepaniuk, I. 2023; 34 (3): 211-223
  • Examining youth agency in post-conflict, Sri-Lankan school settings INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF QUALITATIVE STUDIES IN EDUCATION Handy, T., Kozleski, E. B. 2021
  • Leading through a critical lens: The application of DisCrit in framing, implementing and improving equity driven, educational systems for all students JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION Kozleski, E. B., Stepaniuk, I., Proffitt, W. 2020
  • Disrupting what passes as inclusive education: Predicating educational equity on schools designed for all. Disrupting what passes as inclusive education: Predicating educational equity on schools designed for all Kozleski, E. B. 2020; 84 (4): 340-355
  • In the Eye of the Storm: When retreat is an unacceptable option Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners Kozleski, E. B., Stepaniuk, I., Proffitt, W. 2020; 20 (1): 16-31
  • What Peers, Educators, and Principals Say: The Social Validity of Inclusive, Comprehensive Literacy Instruction What peers, teachers, and principals say: Social validity in inclusive literacy instruction Kozleski, E. B., Hunt, P., Mortier, K., Stepaniuk, I., Fleming, D., Balasubramanian, L., Leu, G., Munandar, V. 2020: 1-18

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0014402920969184

  • Implementing Comprehensive Literacy Instruction for Students With Severe Disabilities in General Education Classrooms EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN Hunt, P., Kozleski, E., Lee, J., Mortier, K., Fleming, D., Hicks, T., Balasubramanian, L., Leu, G., Bross, L., Munandar, V., Dunlap, K., Stepaniuk, I., Aramburo, C., Oh, Y. 2020; 86 (3): 330–47
  • A Journey Towards Equity and Diversity in the Educator Workforce TEACHER EDUCATION AND SPECIAL EDUCATION Kozleski, E. B., Proffitt, W. A. 2020; 43 (1): 63–84