Dr. Keli Garas-York, a long-time Buffalo area resident, joins the Department of Elementary Education and Reading as Assistant Professor. Her research focuses on involving readers placed at at-risk, the impact of society on education, and peer discussion. Dr. Garas-York taught third grade for several years and serves as President of the Niagara Frontier Reading Council, which seeks to encourage literacy education, professional development and community service within Western New York. She is a strong advocate for building relationships with teachers and schools and using research regarding the effect of societal values and activities to better understand the needs of our students. Dr. Garas-York asserts that it is essential for educators to critically analyze the reasons many students are struggling and to ask, “What’s going on in schools that is positive that other students can learn from?” In addition, she stresses the importance of effective reading instruction and hopes to focus her efforts on urban schools in the city of Buffalo. She is excited to be at Buffalo State College because of the wonderful resources and opportunities available for completing research, working with technology, and getting involved in the area schools. Dr. Garas-York’s advice to future educators is, “Know your students. If you know them then you know how to instruct them, you know how to manage them. You cannot go in (to a school) with your own agenda and start preaching. It’s not going to work.”
Dr. Satasha Green moved to Buffalo from Texas and joins the Department of Exceptional Education as Assistant Professor. Her research concentrates on culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy and educational challenges affecting students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Dr. Green’s work as director and co-founder of the non-profit International Special Education Coalition organization allowed her an opportunity to travel to Kenya, Africa to research the cross-cultural characteristics of autism. She was lured into her profession through an interest in enhancing the experiences of children with disabilities through enhancing the training of teachers and promotes “looking at teacher preparation and culturally responsive teaching for students with disabilities.” Dr. Green hopes to incorporate her former research activities into her work at Buffalo State, particularly her work in developing a computer software program that advances the literacy development of African American learners with dialect differences as well as examining the over-representation of African American male students in Special Education.
Dr. Theresa Janczak is native to the city of Buffalo and joins the Department of Exceptional Education as Assistant Professor. She seeks research regarding the philosophical beliefs of teachers in light of inclusive programming, tutoring for children placed at-risk and children with disabilities, and literacy. Dr. Janczak spent several years working with elementary/middle school children in the Buffalo schools, has assisted the Buffalo schools with several state improvement grants, and served as coordinator of the State Education Department’s Special Education Training and Resource Center before becoming involved in higher education. She serves as the president of the local chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children and is working to help educators find more successful ways to provide children with disabilities a more individualized and responsive intervention. Dr. Janczak is passionate about establishing relevant curriculum that helps educators teach children to become effective communicators and scholars, “I do what I do because I want good teachers for children.”
Dr. Kevin Miller is returning to his home state from central Florida and joins the Department of Exceptional Education as Assistant Professor. His research centers on preparing teachers to be more responsive in their teaching, electronic performance software, and the use of biofeedback with students who have emotional behavioral issues. After a variety of special education-related positions across the nation, Dr. Miller was excited at the prospect of returning to the institution from which he obtained his master’s as a way of “paying it forward” and becoming part of a program that he strongly supports. He has significant grant writing experience, particularly in the area of personnel training, and is currently completing research focusing on preparing teachers through multi-media. While at Buffalo State, Dr. Miller hopes to enhance his research and grant writing efforts for finding tools to assist children with emotional and behavioral disorders as well as secondary education and transition programming for students with disabilities at the high school level. His driving force is the desire to “have a voice for children” who are many times “shunned” by schools and society. Dr. Miller believes educators must maintain a deliberate research agenda in order to remain informed and effective as instructors.