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Alexandra Da Fonte

Associate Professor of the Practice, Director of Professional Studies, Department of Special Education

M. Alexandra Da Fonte, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department Special Education, Director of Professional Studies for the Department of Special Education, and a Member of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. Dr. Da Fonte has worked in various settings throughout her career. She has over 20 years of experience working with students with intellectual and multiple disabilities as well as with students with complex communication needs (CCN). During her teaching career, she worked in elementary and middle school settings with students with significant needs. Additionally, Dr. Da Fonte worked as an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) consultant privately, in home-settings, and in urban and suburban schools. In this role, she worked directly with special education and general education teachers as well as families in programming special education and related services for students with special needs. These experiences allow Dr. Da Fonte to apply this knowledge to her classes and trainings (pre- and in-service). She was recently the recipient of the 2015 Tennessee Council for Exceptional Children Faculty of the Year Award. 

In her role, Dr. Da Fonte teaches and serves as an advisor to undergraduate and graduate students in the Severe Disabilities Program. She is also the Field-based Coordinator for the Severe Disabilities Program in the Department of Special Education. Dr. Da Fonte’s primary research interests are in the areas of teacher training, bridging research-to-practice, AAC use on the classroom setting for students with CCN, instruction for students with students with significant needs, and collaborating with paraeducators. Currently she works closely with graduate students across a series of research projects that focus on bridging research-to-practice and using AAC in the classroom setting with students with CCN.