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


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.

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.

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.

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

Drs. Beth Tuckwiller and William Dardick and GSEHD doctoral student Elisabeth Kutscher (Special Education and Disability Studies), had their article "A Mixed Methods Investigation of Mindset, Grit, Optimism, and Self-Determination in Adolescents with Learning Disabilities and Differences" accepted in Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal.

GSEHD doctoral students Lauren Hunter and Heather Walter (Special Education and Disability Studies) had their poster presentation, "Using Mixed Methods Research to Examine Special Education Student and Teacher Wellbeing Through the Dual Factor Model of Mental Health" accepted to the Berkeley Annual Education Research Day. The poster is a joint presentation highlighting major features of each student's dissertation work. Both students are chaired by Dr. Beth Tuckwiller.

Heather Walter and Lauren Naples, GSEHD doctoral students in special education and disability studies, participated in the 5th Annual D.C. Public Health Case Challenge at the National Academy of Sciences. Along with four other GW students representing the Milken Institute School of Public Health and the School of Medicine, the GW team was awarded the Best Interprofessional Solution prize for their solution to this year's case challenge topic: Lead and Adverse Childhood Experiences: Neurological and Behavioral Consequences for Youth in the District of Columbia. This prize reflects the innovative, translational lens and cross-disciplinarity the team brought to the case solution. The team was co-advised by Dr. Beth Tuckwiller and GW ISCOPES director (and GSEHD alumna) Dr. Angela Hinzey (Ed.D., human and organizational learning). Congratulations!

Dr. Beth Tuckwiller delivered two roundtable presentations at the Fifth World Congress on Positive Psychology in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The presentations were entitled "The Relationships among Positive Psychology Constructs (Mindset, Grit, Optimism) and Academic and Transition Outcomes for Adolescents with Learning Disabilities" and "Positive Educator Preparation for Special Education Teachers (PEP-SET) Model: Infusing Positive Psychology into Special Education Teacher Preparation."

Dr. Beth Tuckwiller was the featured speaker at the 2017 Spring Conference for Children Together, a non-profit organization committed to increasing inclusion of children with disabilities and their families into quality early childhood programs. Her talk, titled Neurodevelopmental Science and Social-Emotional Development: Building Relationships at Home and in the Classroom, translated findings from the neurodevelopmental sciences into actionable strategies for parents and educators to develop, implement, and sustain positive relationship-building approaches to optimize social-emotional development for children ages birth to 5 years.