Kyena Cornelius 

Clinical Associate Professor

Kyena Cornelius


(352) 273-4280



Dr. Kyena Cornelius is a Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies. Her scholarship focuses on teacher education, mentoring and induction, and online instruction. Her professional goals center around elevating the teaching profession. She is currently an instructor of special education courses in various programs in the College of Education and provides professional development to in-service educators and school administrators in Co-Teaching, Inclusive practices, and the High-Leverage Practices (HLPs).

Dr. Cornelius joined the faculty at UF following eight years at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her primary assignment was faculty in the initial preparation program that led to special education teacher licensure. While there she also served as the College of Education Accreditation Coordinator and sponsor for the student chapter of the Council for Expectational Children (CEC). Her work in Mankato focused on teaching standards and preparing classroom ready special education teachers committed to the profession of teaching. Prior to entering higher education, Dr. Cornelius served as a special education teacher for 12 years in Virginia, Alaska, Maryland, and internationally in the county of Oman.

Dr. Cornelius is active in many national organizations and currently serves on the executive board of the Teacher Education Division (TED) of CEC. In addition, she is a co-editor of TEACHING Exception Children, the practitioner journal of CEC.


  • School of Special Education School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies
  • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
  • Teacher Education Division (TED) of CEC
  • Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD) of CEC
  • Division for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learning (DDEL) of CEC

Research Interests

Curriculum Development, Inclusive Education, Professional Development


  • Ed.D. – Johns Hopkins University, Special Education
  • M.S. – Old Dominion University, Special Education
  • B.S. – University of Maryland, Family and Community Development

Professional Appointments

  • Clinical Associate Professor of Special Education, University of Florida, School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies, 2023-Present
  • Associate Professor of Special Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2015-2023
  • Accreditation Coordinator, Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2019 – 2022

Activities and Honors

  • President-Elect, Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children
  • Co-Editor – TEACHING Exceptional Children, 2023 - Present
  • Award for Excellence in Teaching, Minnesota State College and Universities Board of Trustees - 2019-2020 MNSU, Mankato
  • National Board Certified Teacher, National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood Through Young Adulthood

Selected Publications

  • Cormier, C. J., Scott, L. A., Cornelius, K. E., & Rosenberg, M. S. (2023). Cooperative planning for a more diverse special education teacher workforce: Guiding questions for researchers and policymakers. Multicultural Teaching and Learning.
  • Cornelius, K. E., & Gustafson, J. A. (2021). Relationships with school administrators: Leveraging knowledge and data to self-advocate. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 53(3), 206-214.
  • Cornelius, K. E., & Murawski, W. W. (2021). Special educator self-advocacy: Support your students and yourself. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 53(3), 176-177.
  • Cornelius, K. E., Rosenberg, M. S., & Sandmel, K. N. (2020). Examining the impact of professional development and coaching on mentoring of novice special educators, Action in Teacher Education,
  • Owiny, R. L, & Cornelius, K. E. (2023). The Practical Guide to High-Leverage Practices in Special Education: The Purposeful "How" to Enhance Classroom Rigor. Thorofare, NJ: Slack Publishing.
Invited Book Chapters
  • Benedict, A. E., Cornelius, K. E., Acosta, K., & Ray, J. (2022). Using multiple sources of information to develop a comprehensive understanding of a student’s strengths and needs. In McLeskey, J., Maheady, L., Billingsley, B., Brownell, M. T., & Lewis, T. J. (Eds.). High Leverage Practices for Inclusive Classrooms 2nd Ed. New York, New York: Routledge.
  • Johnson K. M., & Cornelius, K. E. (2019). UDL and Implementation Fidelity: Providing consistency within Flexibility. In Murawski, W. W., & Scott, K. L. (Eds.). What Really Works with Universal Design for Learning. (pp 173-187). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin