Selma Powell

Selma Powell joined the UW College of Education in September as director of the Special Education Teacher Preparation Program. Powell previously served as project director for the Resident Teacher Professional Preparation Program at the University of Central Florida. She earned her PhD at UCF, writing her dissertation on developmentally appropriate use of mathematics applications for tablets in early childhood classrooms. 

Powell recently answered questions about what drew her to UW, her goals leading the Special Education Teacher Preparation Program and more.

Q: What drew you to education?
I became an education major my sophomore year of college. I changed majors from electrical engineering because I took “Introduction to Special Education” as an elective. When I went to the different schools for site visits, I decided I wanted to work in schools and help students with disabilities.

Q: Describe the work you'll be doing here in teacher preparation.
Ultimately, my goal is to build relationships. Within my department, I will collaborate with the coaches to develop a structured coaching model that meets the needs of our candidates. With the other teacher education programs, I plan on collaborating to create alignment and cohesion while maintaining the individual differences the special education teacher candidates require. Lastly, I will be maintaining and developing strong, mutually beneficial university-school-community-family-agency partnerships to provide learning experiences for pre-K12 teaching and learning.

Q: What attracted you to the UW College of Education?
One of the things that attracted me to UW is the special education program’s national reputation. Additionally, I was drawn to the Teacher Education Program leadership and department structure.

Q: What's something that students and colleagues should know about you?
I have been married for 15 years and am the mom of two amazing daughters — Kennedy, 9, and Olivia, 7 — who make life much more enjoyable.

Q: What's your favorite education-related book?
One of my all-time favorite books is The Color of Water by James McBride. This book is a great read about society and motherhood.

Q: Besides your work, what's something that you're passionate about?
I am very passionate about my family. I enjoy new experiences, travel and our time together.


Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications