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Amanda Zbacnik


Affiliate Faculty

Amanda Zbacnik

"You will leave this program feeling an enhanced sense of career purpose and be extremely employable."

Amanda Zbacnik

Degrees Held:

  • Doctorate in Educational Leadership
  • Master of Special Education
  • Bachelor of Music Education

Career Highlights:

  • Co-authored the book "Equity and Inclusion in Education" in 2020
  • Promoted to Associate Professor in 2020
  • Presented at the International Pacific Rim Conference on Disabilities in 2020
  • President of the WI-Council for Exceptional Children 2020-21
  • Presented at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education conference in 2019
  • President-elect of the WI-Council for Exceptional Children 2019-20
  • Presented at the Minnesota Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conference in 2019
  • Presented at the Wisconsin Inclusion Institute 2015-2019
  • Volunteered with Equine Assisted Activities

Why did you start teaching?

My journey in teaching started with wanting to share a passion of vocal music with others. When student teaching at the undergraduate level in middle school music, I was awestruck by the power that music had on some students with disabilities (music was the key to helping them learn academic knowledge) and I wanted to know more about how to reach ALL learners. I got a master's degree in special education and was employed while completing the program. I love learning, so I obtained my doctorate and continue to teach in this extremely impactful field.

What is the value of this degree?

Being able to gain the knowledge and possess the skills to work with K-12 students with disabilities is invaluable. You will leave this program feeling an enhanced sense of career purpose and be extremely employable.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Working in special education will be the toughest job that you will ever love.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

This is a tough question, as there are so many great books in the special education/disabilities field. One that I recently read is "If at Birth You Don't Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny" by Zach Anner.

What qualities make someone particularly successful in education?

I think that every individual can bring their own unique blend of characteristics to teaching. However, some important dispositions for special educators include: respect for diversity, high expectations, compassion, advocacy, curiosity, dedication, honesty, fairness, and professional conduct.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that teachers face today?

Teachers today are often asked to do more and more for the same amount of money and with the same amount of time.

In which online programs do you teach?

MSE - Special Education

Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students may not know.

During my undergraduate studies, I sang in two choirs and had the opportunity to go on a singing tour to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

What do you want students to learn in your classes? What is the take-away?

I want students to improve, through professional excellence and advocacy, the education and quality of life for individuals with exceptionalities from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic communities.

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