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Shirley Spiegel

Coordinator of Special Education and Assistant Principal, Mercer Area School District 

Statement of Research Interest/Problem of Practice:
Her research interests focus on the need for instructional collaboration between general and special education professionals within the regular education setting.

Shirley Spiegel earned her bachelor and masters degrees from Slippery Rock University, where she served as an officer in Kappa Delta Pi, and Lambda Epsilon Delta and placed third in the Student PSEA Harrisburg Learning Center competition in 1993. Spiegel was the recipient of the Madeline Farnen Stoops Educational Academic Scholarship in 1994. She received her Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility from Westminster College in 2015.

She began her teaching career as a substitute teacher in Mercer County. She joined Sharon City School District in 1995 as a classroom paraprofessional for the next three years in grades 1, 2, and 5 at Case Avenue and West Hill schools and established after-school programs, directed assembly skits, and created clubs that promoted the importance of Reading. In 1999, she joined the Mercer Area School District as an eighth grade language arts and Title 1 paraprofessional. She accepted the position of Instructional Support teacher for the K-6 building where she handled discipline and academic concerns and held monthly meetings with parents of students receiving services and established a club of student puppeteers whose skits taught peers about non-violence, fighting bullying, forming friendships, making good decisions and avoiding drugs. In 2001, Spiegel accepted a second grade teaching position and two years later, moved to third grade. During that time, she received Principal Certification via a cohort between Slippery Rock and Clarion Universities. Shirley was nominated for Disney's American Teacher Award in 2001.

In 2011, she joined Mercer Area School District's Administration Team as Assistant K-6 Elementary Principal and Coordinator of Special Education. She served as Public Relations representative for the district at Mercer's Chamber of Commerce meetings and formed a Child Study Team to address academic and behavior concerns. In 2012, she became Coordinator of Special Education and re-established and supervised the AmeriCorps program. Shirley has presented at Allegheny College and Grove City College on the topics of Child Study Teams and the professional protocol she implemented at Mercer Area School District for conducting Individualized Educational Program meetings and has been rated as distinguished in conducting teacher evaluations. She is currently writing a book: Having a Vision: The Perspective of a New Administrator. On rare occasions, she performs as a storyteller, a talent she discovered in 1993 while at Slippery Rock as a member of the SRU Storytelling group.

Mentored by: Dr. Kathleen Strickland
Professor Emeritus and Former Dean of the College of Education, Slippery Rock University

After earning her bachelor and masters degrees from Buffalo State College, Kathleen Strickland began her teaching career in 1977 in Tonawanda, New York. For the next several years, Strickland taught reading and language arts in elementary, middle, and high school. In 1984, Strickland helped to establish an Academic Support Center for college students at Buffalo State College, eventually becoming a director of the center. In 1988, Strickland joined the faculty of Slippery Rock University, teaching courses in reading and language arts methods to elementary and secondary education majors. At that time, Strickland also began her doctoral studies in Rhetoric and Linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. During her graduate work, Strickland began publishing articles in referred journals, and her first book, co-authored with her husband James, was published in 1993. The next year Strickland was awarded Slippery Rock University's President's Award for Outstanding Publication and her second book, based on her doctoral dissertation, was published in 1995. In 2001, Strickland was awarded Slippery Rock University's President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Over the next ten years, Strickland published four more books, numerous articles, presented at international and national conferences, and consulted in schools from New Jersey to Hawaii. During these years, Strickland became graduate coordinator in reading in the Elementary Education department at the university while teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in literacy education.

In 2007, Strickland established The Center for Teaching Excellence at Slippery Rock University and became director of the Center for the next two years. Strickland also organized and facilitated three bi-annual Autism Awareness conferences, hosting a myriad of national and regional speakers, for an audience of 500-600 conference participants. In 2009, Strickland became the Dean of the College of Education, a position she held until her recent retirement. During her years as dean, Strickland worked with faculty to meet new Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requirements in all certification programs, established new programs in several majors, and participated in Teacher Education association meetings nationally and state-wide.

Strickland's research interests and publications included literacy acquisition, student-centered instruction, assessment, and supporting students on the autism spectrum.