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Dr. Sarah Nagro
EdD, Johns Hopkins University
Associate Professor
Director, Interdisciplinary Center for Research and Development in Teacher Education
Special Education
Special Education: General Curriculum
Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities

Contact Information

Send email to Dr. Nagro

Phone: (703) 993-1747
Fax: (703) 993-3681
Email: snagro (

George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
Finley Building 222
4400 University Dr.
MS 1F2
Fairfax, VA 22030


A native Buffalonian and graduate of D’Youville College (2006), Dr. Sarah Nagro has worked in the field of special education for 17 years where she first taught at St. Mark School and then Buffalo Public School 45. Since then, Dr. Nagro earned a doctorate degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2015 where she studied special education and teacher education. She is currently an Associate Professor of Special Education and Disability Research at George Mason University and Professor in Charge of the Special Education PhD Specialization in the College of Education and Human Development. Her research focuses on determining how to help teacher candidates and novice teachers find success when educating students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms with the goal of retaining high quality professionals. Specifically, she focuses on understanding effective approaches to experiential learning that include video-based activities to emphasize reflective practice. Dr. Nagro is the director of The Interdisciplinary Center for Research and Development in Teacher Education (RITE) at Mason. She has published over 40 peer reviewed manuscripts and book chapters and has presented over 70 times at national conferences on topics of special education, teacher education, and education policy. During her time at Mason, Dr. Nagro has secured over $10 million in grant funding to support her research, development of other professionals, and training of doctoral students. Dr. Nagro currently serves as an elected member on two national boards, the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children and the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education. She explores how to lead change in education through policy initiatives at the federal, state, and local level. Dr. Nagro has an unwavering commitment to elevating the special education profession while addressing the national special education teacher shortage.

Grant Funding.

Most recently Michael Kennedy, Sarah, and University of Virginia colleugues were awarded a Stepping-up grant through the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education titled Project VERIFY: Value Added Through E-Coaching, Reflection, Instructional Technology, Feedback, and You. The ultimate goal of this project is to prepare coaches, administrators, teachers, and other school leaders who serve students with disabilities and others who may be at risk to use the COACHED professional development suite of tools – ultimately without direct support from the project team – to improve implementation of key evidence-based and high-leverage practices, and subsequently improve learning and behavioral outcomes for students with disabilities. 

Also, Sarah and her colleagues Dr. Michael Kennedy at University of Virginia and Dr. Shanna Hersch at Clemson University were awarded a National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) Professional Development for Educators and School-Based Service Providers Grant funded through the Institute for Education Sciences (IES). In the 2020 competition, they proposed to iteratively develop and experimentally test a multimedia, multicomponent approach to support general and special education teacher candidates’ knowledge and implementation of evidence-based classroom management practices called Feedback, Reflection, and Multimedia to Teach Evidence-Based Practices (FRaME). Project FRaME will bring together 35 collaborators from 35 different universities teaching a combined 760 teacher candidates per year on average. These teacher candidates will teach thousands of K-12 students with and without disabilities upon entering the workforce. This four-year project has the potential for a major impact in the field of special education and teacher education. To learn more, visit

Additionally, Dr. Nagro was awarded a 2019 Doctoral Preparation Grant through OSEP in collaboration with Dr. Colleen Thoma and Dr. LaRon Scott at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) titled Policy and Research Intensive Special Education Cohort (PRISE). Dr. Nagro recruited and enrolled six full-time doctoral students at Mason as part of a 13 person collaborative cohort who will focus on tackling the national teacher shortage through research and policy initiatives. Please visit to learn more.

Leadership and Honors

Dr. Nagro is an Executive Board Member for the Teacher Education Division (TED) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and Higher Education Consortium for Special Education (HECSE). She received the Quantitative Research Award (2015) from Kaleidoscope at the CEC Annual Conference, TED’s Dissertation Award (2015), the Outstanding Student Research Award (2016) from the Special Education Research SIG of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the Outstanding Dissertation Award (2017) from the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE). Most recently, Sarah received the TED Early Career Publication Award (2019). 

Research Interests
  • Special Education Teacher Education
  • Special Education Policy and Political Advocacy
  • Teacher Education Policy and Political Advocacy
  • Field Experiences
  • Reflective Practice
  • Technology Enhanced Teacher Preparation Activities
  • Video-Based Teacher Preparation Activities
  • Preparing Teacher Candidates for Inclusive Settings
  • Preparing Teacher Candidates to Teach Reading and Math to Students with High Incidence Disabilities 
  • Mixed Methods Research
  • Experimental and Quasi-experimental Group Design Research