Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Disability and Equity in Education

First Advisor

Dr. Terry Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathy Kotel

Third Advisor

Dr. Todd Price


This phenomenological study investigated the experiences and perceptions of special education teachers, general education teachers, and administrators on inclusion, collaboration, and co- teaching in supporting the academic and behavioral growth of all students. The following themes were identified: (a) individual definition of collaboration, (b) school leader training, (c) support and feedback from administration, (d) teachers’ and principals’ perceptions, (e) student achievement, and (f) participants’ knowledge base of co-teaching models. The findings indicate that although co-teaching and inclusion has become common practice and educators generally believe in its virtues, there are some persistent difficulties based on limiting beliefs about students with disabilities, teacher roles and knowledge base, administrative support and understanding, and issues of respect and parity. Recommendations for systemic change are included.


I would like to acknowledge everyone who played a role in my academic accomplishments. First of all, my family, who have always supported my endeavors. Especially you, MOM and PAPA, I could never have reached this current level of success without you guys pushing, reassuring, and having infinite belief in me. To Brent, and my close friends, you don’t understand how much of a rock you all have been, listening to me constantly threaten to quit, and b…. and moan. Thank you, I love you!! Secondly, my chair, Terry, who has provided patient advice and guidance throughout the research process and has been absolutely God send throughout this entire process; actually, throughout my doctoral process since I entered NLU as student. You taught, inspired, and drove me to be my best self. I appreciate all that you have done for me. Thank you all for your unwavering support. And lastly, to my committee, thank you for agreeing to be a part of the last leg of my journey.