Educational Psychology

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Research lab: Amanda Sullivan


  • Education and health disparities affecting students with special needs
  • Special education policy and services
  • Psychoeducational services for diverse learners


Special Needs and Early Intervention Receipt among Young Children of Immigrants

This project examines prevalence of special needs among children from immigrant families, as well as participation in early intervention and special education, using large-scale, nationally-representative datasets.

Patterns and Determinants of Disparities in Autism Treatment among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children

In this project, large-scale, nationally-representative datasets are used to examine sociodemographic differences in autism identification and treatment.

When the Shield Becomes a Sword: Racial Bias in Special Education Identification

This project applies experimental methods to ascertain whether racial bias affects referral and eligibility decisions for special education, and the relations of those decisions to clinician characteristics.

Can ECSE Make a Difference for Children with Developmental Delays and Disabilities?

This project seeks to identify the specific elements of ECSE settings and services that promote positive kindergarten outcomes among young children with special needs

"We use national datasets and other methods to understand disparities in the treatment and outcomes of culturally and linguistically diverse students with and at-risk for disabilities and to identify malleable related factors in order to inform policy and practice to better support students’ educational needs. My students are involved in all aspects of the research and dissemination processes."

Amanda Sullivan headshot

Amanda Sullivan

  • Lab director
  • Program coordinator, school psychology
  • Associate professor, school psychology program, Department of Educational Psychology

Research group

Tara Kulkarni headshot

Tara KulkarniPhD graduate student, school psychology

Tara has graduate degrees in clinical and counseling psychology, but finally found her calling in school psychology. Her educational background, as well as her work as a school counselor in her hometown of Mumbai, India, has shaped her research and professional interests. Her work focuses on improving the outcomes of historically underserved children in school, including children with disabilities. Her research interests focus not only on academic achievement and behavior but also identifying the systems level factors that impact a child's outcomes in school, including access to resources and disproportionality. In her free time, Tara likes to binge watch Star Trek TOS (again) and write fiction. She is also known to go for a swim sometimes, even in frigid weather.

Thuy Nguyen headshot

Thuy NguyenPhD graduate student, school psychology

Thuy received her BA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. Her research focuses on the school-to-prison pipeline, disparities and disproportionality in education, and cultural contexts in education. Outside of school, Thuy likes to paint, watch TV and movies, and read.

Mollie Weeks headshot

Mollie WeeksPhD graduate student, school psychology

Mollie received her BA in Psychology from St. Olaf College and worked for a few years in higher education before returning to pursue a graduate degree. Her research focuses on evidence-based practices that improve the climate of equity in schools by identifying and correcting educational disparities/disproportionality. She also has an interest in advocating for educational policy and legislative changes to support all children in schools. In her spare time, Mollie enjoys knitting, cycling, weight lifting, eating donuts, and relaxing with her husband and cat.

Stacey Brandjord headshot

Stacey BrandjordPhD graduate student, school psychology

Stacey previously worked as a school speech-language pathologist before returning to school. Since entering the School Psychology PhD program, she has worked in Dr. Robin Codding’s lab on the GopherMath project focusing on implementation and progress monitoring. She has also worked on the AMPPS project, in which she helped implement the intervention to 2nd and 3rd grade students. Her research interests focus on the intersection of language and behavior disorders as well as school-based academic interventions.

Jiwon Kim headshot

Jiwon KimPhD graduate student, school psychology

Jiwon received her BA in Psychology and MA in Cognitive Psychology from Sogang University in Seoul, Korea. In the past she has worked with children in diverse settings, including at a center for children with autism spectrum disorders, an NPO that designs and implements accessible educational programs, and the Seoul Family Court Supervised Visitation Center. Her research interests include disproportionality in education, intersections between disability, race, culture and language, and educational policy. She is also an avid reader, LEGO enthusiast, and ukulele player.

Elizabeth Shaver headshot

Elizabeth ShaverPhD graduate student, school psychology

Elizabeth received her BS in Developmental Psychology from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Her research interests include the intersections between education, students with or at-risk for disabilities, and the justice system. Further, she is also interested in systems-level work surrounding equitable educational policies and practices. During her downtime, Elizabeth likes to stay active, try new recipes with her air fryer, and read.

Koryn St. Clair headshot

Koryn St. ClairPhD graduate student, school psychology

Koryn received her BS in Educational Studies and Psychology from Marquette University. Her research interests include disparities and disproportionality in education, school based mental health, and the school to prison pipeline. In her free time, Koryn enjoys arts and crafts, watching movies, and trying new restaurants.

Shayna Williams headshot

Shayna WilliamsPhD graduate student, school psychology

Shay recieved her BS in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, and MA in Child, Family, and School Psychology from the University of Denver. Through her experiences working with students and children in a variety of educational settings, she has developed a passion for research aimed at advancing the science of school psychology, and taking an intersectional approach to research which addresses inequitable services and outcomes. In her free time, you can find Shay drawing, climbing, and spending as much time in nature as possible.

