Beth Tuckwiller

Beth Tuckwiller
Assistant Professor, Special Education & Disability Studies
(202) 994-9860

Dr. Beth Tuckwiller is an Assistant Professor of Special Education and Disability Studies at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at The George Washington University. She earned her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Virginia, and holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.S. in Counseling Psychology. Dr. Tuckwiller was trained in the field of mental health counseling, and focused her clinical work on children and adolescents. She also taught high school students identified with emotional, behavioral and/or learning disabilities, and co-coordinated school-based social, emotional and behavioral programming to improve educational experiences and outcomes for students.

Dr. Tuckwiller's current research investigates the nonacademic variables associated with teaching and learning in special education and community programming. She investigates positive psychology constructs and skills including optimism, mindset, hope, mindfulness, strengths building, self-efficacy, and life satisfaction to better understand their roles in the holistic development and post-secondary transition experiences of students with disabilities. She also investigates the relationships of these variables to the professional preparation, experiences, and retention of special education teachers. Broadly, her work functions to promote increased knowledge of the malleable dispositions, personal constructs, psychological orientations, and skills associated with optimal functioning for children and adolescents identified with disabilities and the educational professionals who serve them. She is a faculty affiliate with the GW Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute and a Center Associate at GW's Center for Health and Health Care in Schools at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. She serves as an advisory board member for both the GW Center for Applied Developmental Science and Neuroeducation and GW's ISCOPES service learning initiative.

Episode 3: The Power and Potential of Positive Psychology for Students with Disabilities Is it possible to teach students to develop traits such as optimism, growth mindset, hope, perseverance, and resilience to help improve well-being and educational outcomes? Dr. Beth Tuckwiller and Dr. William Dardick talk about their joint research into the field of positive psychology--its potential for changing students' experiences in the classroom and the challenges of measuring its subjective factors.
Ph.D., University of Virginia
M.S., Radford University
B.S., Virginia Tech


Kutscher, E. L., Tuckwiller, E. D. (in press). Persistence in higher education for students with disabilities: A mixed systematic review. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.

Tuckwiller, E. D. & Dardick, W. R. (2018). Mindset, grit, optimism, pessimism, and life satisfaction in university students with and without anxiety and/or depression. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 6(2), 32-48.

Tuckwiller, E. D., Dardick, W. R., & Kutscher, E. L. (in press). A mixed methods investigation of mindset, grit, optimism, and self-determination in adolescents with learning disabilities and differences. Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal.

Tuckwiller, E. D., Dardick, W. R., & Kutscher, E. L. (2017). Profiles of and correlations among mindset, grit and optimism in adolescents with learning disabilities: A pilot study. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 6(1), 44-63.

Tuckwiller, E. D., & Dardick, W. R. (2015). Positive psychology and secondary transition for children with disabilities: A new theoretical framework. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 4(1), 3-20.

Tuckwiller, E. D. (2015). Positive transition special education: A call to examine approaches and outcomes from an interdisciplinary and positive lens. 2015 HEATH NYTC Spring Newsletter.

Pullen, P. C., Tuckwiller, E. D., Ashworth, K., Lovelace, S. P., & Cash, D. B. (2011). Implementing intensive vocabulary instruction for students at risk for reading disability. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 26, 145-157.

Azano, A., & Tuckwiller, E. D. (2011). GPS for the English classroom: Understanding executive dysfunction in secondary students with autism. Teaching Exceptional Children, 43(6), 38-43.

Tuckwiller, E. D., Pullen, P. C., & Coyne, M. (2010). An investigation of at-risk kindergarten students' response to a two-tiered vocabulary intervention: A regression discontinuity design. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 25, 137-150.

Pullen, P. C., Tuckwiller, E. D., Maynard, K. M., Konold, T. R., & Coyne, M. (2010). A response to intervention model for vocabulary instruction: The effects of tiered instruction for students at-risk for reading disability. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 25, 110-123.

Lindstrom, J. H., & Tuckwiller, E. D. (2009). Extended test time, read aloud and student characteristics: A summary of empirical findings. Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 15, 93-104.

Lindstrom, J. H., Tuckwiller, E. D., & Hallahan, D. P. (2008). Assessment and eligibility of students with disabilities. In Grigorenko, E. (Ed.) Educating individuals with disabilities: IDEIA 2004 and beyond. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

In the News

Dr. Beth Tuckwiller and Dr. Lisa Rice presented their study "Special Education Teachers' Stress, Well-being, and Intent to Stay in the Field: A Mixed Methods Exploration" at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Indianapolis, IN on January 31, 2019. Dr. Tuckwiller also participated in a national panel on special education teacher stress, burnout, well-being and retention.

GSEHD doctoral candidate Elisabeth Kutscher (Special Education and Disability Studies) was awarded the Patricia L. Sitlington Emerging Researcher Award for her poster, "A Mixed Methods Exploration of Persistence in Postsecondary Education Among Young Adults with Disabilities or Learning Differences" at the Division on Career Development and Transition annual conference. This award recognizes a graduate student who, through research completed during their doctoral program, shows significant promise for contributing to positive outcomes for transition-aged youth and to the field of transition through transition research. Dr. Beth Tuckwiller is her dissertation chair.

GSEHD doctoral student Harriet Fox (Ph.D., Education Inequality, Access and Identity CRT) participated in the 6th Annual D.C. Public Health Case Challenge at the National Academy of Sciences. Along with three other GW students representing the Milken Institute School of Public Health and the School of Medicine, the GW team was awarded the Practicality Prize. The GW team’s Project ART PAC (Adolescents Resisting Tobacco and Partnering Alongside Communities) proposed a multifaceted intervention that would provide a continuum of support for young people from middle school through young adulthood, using arts education and integration with the existing D.C. Youth Prevention Leadership Corps. Dr. Beth Tuckwiller was the GW Team Faculty Co-Advisor.

Dr. Beth Tuckwiller, Dr. Olga Price (Associate Professor in Prevention and Community Health in the Milken Institute School of Public Health; Director, Center for Health and Health Care in Schools), and Dr. Jennifer Clayton are recipients of the Cross Disciplinary Research Fund (CDRF) award to support their research project: "A Mixed Methods Exploration of School-Based Wellbeing in the U.S."

GSEHD doctoral student Elisabeth Kutscher (Special Education and Disability Studies) and Dr. Beth Tuckwiller had their manuscript "Persistence in Higher Education for Students with Disabilities: A Mixed Systematic Review" accepted in the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.