UF Special Education alumnus David Allsopp (MEd ’90, Specific Learning Disabilities; PhD, ’95, Special Education), has been named the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year by the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA).
The national award is given each year to an outstanding educator in the field of special education who has made a difference in the lives of individuals with learning disabilities. The award is named in honor of education pioneer Samuel A. Kirk, who is often credited with coining the term “learning disabilities.”
Allsopp is a professor of exceptional student education and assistant dean at the University of South Florida College of Education. He also occupies an endowed chair and directs the David C. Anchin Center, the hub of USF’s outreach and alliance programs in teaching and learning. Allsopp teaches at the undergraduate and doctoral levels, focusing on courses related to instructional methods for students with high-incidence disabilities and research methods for developing and validating effective practices for students with disabilities.
“Sam Kirk was a pioneer in the field of learning disabilities, and I am thankful to the Florida Learning Disabilities Association, my colleagues and my students for nominating me for an award named in his honor,” Allsopp said. “I am also thankful for my numerous students who over the years I have had the pleasure of knowing and serving, and who have made me a better person, teacher and scholar.”
A central aspect to Allsopp’s research and writing is effective mathematics instruction for students with mild to moderate learning difficulties. Another focus is the use of technology and other innovative approaches for developing highly effective special education teachers. He has written multiple journal articles, books and book chapters on effective instruction for struggling students.
Allsopp serves on the national advisory board for the RTI Action Network, a project sponsored by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, which focuses on the dissemination of validated practices for Response To Intervention.
Before joining the USF education faculty, Allsopp was a faculty member in special education at James Madison University. He began his career as a middle school teacher for students with learning disabilities and emotional-behavioral disorders in Ocala, Fla.