"As schools become more diverse and standards become increasingly rigorous, school leaders must acquire the knowledge and skills needed to implement evidence-based inclusive practices designed to ensure all students are provided with the supports necessary to achieve."

"I learned about NUSELI and was accepted into the program while still an Assistant Principal. My experience as an Assistant Principal along with my participation in NUSELI as I sought my doctorate degree helped me greatly prepare for my first Principalship at Westridge Middle School. "

"NUSELI brings together leaders who have a desire to increase their knowledge and ability to have an impact on the lives of all students, especially students with disabilities. The scholars’ research, which spans for over a decade, continues to influence leaders, educators, and students."

About The Project

This federally funded project is a collaborative partnership including the University of Central Florida, two Florida urban school districts, and special education leaders from around the country affiliated with the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative.


This initiative is designed to address the gaps between the traditional preparation of urban special education mid-level administrators and the skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed for full implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004.


Special education must function as an integral and complementary component of best practices in education for all students. It is important to support the movement towards inclusive education for all students, including those with mild to severe disabilities, and determine the best instructional practices in general education classroom to support the growth and development of students with disabilities. Special educators play an important role in building a unified system of schooling that supports learning of all students. Leadership is needed to make these goals are reality. One important purpose of the program is to provide high-quality, collaborative opportunities for leadership development in special education.


This initiative is built on a collaborative partnership between the University of Central Florida, the largest urban school districts in Florida and the nation, and special education leaders from around the country.

The initiative will provide three major outcomes:

  1. Development of a model program for an Educational Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) with a specialization in Special Education Leadership for urban special education administrators;
  2. Creation of a cadre of experts and special education urban leadership to act as the National Faculty that will aid in instructing doctoral candidates and provide ongoing advice for the implementation and assessment of the initiative;
  3. Graduation of urban special education administration fellows with doctoral degrees to serve as leaders in their respective school systems and as new members of the National Faculty, which will form the core of the national network of urban special education leaders.

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National Urban Special Education Leadership Initiative | PO BOX 161250 | Orlando, FL 32816

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