Program Coordinator and Clinical Instructor, Early Childhood and Elementary Education - Special Education, Towson University in Northeastern Maryland (TUNE)
Toni Guidi says there is a critical need for special education teachers in Maryland. Towson University has now expanded special education and other teacher preparation programs beyond its main campus to serve students at convenient locations throughout the state.
Guidi directs special education programs and teaches at Towson University in Northeastern Maryland, or TUNE . Located on the campus of Harford County Community College, TUNE offers students in northeastern Maryland a convenient way to continue their education after community college, close to home.
But no matter which location Towson’s special education majors choose, they’ll be part of a program that’s above the curve, Guidi says.
“All of our students graduate with the skills and field experiences they need to create a level playing field in their classrooms,” Guidi explains. “They know they are highly prepared to be effective and qualified educators due to their immersion into and deep understanding of the diverse educational abilities/disabilities they’ll encounter as a teacher.”
Guidi says her own desire to study special education came during an experience she had as a junior at Binghamton University. She began working with an elementary school student who was at-risk for poor school performance, and immediately felt a connection. As a result, she developed a passion for working with students who faced great difficulties.
“This student needed someone to support her needs, both academically and socially/emotionally,” Guidi says. “Much was missing in her home life. Her school life was the most positive aspect of her life. I knew she needed individualized attention. I realized there were many children with similar stories and from there on, decided to pursue a degree in special education.
“I know that students with exceptionalities need excellent teachers in order to meet their diverse and sometimes complicated needs. I know that the special education programs cultivate dedicated, well-prepared and knowledgeable teachers.
It gives me great pleasure knowing that these future educators will be out in the public school system providing the strategies and interventions that our special education population needs, not only to access their general education curriculum but also to become independent and successful individuals.”