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Dr. Peggy E. King-Sears
PhD, University of Florida
Professor Emerita of Education
Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities
Special Education
Special Education: General Curriculum

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Email: mkingsea (

George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
Finley Building
4400 University Dr.
Fairfax, VA 22030


Margaret E. King-Sears is a Professor of Special Education in the College of Education and Human Development. She received her Ph.D. in special education from the University of Florida, her masters in special education from the University of North Florida, and her undergraduate degree in special education from Valdosta State College. Before coming to George Mason University in 2005, she was a Professor in the Department of Special Education at Johns Hopkins University. While at Johns Hopkins University, she developed and coordinated several teacher preparation programs, including the Mild/Moderate Disabilities Program, the Inclusive Education Program, and a Math Certificate for Middle and High School Educators Teaching Students with Diverse Learning Needs. During her tenure at Johns Hopkins University (1989 to 2005), she was Principal Investigator for multiple federal grants for teacher preparation and self-management research.

Prior to working in higher education, Dr. King-Sears taught elementary and secondary students who had a range of disabilities (learning disabilities, emotional or behavioral disorders, mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, and autism). She taught in public schools in Jacksonville FL and in the Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Schweinfurt, Germany, and Okinawa, Japan.

Her first textbooks were on curriculum-based assessment (1994) and inclusive education (1997). These topics focus on her research interests for how special educators monitor students progress across instructional sessions, and the use of differentiation so that there are more opportunities for students with disabilities to learn with and relate to their same-age peers (and vice versa). Related to inclusion, Dr. King-Sears has also been researching ways that teachers can design and deliver self-management instruction to students with and without disabilities. She believes that self-management can promote students independence for a variety of skills in different settings. In 2003, she co-authored a text on Student-Directed Learning (Paul H. Brookes Publishing). In 2015, she was lead author for Collaborative Teaming (Paul H. Brookes Publishing).  A guide titled Teaching Students How to Use Self-Management was published by National Professional Resources in 2019.

She was nominated for the George Mason University 2019 Teaching Excellence Award. In 2018, with colleagues Anya Evmenova and Todd Johnson, their publication won the Samuel A. Kirk Publication Award for Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, Practice article, from the Council for Exceptional Children's Division for Learning Disabilities. During 2014, Dr. King-Sears received the Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD) Floyd G. Hudson Award for her "...outstanding performance and commitment ...  in the field of learning disabilities in a role outside of the classroom. This CLD member, working in a leadership capacity, enhances the professional learning of others in the field and impacts the lives of persons with learning disabilities."  She was nominated for the 2011 Service Award in the Teacher Education Division (TED) of the Council for Exceptional Children. In 1998, Dr. King-Sears was recognized by the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning for her "Contributions in Research to Practice." That same year, she also received an Outstanding Service award from the Council for Learning Disabilities. She has served in multiple leadership roles in professional organizations, including as President of the Council for Learning Disabilities in 2002-2003.

She is a member of several professional organizations, including the Council for Exceptional Children, the American Education Research Association, and Council for Learning Disabilities. Dr. King-Sears currently serves on the Editorial Board of five peer-reviewed professional journals: Learning Disability Quarterly, Remedial and Special Education, Intervention in School and Clinic, Teacher Education and Special Education, and Exceptional Children. She is also an Associate Editor for Remedial and Special Education.

Dr. King-Sears was Principal Investigator for Universal Design for Learning Mathematics Units under a School Reform grant funded by the US Department of Education (2006-2009). She was in collaboration with four other partners to design and develop items for a "Math Toolkit" to assist middle school teachers working with students with diverse learning needs, including students with disabilities. She has guest edited special issues of two journals featuring research on Universal Design for Learning: Learning Disability Quarterly (2014, 2015) and Remedial and Special Education (publication August 2020).

She was also a Principal Investigator for a federally-funded Doctoral Leadership Grant in Special Education (2008-2014), in collaboration with Drs. Frederick Brigham and Pamela Baker at George Mason University. Currently, with Dr. Anya Evmenova, she is leading a second federally-funded Doctoral Leadership Grant in Special Education -- ASPIRE -- to prepare PhD students for a career in higher education (2019-2024). In Spring 2022, Dr. King-Sears earned an Excellence in Teaching award (six awarded across the university). 

Research Interests
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Co-Teaching
  • Self-Management Techniques
  • Differentiation
  • Inclusive Education
Recent Publications

Refer to CV

Other Information


Podcast by Dr. King-Sears about the Learning Disability Quarterly's special issues on Universal Design for Learning, for which she was guest editor: Sage Publisher:

Laminated Guide Teaching Students How to Use Self-Management was published by National Professional Resources in 2019.: