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Kirk Behnke to Lead CAST Professional Learning

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Photo of Kirk Behnke

Date:
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

CAST today announced the appointment of Kirk Behnke as Senior Director of Professional Learning.  In this capacity, he leads a team of UDL implementation specialists, programmers and operations personnel to deliver high quality professional learning and technical assistance to national and international customers.

Previously he held the title of Director of Technical Assistance for the National Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Center at CAST where he supported the delivery of universal, targeted and intensive technical assistance and learning opportunities regarding accessible educational materials and accessible technologies within the United States and abroad.

“We are delighted to welcome Kirk Behnke to CAST,” says Ada Sullivan, Interim Chief Executive Officer.  “Kirk has first-rate experience in delivering professional learning and products to the education field. This, combined with his passion for Universal Design for Learning and creating more equitable learning environments, makes him an ideal choice to lead CAST Professional Learning.”

Prior to joining CAST in 2015, Kirk held the Lead for the Texas Assistive Technology Network (TATN). He was also a Senior Education Specialist for the Special Education Department at Region 4, Education Service Center in Houston, TX.

He co-led state education committees to support the development of accessible educational materials acquisition and delivery for students in Texas, which is a national model. He also helped to implement Universal Design for Learning (UDL) through various state leadership network functions to support the use of assistive technology, accessible technology, accessible instructional materials and educational technology in general.

Under the direction of Harry Murphy, Ed.D., Kirk designed, developed and implemented the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP) at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). This program was an entrepreneurial partnership with the College of Extended Learning to offer a 100-hour certificate program in the area of assistive technology and its application in early learning, K-12, higher education, workplace and independent living settings.

Education leaders praise the appointment:

  • Liz Berquist, Special Education faculty member at Towson University: “Kirk brings a wealth of experience in UDL implementation. He will be such an asset to CAST as it helps schools move from UDL exploration to integration. This appointment is well timed as both ESSA and the National Education Technology Plan highlight UDL as a framework for supporting variability, inevitably, this will prompt leaders in the field to look more closely at how to integrate UDL into their work.” 
  • Mike Marotta, Founder, ?Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC: “Kirk is a perfect fit for this position: a blend of strong theoretical knowledge and practical applications of technology to support diverse learners. Kirk knows how to create and deliver content to ensure the successful transfer of knowledge. Combined with Kirk's passion for UDL and infectious personality, CAST Professional Learning will soar. “
  • Kelly Fonner, Assistive Technology Trainer and Consultant : “Kirk established his place as an international leader when he headed the team at California State University Northridge in developing the Leadership in Assistive Technology Certificate and the ATACP training that has educated thousands of American and international professionals. … Be assured that Kirk will provide stellar leadership and everyone will want to be part of CAST Professional Learning.”
  • Harry Murphy, Director, Center on Disabilities and Founder of CSUN Conference (Retired): “Kirk is great with all aspects of technology and has proven himself as a trainer, speaker and curriculum developer throughout the United States and abroad. CAST is lucky to have him.”

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Kirk  has presented nationally and internationally on Universal Design for Learning, Assistive Technology (AT), accessible technology and Web/App Tools for over 25 years. His passion is helping to facilitate excellence in learning for all, whether it is in a classroom, lecture hall or presentation room.

He holds a Master’s from Temple University in Education/Special Education, a credential as an Assistive Technology Professional from the Rehabilitation and Engineering Society of North America (RESNA), and a Certificate in Assistive Technology Applications from the University College of Dublin, Ireland.