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Beth S. Fornauf

Research Scientist
Photo of Beth Fornauf

As a Research Scientist, Beth Fornauf uses her background in qualitative research, disability studies, and teacher learning to support CAST projects at various stages of research and development.

Prior to coming to CAST, Beth was an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Special Education at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. She taught courses for practicing teachers, teacher candidates, and educational leaders on critical special education, research design, and inclusive education. In this role Beth worked closely with school districts across northern New England to support the recruitment, preparation, and retention of inclusive special education teachers.

Beth’s research explores how educators can draw on Disability Studies/Disability Critical Race Studies (DisCrit) and UDL as complementary frameworks for inclusive, equity-oriented pedagogy. She enjoys working across systems to support teacher learning and development, and to establish and maintain connections among universities, schools, and communities. Beth currently serves on the board of the New England Educational Research Organization (NEERO), a regional affiliate of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Beth has also worked for the University of New Hampshire’s Teacher Residency for Rural Education (TRRE), a rural teacher residency program focused on recruiting and preparing teachers for rural New Hampshire schools.

When she isn’t working, Beth enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and enjoying the outdoors with her family.

My Inspiration

Change never happens while people are busy being sensible and realistic. It happens when we dare to imagine a world that is otherwise and take risks to make it so.

Jan Valle & David Connor, Rethinking Disability

This quote reminds me of the “why" in my work. I love that it lifts imagination and serves as a powerful reminder that great things can happen when we value and use it.


Ph.D., University of New Hampshire
M.Ed., University of New Hampshire
B.A., Villanova University

Selected Publications

Fornauf,  B.,  Reagan,  E.M., McCurdy, K., Mascio, B., & Collins, M. (forthcoming). Tensions in Operationalizing Universal Design for Learning (UDL): A Collaborative Self-Study of a Teacher Residency. Studying Teacher Education.

Tompkins, A., Collins, M., Mascio, B., & Fornauf, B. (2022, June 2). The Ongoing Journey to Equitable Practice. [Blog post, Albert Shanker Institute]. Retrieved from

Fornauf, B., & Mascio, B. (2021). Extending DisCrit: A Case of Universal Design for Learning in a Rural Teacher Residency. Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 24(5), 671-686

Erickson, J.D., Ward, A., Chase, J., & Fornauf, B. (2021). 5 Principles to Nurture Motivation within Early Reading Interventions. The Reading Teacher, 74(5), 493-503.

Fornauf, B., Higginbotham, T. Mascio, B., McCurdy, K., & Reagan, E.M. (2020). Analyzing Barriers, Innovating Pedagogy: Applying Universal Design for Learning in a Teacher Residency. The Teacher Educator, 56(2), 153-170.

Erickson, J. D. & Fornauf, B. (2019). Supporting primary students’ reading motivation over the summer: An investigation of teachers’ instructional literacy practices and perceptions in a thematic camp setting. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 19(4), 487-514).

Selected Presentations

Fornauf, B. (Guest presenter). (2019, Oct. 23). UDL in 15 Minutes [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

Fornauf, B. (2022, April). "Wicked Smart" and "True Learning Disability": Navigating Ableist Language While Applying Universal Design for Learning. Paper accepted at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA/Virtual.

Mascio, B., Fornauf, B., Tompkins, A., & Collins, M. (2021, November). Supporting Rural Teachers in Developing Equitable and Inclusive Mindsets & Practices. Paper presented at the National Forum to Advance Rural Education, Indianapolis, IN/Virtual.

Fornauf,  B.,  Collins,  M.,  Higginbotham,  T.,  Mascio,  B.,  McCurdy,  K.,  Reagan,  E.M.  (2021,  April). Tensions in Operationalizing Universal Design for Learning: A Collaborative Self-Study of a Teacher Residency.  In E.M. Reagan (Chair), Inquiry and Evidence in a Rural Teacher Residency Program [Paper Symposium]. Paper presented at the New England Educational Research Organization, Virtual Conference.

Fornauf, B. (2021, April). Contested Discourse: How Teachers Applying Universal Design for Learning Resist and Reinforce Norms of Ability. Paper presented at the New England Educational Research Organization, Virtual Conference.

Mascio, B., Fornauf, B. (2021, April). Universal Design for Learning and DisCrit: A Joint Path for Preparing Rural Teachers to Teach Underserved Students.  In K. Kehoe (Chair), An Ecological Perspective on Supporting At-Risk Readers in Rural Elementary Schools [Paper Symposium]. Paper accepted at the Society for Research in Child Development Virtual Conference.

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