Suzanne O'Keeffe

Associate Professor and Educational Specialist Intern Coordinator

Suzanne O'Keeffe
Suzanne O'Keeffe




Stevenson 2012
Available By Appointment Only

Dr. Suzanne O’Keeffe is an Associate Professor at Sonoma State University in the field of special education with a focus on culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional (CLDE) student populations. While she has worked in many different capacities within the field of special education over the last 20+ years, her interest in working with CLDE populations stemmed from her experience as a special educator working in a special day class program supporting emergent bilinguals with varying exceptionalities. Whether she is teaching children or adults, Dr. O’Keeffe strives to create a learning community that promotes collaborative inquiry, cultural responsiveness, academic rigor, critical thinking, and self-reflection.

  • Ed.D, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education for Exceptional (CLDE) Populations, Northern Arizona University, 2012
  • MA, General Education Curriculum and Instruction, K-12, Plymouth State University, 2008
  • PBACC, Special and Elementary Education Teaching Certifications, Rio Salado College, 2007
  • BA, Integrative Studies with a Competence in Human Development, Prescott College, 2004

Certificates and Endorsements

  • Cross Categorical Special Education Teaching Certificate, K-12
  • Elementary Education Teaching Certificate, K-8
  • Structured English Immersion Endorsement, K-12
Academic Interests
  • Best practice for instructing and assessing CLDE learners in inclusive settings
  • Best practice for instructing and assessing CLDE learners in English-Only contexts
  • Educational policy reform for CLDE populations
  • Implementation of culturally responsive curriculum in teacher preparation programs
  • School-wide cultural responsiveness training and implementation
  • Universal Design for Learning and Accessibility in higher education

Courses Taught: 
EDSP 430: Introduction to Special Education; 
EDSP 480/481: Intern Seminar; 
EDSP 421A: Effective Practices that Support Students with Diverse Learning; 
EDSP 421D: Healthy Learners & School Environments; 
EDSP 590: Critical Issues in Special Education; 
EDSP 422A: Case Management and Transition Planning in Special Education 
EDSP 502: Advanced Pedagogy in Special Education


  • Assistant Professor of Special Education, Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education, Sonoma State University, 2017-present
  • Associate Clinical Professor, College of Education, Northern Arizona University, 2011-2017
  • Special Education Teacher, Papago Elementary School & C.O. Greenfield Elementary School, Phoenix, AZ, 2005-2011
  • Special Education Day Program Coordinator, Creative Networks, Prescott AZ, 2004-2005
  • Developmental Disabilities Residential Counselor, Occupations Inc., Middletown, NY, 1999-2001
  • Special Day Class Paraprofessional (Extensive Support Needs), BOCES Occupational School, Goshen, NY, 1997-1999
Selected Publications & Presentations

O’Keeffe, S. B. (2019). How Exemplary Educators Use their Instructional Expertise to Support CLDE Achievement in English-Only Inclusive Classrooms. TESOL J. 2019;00:e471.

O’Keeffe, S. B. & Mahdavi, J. N. (2019). Practical Strategies for Creating an Inclusive and Universally Designed Course for Preservice Educators. Paper presented at the Teacher Education Division of the Council of Exceptional Children, New Orleans, LA.

O’Keeffe, S. B. (2019). A Targeted Teacher Observation Tool to Improve Culturally Responsive and Inclusive Teaching Practices. Paper presented at the Council of Exceptional Children, Indianapolis, IN.

O’Keeffe, S. B. (2018). High Engagement Strategies for Culturally Diverse Adolescents with Disabilities in Inclusive Settings. Paper accepted for presentation the Annual Conference for Middle Level Education, Orlando, FL.

O’Keeffe, S. B. (2018). Superheroes Among Us: How Exemplary Inclusive Educators Use their Instructional Strengths to Support Achievement in Diverse Learners with Disabilities in the Context of English-Only Instructional Laws. Paper presented at the meeting of the Council of Exceptional Children, Tampa, FL.