Dr. Gwendolyn Cartledge: She Developed Social Skills Curriculum for Special Education Students

v32n20_cartledgeThe teaching profession is fortunate to boast a large number of educators who are expert at working with special education students. One such educator is Dr. Gwendolyn Cartledge, a former public school teacher who is now a professor in the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services at the Ohio State University.

Gwendolyn earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1965 and her master’s degree in special education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1973. She earned her doctorate in special education and curriculum and supervision from the Ohio State University in 1975.

After her college graduation, Gwendolyn accepted a position as a teacher in the West Mifflin School District in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. There she taught elementary students with learning and behavior disorders. While there, Gwendolyn encountered a parent who criticized the special education program, pointing out that the school had failed to teach her son critical social skills. Gwendolyn realized the parent was right. This experience challenged the educator to explore methods to fill this vital need.

After she earned her doctorate, Gwendolyn accepted a position as a faculty member at Cleveland State University where she was a facilitator for teacher inservices for educators who worked with students with mild disabilities. In addition, she consulted with various agencies on developing curriculum. Gwendolyn specializes in methods for teaching social skills to children, both those with and those without disabilities. These social skills include speaking assertively, accepting individual differences, giving and accepting criticism, respecting the property of others, helping others participate, and anger management.

At the Ohio State University, Gwendolyn’s primary responsibilities include teacher education for students with mild disabilities. In addition, this remarkable educator has produced research and writings that are recognized and cited nationally in teacher preparation programs. She has written several books and articles on these topics.

In recent years, Gwendolyn has shifted her focus to the development of social skills in children with learning and behavior disabilities to students enrolled in inner city schools. Her latest book focuses on classroom and behavior management strategies and successful interventions for culturally and racially diverse children with special educational needs.

For her innovative work, Gwendolyn was honored in 2006 with The Educator of the Year Award from the Ohio State Council for Exceptional Children.