Westlake Hall 240
Ph.D., Special Education, Director of Special Education, Purdue University
M.S., Special Education, Butler University
B.A., Learning Behavior Specialist, Computer Education, Purdue University
After earning my Bachelors in the field of special education with a minor in computer education from Purdue University, I became a K-12 teacher of students with special needs. I enjoyed several years of teaching and working with individuals with varying needs, while working toward my Masters in the field of behavior disorders from Butler University. I returned once again to Purdue University for my Doctorate in the field of special education, also minoring in Administration and Supervision as a Director of Special Education. While earning my Doctorate, I taught as an adjunct professor at Purdue, Butler, the University of Indianapolis, as well as Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis. My scholarship centers on multi- and interdisciplinary collaboration related to successful inclusion of all learners and using robotics to help teach social skills to individuals with autism spectrum disorder. I have a patent, have published several scholarly articles and book chapters, presented worldwide, across the nation and locally, secured over $100K in grants, and the two-time recipient of the College of Education, Counseling and Leadership Research Award at Bradley University.
She currently teaches classes in the Teacher Education Program using hands-on, real-world, experiential learning with her students and alumni. As a mother and now a ‘MeeMee’ to their grandson, Dr. Kuester and her husband enjoy family-time with their son’s family, riding the motorcycle, especially for the Peoria to Memphis St. Jude Rides, hiking in the mountains, kayaking, camping and eating ice cream (and Kit Kats) any time of the year!
ETE 210 Human Development: Birth to Young Adult
Integration of the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of the development and growth of the individual from conception to adulthood. Study the physiology of learning, the interactive nature of the teaching/learning process, and the need to consider developmental and cultural appropriateness in meeting individual learning needs, with an emphasis on acknowledging and accommodating exceptionality and diversity including an awareness of the social and emotional development of children. Environmental factors affecting development, including cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, individual, social contexts, and parent-child interaction.
ETE 232 Special Education for Secondary Programs
Provides foundational knowledge of individuals with exceptional learning needs (ELN) with an overview of categories and characteristics. Emphasis is on co-teaching and collaborative alignment of appropriate adaptations, accommodations and modifications to IEPs and 504 plans that support successful inclusion.
ETE 291 Assistive Technology
Addresses the assistive technology (AT) evaluation, selection, and application process for individuals with disabilities in school, the workplace and the community. Emphasis on assessment of the individual, environment, and tasks required of the person prior to evaluation of technologies and adaptations that enable the individual to function as fully as possible in his/her daily lives. Through illustrations and case examples students will obtain knowledge and skills required for the use of AT devices or adaptations and factors to consider in the selection and implementation processes.
ETE 310 Teacher Performance Assessment
Prepares preservice teacher to complete the education teacher performance assessment (edTPA) required for licensure. Gain skills needed to complete a TPA based upon integration of education program objectives and the novice teaching experience. Analyze the context for learning in the classroom, plan a unit of instruction including adaptations for diverse learners, teach the unit while attending to academic language, assess student learning. Make video recording of the unit teaching and collect student work samples. Reflect on the pedagogical decisions in a formal manner, citing research as justification for the choices. Completed edTPA is evaluated locally and feedback is provided to the candidate.
ETE 345 Guiding Learners and Developing Classroom Communities
Emphasis on theories of guidance and learner-centered instruction including Response to Intervention (RtI) strategies for positive behavioral supports. Classroom management that is developmentally and culturally appropriate practice to nourish natural curiosity, develop problem-solving skills, acknowledge and accommodate learners with exceptionalities, including diverse cultures, students at risk, and English Language Learners, and develop a sense of community for success of all learners within inclusive environments.
ETE 391 Methods for Developmental Disabilities
Characteristics and methods for planning and teaching students with moderate to severe exceptionalities (i.e., intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury, orthopedic, other moderate to severe exceptionalities). Emphasis on moderate to severe developmental disabilities, Individual Education Programs, self-determination, assessment, experiential-based curriculum in the psychomotor, cognitive, affective domains, transition planning, person-centered adaptations for inclusion within society. Students are required to complete 12 student contact hours with individual(s) with moderate to severe developmental disabilities in an educational setting.