Recent publications

*Kulkarni, T., Sullivan, A. L., *Kim, J. (2020). Externalizing Behavior Problems and Low Academic Achievement: Does a Causal Relation Exist?. Educational Psychology Review.

*Weeks, M., & Sullivan, A. L. (in press). Discrimination matters: Relations of perceived discrimination to student mental health. School Mental Health.

Sullivan, A. L., & *Osher, D. (2019). IDEA’s double bind: A synthesis of disproportionality policy interpretations. Exceptional Children.

*Kincaid, A. & Sullivan, A. L. (2019). Double jeopardy?: Disproportionality in first juvenile court involvement by disability status. Exceptional Children. doi:

Kohli, N., & Sullivan, A. L. (2019). Linear-linear piecewise growth mixture models with unknown random knots: A primer for school psychology. Journal of School Psychology.

*Kulkarni, T., & Sullivan, A. L. (2019). The relationship between behavior at school entry and services received in third grade. Psychology in the Schools, 56, 809-823.

Sullivan, A. L., *Thayer, A. J., *Farnsworth, E. M., & Susman-Stillman, A. (2019). Effects of child care subsidy on school readiness of young children with or at-risk for special needs. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 47, 496-506.

Sullivan, A. L., *Thayer, A. J., & *Sadeh, S. (2018). Multisector involvement among adolescents with disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 39, 353-364.

Sullivan, A. L., *Farnsworth, E. M., & Susman-Stillman, A. (2018). Patterns and predictors of childcare subsidies for children with and without special needs. Children and Youth Services Review, 88, 218-228.

Sullivan, A. L., *Farnsworth, E. M., & Susman-Stillman, A. (2018). Childcare type and quality among subsidy recipients with and without special needs. Infants & Young Children, 31, 109-127.

Maki, K., Burns, M. K., & Sullivan, A. L. (2018). School psychologists’ confidence in learning disability identification decisions. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 41, 243-256.

Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Wading through quicksand: Making sense of minority disproportionality in identification of emotional disturbance. Behavior Disorders, 43, 244-252.

*Sadeh, S., & Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Ethical and legal landmines: Causal inference in special education decisions. Psychology in the Schools, 54, 1134-1147.

Sullivan, A. L., Kohli, N., *Farnsworth, E. M., *Jones, L., & *Sadeh, S. (2017). Longitudinal models of reading achievement of students with LD and without disabilities. School Psychology Quarterly, 32, 336-349.

Harris, B., & Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Framework for bilingual school consultation to facilitate MTSS for English language learners. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 27, 367-392.

*Kincaid, A., & Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Parsing the relations of race and socioeconomic status in special education disproportionality. Remedial and Special Education, 38, 145-158.

*Maki, K., Burns, M. K., & Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Learning disability identification consistency: The impact of methodology and student evaluation data. School Psychology Quarterly, 32, 254-267.

Harris, B., Ravert, R. D., & Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Adolescent racial identity: Self- identification of multiple and “other” race/ethnicities. Urban Education, 52, 775-794.

*Arora, P. G., Brown, J., Harris, B., & Sullivan. A. L. (2017). Professional development needs and training interests: A survey of early career school psychologists. Contemporary School Psychology, 21(1), 49-57.

Sullivan, A. L., Kohli, N., & *Farnsworth, E. M.,* Jones, L., & *Sadeh, S. (in press). Longitudinal models of reading achievement of students with LD and without disabilities. School Psychology Quarterly.

Sullivan, A. L., *Houri, A., & *Sadeh, S. (2016). Demography and early academic skills of students from immigrant families: The kindergarten class of 2011. School Psychology Quarterly, 31, 149-62.

Sullivan, A. L. & *Sadeh, S. S. (2015). Psychopharmacological treatment among adolescents with disabilities: Prevalence and predictors in a nationally representative sample. School Psychology Quarterly, 30, 443-455.

Sullivan, A. L. (2013). School-based autism identification: Prevalence, racial disparities, and systemic correlates. School Psychology Review, 42, 298-316.

Sullivan, A. L., & Field, S. (2013). Do preschool special education services make a difference in kindergarten reading and mathematics skills?: A propensity score weighting analysis. Journal of School Psychology, 51, 243-260.

Sullivan, A. L. & *Sadeh, S. S. (2014). Differentiating social maladjustment from emotional disturbance: An analysis of case law. School Psychology Review, 43, 250-271.

Sullivan, A. L., *Van Norman, E., & *Klingbeil, D. (2014). Exclusionary discipline of students with disabilities: Student and school characteristics predicting suspension. Remedial and Special Education, 35, 199-210.

*student author