Q & A with Dr. Kristen Lech
Program Director Dr. Kristen Lech, EdD, brings to her alma mater extensive college-level teaching experience informed by 12 years as an elementary and middle school special education teacher and administrator, as well as 16 years as the parent of a daughter with learning challenges. Dr. Lech has published several books examining best practices in special education. Her most recent, Embracing and Educating the Autistic Child: Valuing Those Who Color Outside the Lines (2018), offers educators and families insight into creating the best learning environments for autistic students. Outside Bay Path, she enjoys spending time with her family, running half marathons, and reading.
What do you love about Special Education?
I went into the field of special education for my daughter Emma, who has some exceptionalities. I have seen first-hand her struggles, as well as her determination and accomplishments. I experienced this every day with my students in the elementary and middle school classroom, too. It brought such satisfaction and happiness to my life. There really is no other feeling in the world.
I love to learn new things so am constantly reading new research on best practices in special education. I always make sure to keep my students informed of the most current research!
What’s the value of a degree in Special Education?
- Career satisfaction: Nothing beats the feeling of seeing a student with a disability succeed. Their face lights up, and the sense of accomplishment and pride they display will melt your heart and keep you hooked for life!
- Job opportunity: With the increase in the number of students eligible for special education services and the focus on inclusive practices, transition services, and early intervention, special education teacher shortages are found nationwide.
Why choose Bay Path for graduate work in Special Education?
- For our network of professionals and friends that is like no other. I graduated years ago from Bay Path and still have consistent contact with individuals in my program.
- For our professors. They are extremely knowledgeable in the field of special education and the content they teach but also beyond caring and supportive of our students. They are always there for the students whenever and as often as needed.
- For our unique practicum experience. We require a year-long practicum, not just 16 weeks, which allows teacher candidates to set the classroom tone, really get to know their students, and see progress throughout the year. The extra time, along with Bay Path’s abundant support, also means teacher candidates do not feel rushed or stressed and are able to dive deep into perfecting their craft.