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Cheyney-Collante, Kristi

Clinical Assistant Professor
School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies

Coordinator of Research,
James Patterson Literacy Challenge
University of Florida Literacy Institute

College of Education
University of Florida
1403 Norman Hall
P.O. Box 117050
Gainesville, FL 32611
Phone: 352-294-6970

Research Biography

Kristi Cheyney-Collante, PhD, is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education at the University of Florida, and the Coordinator of Research for the James Patterson Literacy Challenge and the University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI). Currently, Dr. Cheyney-Collante teaches graduate courses in the Dyslexia Graduate Certificate program. Her teaching, program, and course development experience includes over 30 distinct courses across a range of early intervention, special education, and literacy content, and supervision of hundreds of interns. She has also collaborated with UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning in professional development (PD) content and facilitation including Early Learning Florida, Reaching All Readers, and most recently, The Literacy Matrix (a fully online route to reading endorsement in the state of Florida). She provides service to teachers in school districts throughout the state of Florida through myriad PD projects and other outreaches, and serves on multiple program, school, and college level committees.

Dr. Cheyney-Collante’s scholarship focuses on teaching and learning in communities experiencing poverty, early language and literacy PD, and beginning reading assessment, instruction, and remediation. Her research agenda is centered within intersectional qualitative frameworks, with a particular emphasis on participant driven methodologies, photovoice, and visual ethnographic inquiry. Dr. Cheyney-Collante is a frequent speaker at local, state, and national conferences. In addition to book chapters and journal articles, she has exhibited multiple photographic installations, photo essays, and other creative projects that highlight the experiences of young children and their families, and the teachers who serve them. Dr. Cheyney-Collante is committed to translating inclusion, diversity, and equity scholarship and activism into all aspects of her teaching, scholarship, and service.


Ph.D. in Special Education, Minor in Research and Evaluation Methodology2015
University of Florida

Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology (Online Teaching and Learning), 2009
University of Florida

M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (with Honors), 2007
University of Phoenix

B.A. in Music, 1996
University of Miami

Key Professional Appointments

Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education, University of Florida: School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies, 2018 – present

Coordinator of Research, James Patterson Literacy Challenge, University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI), 2019 – present

Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, Santa Fe College, 2015 – 2018

Research/ Teaching Assistant, Project RELATE, University of Florida: School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies, 2011 – 2015

Research Assistant, Participant Driven Research (PDR) Project:  University of Florida, School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education, Research and Evaluation Methodology Program, 2014

Research Assistant, Early Learning Florida: University of Florida, College of Education, Lastinger Center for Learning, 2014

Instructor/Coordinator of the Educator Preparation Institute (EPI) and Training and Education Coordinator, Florida Gateway College, 2008 – 2011

Activities and Honors

North Central Florida – Association for the Education of Young Children:

  • Vice President for Professional Development, 2013 – present
  • Vice President for Public Policy, 2012 – 2013
  • Vice President for Professional Development, 2010 – 2012

Faculty Mentor: Santa Fe College Research in Undergraduate Education, 2016

Santa Fe College Senate: Salary and Benefits Committee, 2015 – 2018

Guest Reviewer: Exceptionality, 2013

Tutor and Trainer: University of Florida Literacy Initiative, 2011 – 2015


U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs’ Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities—Interdisciplinary Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities Who Have High-Intensity Needs (CFDA # 84.325K, Focus Area B). Project DECODE: Developing Expertise and Collaborative Opportunities for Dyslexia Educators. (PI: Holly Lane, Co-PI with Kathryn Maki, and Vivian Gonsalves). Under Review (2020).

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Children and Families. (2006 –2007). Connections Early Childhood Professional Development Project. (PI). Funded: $50,000 to Child Development Education Alliance.

Selected Publications

Refereed Publications

Cheyney-Collante, K., Gonsalves, V., Duggins, S. E., & Bader, J. (2020). A misunderstood fundamental: Developmentally appropriate strategies for letter formation practice in preschool. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 48(2), 18-23. 

Chyeney-Collante, K., & Cheyney, M. (2018). Early childhood leadership: A photovoice exploration. The Qualitative Report, 23(9), 2151-2180.

Gonsalves, V., Cheyney, K., Bader, J., & Duggins, S. (2018). The power to roar! Reaching Out to All Readers by using shared storybook reading to cultivate self-efficacy and social-emotional growth. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 46(1), 25-31.

Bettini, E., Cheyney, K., Wang, J., & Leko, C. (2015, March). Job design: An administrator’s guide to retaining and supporting special educators. Intervention in School and Clinic, 50(4), 221-225.

Theurer, J., Jean-Paul, N., Cheyney, K., Koro-Ljungberg, & Stevens, B. (2015). Wearing the label of mental illness: Community-based participatory action research of mental illness stigma. The Qualitative Report, 20(1), 42-58. 

Wang, J., Bettini, E., & Cheyney, K. (2013). Students with emotional and behavioral disorders as peer tutors: A valued role. Beyond Behavior, 23(1), 12-22.

Cheyney, K., Wang, J., & Bettini, E. & (2013). Make every word count: Using language as a bridge to self-regulation in early childhood settings. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 41(2), 11-17.

Book Chapters

Cheyney, K., & Bowden, C. (2016). Productive paradoxes in participant-driven research: Communities and audiences matter. In M. Koro-Ljungberg (Ed.), Reconceptualizing qualitative research: Methodologies without methodology (pp. 175-214). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Cheyney, K. (2009). Collaborative learning communities. In Developing capable, creative teachers [CD book, Chapter 17].  Redmond, WA: The Exchange Press, National Association of Child Care Professionals.

Creative Publications and Exhibits

Cheyney, K. (2015, December). Attuned: Transformative language interactions in play. Photographic exhibit presented at the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County, Gainesville, FL.

Cheyney, K. (2015, July – October). Behind the fence: Disrupting narratives of early childhood in high poverty communities. Photographic Installation presented at The Little Gallery at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

Cheyney, K. (2015, April). Behind the fence: A photographic exploration of high quality preschool beating the odds. Photographic Installation presented at Children’s Week in the Rotunda of the Florida State Capitol, Tallahassee, FL.

Cheyney, K. (2014, September).“To give the best of me”: Photovoice and literacy praxis in subsidized childcare. A short film.

Cheyney, K. (2013, April). “The best of me”: A photographic installation of voice, diversity, and literacy leadership from the women of subsidized childcare. Photographic Installation presented at WARPhaus Gallery, Gainesville, FL.

Cheyney, K., Gonsalves, V., & Schipper, J. (2013, February). The power to roar! A photo essay of (em)powerful literacy in preschool. Photographic Installation presented at the Alachua County Library District, Headquarters, Youth Services Department, Gainesville, FL.

Cheyney, K., Gonsalves, V., & Schipper, J. (2012, April). Roar! A photo essay of (em)powerful literacy in subsidized preschool. Photographic Installation presented at Norman Hall, University of Florida, College of Education, School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies, Gainesville, FL.

Cheyney, K. (2011, Spring/Summer). The spilling-over kind. (Genre: Short Story) The Melusine Literary Review.

Cheyney, K. (2010). Abuela. (Genre: Short Story) The Foliate Oak Literary Review.

Cheyney, K. (2010). Deportation. (Genre: Poetry) Vox Poetica. Reprinted (2012) Don’t look at the sun.