As Chief Research & Development Officer, Dr. Tara Courchaine leads CAST’s research and development division to re-set CAST’s transformative vision for applied research in education for the next generation. She expands CAST’s network of enduring strategic partnerships across the applied research eco-system and helps to ensure equitable access to learning by advancing the body of knowledge around Universal Design for Learning, supportive technologies and inclusive education.
Before joining CAST, Dr. Courchaine was an Education Program Specialist in the Office of the Director in the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education. As part of her former role, she helped to support the work in both the Research to Practice and Monitoring and State Improvement Program Divisions. She effectively coordinated and facilitated groups and projects to further OSEP’s mission. Her portfolio areas included technology and accessibility, English language learners with and without disabilities, disproportionate representation in special education, and multi-tiered systems of support. As a project officer she worked with State Professional Development Projects (SPDGs), Model Demonstration Grants and grants focused on accessibility to help SEAs, LEAs and schools meet IDEA 2004 requirements to provide accessible instructional materials, in a timely manner, to eligible students.
As an educator, I taught early childhood students, in both general and special education, in public and Catholic school settings. These experiences, tied with my more recent work experiences have influenced the development of my research interests, which are related to issues of inclusive practice, teacher knowledge, and skills in special education and differentiation, for diverse and exceptional learners. One of my favorite quotes, I first heard here at CAST from Joy Zabala. She quoted Maya Angelou when she said, “Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.”
Ed.D., Special Education, The George Washington University
M. Ed., Curriculum & Instruction, The George Washington University
B.A., Psychology, St. Mary’s College