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Dr. Heather Walter
EdD, George Washington University
Assistant Professor
Early Childhood Education

Contact Information

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Phone: 17039936582
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Email: hwalter2 (

Heather Walter's website

George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
Finley Building 206
4400 University Dr.
MS 4C2
Fairfax, VA 22030


Dr. Heather Walter is an interdisciplinary practitioner-scholar with expertise in general and special education, mixed-methodology, psychology, educational neuroscience, mental health, and well-being. Dr. Walter’s research and practice enhance the field by working within and between disciplines focusing specifically on well-being at the systems and policy level to support building healthy educational settings to improve child outcomes. Dr.Walter has worked in multiple states and various diverse settings in teaching, coaching, and consulting roles to partner in addressing individual (home and classroom) to systems level (policy and practice) to strengthen and support healthy and well schools and communities. 


Dr. Walter has published extensively in research and practitioner peer-reviewed journals and has presented at over 100 local, regional, and national conferences in support of educational topics that are important to the field such as educator and school-based well-being and retention, evidence-informed practices, and family coaching, risk and resilience and social-emotional development of young children, systems change in education, mixed methods, and educational neuroscience. Dr. Walter was one of the recipients of the 2021 Dissertation in Mixed Methods Award for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and was recognized for work on policy contributions as a poster winner, to enhance educator retention by The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD). Additionally, she received an Exchange Leader Award through the Exchange Leadership Initiative in 2021 and has been recognized with multiple teaching recognition awards. 


Dr. Walter joined George Mason University in 2021 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood and Special Education. Dr. Walter’s career has spanned more than a decade, where she was a Visiting Assistant Professor and Clinical Field Placement Liaison in the Early Childhood Special Education Department at George Washington University before joining Mason, and was an adjunct professor at multiple institutions. Dr. Walter completed her Ed.D in Special Education and Disability Studies from George Washington University. She also holds an Ed.S Leadership degree as an OSEP-funded scholar in the Leadership in Excellence in Achievement in Early Childhood Special Education Administration (LEEAD). 

Research Interests

Early Childhood/ Early Childhood Special Education

Personnel Preperation/ Worforce Retention

Policy and Eduational Systems Change 


Mixed Methods Research 

Implementation Science 

Recent Publications

Walter, H, L., Spence. C., Rooks-Ellis, D. (2024). Leading Systems Change: A Framework for Embedding Well-Being EI/ECSE. Leadership: Leading from where you are (DEC Recommended Practice Monograph Series No. 9). Division of Early Childhood.

Wade, B., C*., Koc, M*., Searcy, A*., Coogle, C., & Walter, L., H (2023). STEAM Activities in the Inclusive Classroom: Intentional Planning and Practice. Educational Science. 13(11), 1161. 

Dailey, S. F., *Hosek, B., & Walter, H. L. (2023). A Thematic Analysis of Teacher Experiences During Active Shooter Lockdown Drills. The Qualitative Report, 28(11), 3333-3357. 

Walter, H.L, Tuckwiller, E.D., Howard. L.Spencer, K.H., & Frey, J. (2023) A Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding Early Childhood Special Educators’ Well-being.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 65(4) 374-384. 

Fox, H., & Walter, H.L., & *Ball, K., (2023). Methods Used to Evaluate Teacher Well-being: A Systematic Review. Psychology in Schools, 1–22. 

Walter, H.L., Fox, H., Kutscher, E., Tuckwiller, E.D.&  *Ball., K. (2023). Tale of Caution. Navigating special education teacher resistance to wellbeing professional development. International Journal of Education Research Open 

 LaCroix, L, C., Kidd, J.K., Walter, H.L., Stone, D; Ferguson, D., Fisher-Maltese, Steen, B., Vesely, C., (2023). A Dynamic Process Model for Blending ECE/ECSE Teacher Preparation Programs. Submitted to Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, March 2022. 

Walter, H.L., Fox, H., Kutscher, E., & Tuckwiller, E.D. (2022). The dual-factor model of special education teacher well-being. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.

Fox, H., & Walter, H.L. (2022). More than strengths within Cultivating teacher resilience during COVID-19. Critical Issues in Education, 23(1.)\

Walter, H.L., Fox, H, (2021). Understanding teacher well-being during COVID-19 pandemic overtime: A qualitative longitudinal study. Journal of Organizational Psychology, 21(5) 37-51. https://doi.or1g/10.33423/jop.v21i5.4716  

Fox, H., Tuckwiller, E.D., Kutscher, E. L., & Walter, H.L. (2020). “What makes teachers well?” A mixed methods study of special education teacher well-being. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education. 9(2) 234-258.

Walter H.L. (2020). Exploring early childhood special education teachers’ wellbeing through a multidimensional lens: A mixed methods study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. The George Washington University. origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

Stites, M.L. & Walter, H.L. & Krikorian, J. (2020). These aren’t the kids I signed up for: the lived experience of general education early childhood preservice teachers in classrooms for children with special needs. Journal for Early Childhood Teacher Education.

Stites, M.L & Walter, H.L. (2019). Adding to the Equation. National Association of Elementary Principals.

Yang, S., Geller, A., Baciu, A, Alexis, N... Walter, H. L. (2018). Fifth Annual DC Public Health Case Challenge. Lead and Adverse Childhood Experiences: Neurological and Behavioral Consequences for Youth in the District of Columbia. Discussion Paper, Institute of Medicine.