ETE 425 Education Programming for Students with Exceptionalities
Addresses legal, psychological, and social impact of various exceptionalities, and professionalism. The laws governing the development and implementation of educational and transition programs for individuals with exceptionalities is also reviewed. Discussion and evaluation of legal documents for consent and notification. Code of Ethics and Standards for Professional Practice, and Individual Education Program development will be the focus.
ETE 445 Educational Collaboration
Focus is effective collaboration with families, educators, administrators, related service providers, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways. Competent teachers will use knowledge and effective written, verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to foster leadership, active inquiry, supportive interaction, shared goals, and group consensus that advocate and support the success among learners with exceptionalities. Working together toward common goals of meeting unique needs of all students necessitates teamwork for successful co-teaching, Response to Intervention, and successful transitions pre- and post-secondary education.
ETE 496 Student Teaching Supervision (LBS)
Engage in a supervised, full time teaching experience in a Peoria-area LBS I learning environment. Plan and implement instruction, assessments for individuals, small groups, and class, gradually taking responsibility for 100% of teaching duties including issues related to equity, diversity, social and emotional awareness. Complete weekly reflections to assess their professional growth as defined by the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards. Open only to students who have: adequate preparation in subject matter, demonstrated proficiency with regard to program and course objectives, prerequisites, and evidenced fitness for entering the teaching profession.
ETE 498 Student Teaching Supervision (Elem 1-6)
Engage in a supervised, full time teaching experience in a Peoria-area grade 1-6 learning environment. Plan and implement instruction, assessments for individuals, groups, and class, gradually taking responsibility for 100% of teaching duties including issues related to equity, diversity and social and emotional awareness. Complete weekly reflections to assess professional growth as defined by the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards. Open only to students who have: adequate preparation in subject matter, demonstrated proficiency with regard to program and course objectives, prerequisites, and evidenced fitness for entering the teaching profession.\
My approach to teaching is a hands-on, experiential learning opportunity that builds upon the learner’s foundational knowledge and life experiences. Everyone brings their own gifts and talents to the table. When we share our gifts and talents with others, our learning and lives are enriched with think-outside-the-box collaboration, which yields engaging, cross-discipline innovative outcomes.
What I Love About Teaching:
At an early age, I always loved adventures – learning new things, creating things using my hands, exploring. I grew up believing that if I could turn things into a fun adventure, maybe, just maybe, I could help others to learn new things as much as I did. I have had the privilege of watching several students’ learning evolve over the years, teaching and mentoring them along the way. Being a part of the journey, watching them learn how to tap into their own talents they brought to the table and how to believe in themselves the way I did? Well, that’s the ultimate adventure I’m honored to explore with them again, and again, and again.
Scholarly works center on innovative collaboration, the use of robotics to help teach social skills and interdisciplinary collaboration between preservice teachers majoring in special education and secondary majors to help support successful inclusion of individuals with varying disabilities.
- Kuester, D. A. Social Rules for Students at Risk for ADHD. Saarbrucken: Germany, VDM Verlag.
- Kuester, D. A., & Randles, L. Disaster drills for students with exceptionalities. In New Teacher’s Guide to Overcoming Common Challenges. Abingdon UK: Taylor and Francis Publishing.\
- Kuester, D. A. & Kuester, E. J. Patent, Universal Learning System, WO2008/101245A2, Regular, United Kingdom.
- Kuester, D. A., Gerontes-Bowe, L., & Randles, L. Using a clicker to help reduce toe walking of an 8-year old boy with autism spectrum disorder. American International Journal of Research in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
- Tennyson, M., Kuester, D. A., Casteele, J., & Nikolopoulos, C. Accessible Robots for Improving Social Skills of Individuals with Autism. Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Soft Computing Research, 6, 267-277.
