Keri Mignano is a kindergarten special education teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools, located in Virginia. She is currently earning her Masters of Education with a double major in Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction. Keri originally started earning a degree in nursing before later realizing her passion was in making a difference in the lives of students with disabilities.
The use of virtual Individual Education Programs (IEPs) is the focus of her graduate research. Using survey methodology, Keri discovered that while many teachers were initially stressed with the switch to virtual IEPs, many have now embraced the virtual process as it has allowed for increased family participation.
Keri became interested in international special education through a research class at her university, Marymount, which resulted in her attending the DISES conference in Jamaica. There she did a presentation with other graduate students and their professor, Dr. Clara Hauth. Keri started her international work as a student teacher in New Zealand at an inclusive school in Auckland. Keri worked in a self-contained classroom with 6 students. She says special education in New Zealand is in the developing stages. Students with disabilities attend the same schools as their non-disabled peers, but special education classrooms are often self-contained. Keri enjoyed learning about the culture in New Zealand, as well as about the attitudes towards diverse learners.
She also had the opportunity to engage in international education in Jamaica, where she was able to work in a school as part of an interuniversity Changemaker partnership. During this time, Keri provided training on best practices in transition and helped create a catalogue as a resource for classroom teachers working with transition-age students.