Director of the Graduate Programs in Education and Director of the programs in Special Education and Adolescence Education
Phone: (845) 848-4090
Dr. Mike Kelly has been a member of Dominican’s Teacher Education Division since 1987. He graduated from Iona College with a BA in Spanish and Education and then pursued his MS in Ed in Special Education at the College of New Rochelle followed by a post Masters/Professional Diploma in Administration/Supervision and Urban Education and a Ph.D in Administration and Supervision with an emphasis in Special Education Administration. Dr. Kelly instructs many courses in Teacher Education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels—in traditional and online formats. He serves as the Director of the Graduate Programs in Education as well as Director of the programs in Special Education and Adolescence Education at the undergraduate level and advises the Senior Year Overlap Program (SYROP). He is the Certification Officer and liaison with the NYS Education Department. Dr. Kelly’s commitment to the profession of teaching includes a ten-year tenure with the NYS Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) where he served as regional representative and student chapter advisor and currently with the NYS Education Department where his committee membership includes responsibilities for the NYS Teacher Certification Tests Framework Review, Test Item Development, Bias Assessment and Standard Setting. He has a professional practice where he provides psycho-educational diagnostic, remedial and counseling services for children, adolescents and young adults with learning disabilities. He has presented at many state and local conferences on his topics of research interest including Inclusive Pedagogical Practices, Universal Design for Learning, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Assessment, Parenting, HIV/Aids Education, Educational Technology Integration and Cultural Responsiveness.
Lecturer In Special Education
B.S., Marywood College
M.S., St. Thomas Aquinas College
B.S., University of Scranton
M.A., New York University
Director of Teacher Education Division, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education
Dr. Diane DiSpagna received her Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Special Education from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. DiSpagna has earned two degrees from Long Island University including a Master’s of Science in Early Childhood Education and a Professional Diploma in Educational Administration, with a certification as School District Administrator. Her Undergraduate studies were completed here at Dominican University where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Education, with an N-6 Teaching Certification. Before coming to Dominican, Dr. DiSpagna taught in the early childhood and primary grades and served as an elementary school principal for 10 years, all of which has given her many years of valuable experiences to share with the students in the Teacher Education Program. During her career she has also served as a consultant for the teacher preparation programs for other higher education institutions, as a scorer for the Principal Licensure Examination, and is an active member of the Rockland Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children. Dr. DiSpagna also serves as Counselor for the Dominican University Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education.
Coordinator, Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments Program Assistant Professor
Phone: (713) 542-1401
Olaya Landa-Vialard, received her Ph.D. in Special Education with an emphasis on Visual Impairments/Blindness from Texas Tech University. Olaya was a Fellow in the National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities. She has worked as a Bilingual Elementary School Teacher, Bilingual Educational Diagnostician for Students with Visual Impairments/Blindness Birth to 21, Bilingual TVI/Early Interventionist, and Bilingual In-Home Trainer for Students with Autism and Visual Impairments. Olaya is the President of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI) and is a consultant to educational agencies for assessments of students who are blind/visually impaired. Advocacy is something that is close to her heart. She has participated in many advocacy events in Washington, D.C. She has organized advocacy events locally to help bring awareness to the issues in the field of Visual Impairments/Blindness. She has also co-authored position papers in the field of visual impairments/blindness. She is a peer-reviewed published author with publications in the Journal of Visual Impairments and Blindness and the International Journal of Orientation and Mobility. She has also been a Co-Principal Investigator for a 1.25 million Department of Education Grant training Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments to become Early Interventionists.
Associate Professor of Teacher Education
Phone: (845) 848-4091
Dr. Strax earned her B.A. from Dominican University, M.S. and P.D. from the College of New Rochelle, and Ed.D. from Fordham University. She is a past president of the New England Educational Research Organization, has held many leadership positions in the Eastern Educational Research Association since 1999, and has published on the topic of special education. A qualitative researcher, her interests include inclusive education, the use of service dogs with people with disabilities, and children’s literature. Dr. Strax teaches Psychosocial Aspects of Exceptionality in the graduate program as well as a range of courses including Instructional Strategies and Materials for the Learner with Exceptionalities, Psychology of Learners with Intellectual and Behavioral Challenges, Inclusive Settings, and School and Society in the undergraduate program.