Donna Spencer Pitts (Doctoral Candidate, Special Education)

dp Donna Spencer Pitts, doctoral candidate, University of Florida; M.Ed. in special education, University of Florida.

As a doctoral candidate in the Department of Special Education, School Psychology & Early Childhood Studies at UF, my research is focused on the impact of Executive Function on Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Previously, I spent more than 2 decades in leadership positions in various corporate environments, while simultaneously working with children and youth with developmental and behavioral disorders. I plan to utilize my extensive experience in project and personnel management as I work to improve outcomes for students with EBD through teacher training and program development and implementation. I have taught courses in classroom management, behavior management and instruction for diverse student populations, and have supervised pre-service teachers interning in general and special education classrooms.

I have been a team member on three federally funded curriculum development projects. Tools for Getting Along, a social problem-solving and anger management curriculum for upper elementary students; Project SELF (Social-Emotional Learning Foundations), a curriculum that imbeds social/emotional learning in literacy instruction for early elementary aged children; and I Control, an Executive Function skill intervention to support improved self-regulation in middle school students with EBD.

My current research focuses on the identification and treatment of neurocognitive deficits that contribute to self-regulatory failure in students with EBD.  My research has been presented at national professional conferences, and has earned me the honor of being selected as a Doctoral Student Scholar for the Council for Exceptional Children – Division of Research.