- Tennyson, M., Kuester, D. A., & Nikolopoulos, C. Robotic agents used to help teach social skills to individuals with autism: the fourth generation. Proceedings of the IEEE Computational Intelligence in Robotic Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Symposium (CIR2AT), 42-48.
- Kuester, D. A., & Zentall, S. S. Social interaction rules in cooperative learning groups for students at-risk for ADHD. Journal of Experimental Education, 80, 69-95.
- Nikolopoulos, C., & Kuester, D. A., Sheehan, M., & Dhanya, S. Investigation on requirements of robotic platforms for teaching social skills to individuals with autism. In M. H. Lamers and F. J. Verbeek (Eds.), HRPR, Proceedings of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, LNICST 59, 65-73.
- Nikolopoulos, C., Kuester, D. A., Sheehan, M., Ramteke, S., Karmarkar, A., Thota, S., Kearney, J., Boirum, C., Bojedla, S., & Lee, A. Robotic agents used to help teach social skills to children with autism: the third generation. 20th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication Ro-MAN Conference Proceedings, 253-258.
- Kuester, D. A. Preparing “antifragile” general and special education teachers: Collaborating to actively include (not actively exclude) students with disabilities in emergency protocol. International Meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators, Chicago, IL.
- Kuester, D. A., & Randles, L. Collaboration across disciplines and real-world engagement: teacher preparedness projects that support the changing landscape of education. Presentation at the 100th Anniversary Annual International Meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators, Atlantic City NJ.
- Kuester, D. A. What I wish I knew: unique reflections inspiring exceptional collaboration. Presentation at the Annual International Learning Disabilities of America Conference. Fort Worth, TX.
- Kuester, D. A., & Randles, L. K. TAGteach and orientation and mobility: implications to improve teacher preparedness. Presentation at the Annual Council for Exceptional Children Teacher Education Division International Conference, Savannah, GA.
- Kuester, D. A. Autism and robots: empowerment using alternative employment supports for a nonverbal adult. Presentation at the Annual TASH International Conference, St. Louis, MO.
- Kuester, D. A. Experiential learning, transition planning and edTPA: bridging the gap between secondary teacher preparation and student success. Presentation at the Annual Council for Exceptional Children Teacher Education Division International Conference, Phoenix, AZ.
- Russell, A., & Kuester, D. A. Parallels between experiential learning and experiential psychotherapy. Presentation at the AARC 2015 Assessment and Research Conference, Memphis, TN.
- Tennyson, M., Kuester, D. A., & Nikolopoulos, C. Robotic agents used to help teach social skills to individuals with autism: the fourth generation. IEEE-Computational Intelligence Society, Orlando, FL.
- Kuester, D. A. Interdisciplinary collaboration, secondary teacher preparation programs and edTPA: improving preparedness. Presentation at Annual Council for Exceptional Children Teacher Education Division International Conference, Indianapolis, IN.
My service embraces several aspects of my career and life. I’ve served as a member and committee chairperson on department, college and university level committees and enjoy being a faculty sponsor for Alpha Kappa Alpha Epsilon Eta Sorority, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. Community involvement includes many years as a member of the Peoria to Memphis St. Jude Rides group, a coordinator and event sponsor for St. Jude, a partner with the Special Education Association of Peoria County, and a volunteer and or event coordinator with STEM robotics competition teams, the juvenile detention center, and area schools. I’m a member of the Association of Teacher Educators, an executive board member of the Illinois Association of Teacher Educators, member of the Council for Exceptional Children, a reviewer for the Council for Exceptional Children Teacher Education Division and member of the Learning Disabilities Association.
Licensures and Certifications
- Administration and Supervision, Director of Special Education
- Computer Education Endorsement
- Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI – Ref. #1010943, 2007)
- Epilepsy Recognition and Early Response Certification (Illinois 2008)