Dr. Joan Kester

Joan Kester

Dr. Joan Kester

Assistant Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies

School: Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Department: Special Education and Disability Studies


Office Phone: (202) 994-1534

Dr. Joan Kester oversees the online transition Master's program, the online transition certificate programs, and the collaborative vocational evaluation training program.

Previously, Dr. Kester was a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education, Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center, providing technical assistance and continuing education to vocational rehabilitation professionals and their partners across a six-state region.

Throughout her career in the field of vocational rehabilitation, Joan has advanced the civil rights of people with disabilities. Dr. Kester received national recognition for her work in the successful transition of youth with disabilities. She enhanced the accessibility of one-stop services to customers with disabilities through the development of extensive staff development strategies. In her prior work experience, her job development program received national awards.

Dr. Kester has her doctoral degree in human and organizational learning through the Executive Leadership Program at the George Washington University, with a research area of knowledge management, social theory of learning, communities of practice, secondary transition, and interagency collaboration.

Dr. Kester graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University, receiving her Master's of Art degree in rehabilitation counseling. She is a certified rehabilitation counselor. She is the Past President of the PA Rehabilitation Association and as volunteer adult ally with the PA Youth Leadership Network to advance youth leadership and youth development efforts at the state and national levels.

Her specialties include: communities of practice, learning communities, collaboration and teambuilding, youth development and youth leadership, disability rights, advancing employment of individuals with disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, interagency collaboration, systems change in government programs, job placement/supported employment, evidence based supported employment practices, social networking, leadership, assistive technology, business partnerships, and Workforce Investment Act System.

Ed.D., The George Washington University

  • Participatory Action Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Disability Studies
  • Youth Engagement
  • Communities of Practice
  • School Improvement Model of Change
  • Youth Voice
  • Systems Change

SEDS Faculty, Alumni and Students Present at Division on Career Development and Transition's 2023 International Conference

Special Education and Disability Studies community members presented their recent research at the DCDT 2023 International Conference.