Thomas Simmons

Thomas Simmons
Assistant Professor
Department of Special Education
Room 267 - College of Education and Human Development
tsimmons @

Dr. Simmons' curriculum vitae [PDF]

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. Kent State University
  • Ed.S., Kent State University
  • M.Ed., Kent State University
  • B.A., Indiana University

Research Interests

  • Transition planning for secondary students with disabilities
  • Web-based instruction
  • Systems change in special education
  • Assistive technology
  • Universal design for learning
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Autism
  • Learning strategies


My involvement in the fields of SPED and REHAB extends back to the early 1970's. While an undergraduate student, I was employed as a drug rehabilitation and crisis intervention counselor and I volunteered as a cub-scout master for a troop that integrated youth with disabilities into the general troop. My work while achieving my M.Ed. and Ed.S., involved the development and delivery of habilitation and educational services to persons with developmental disabilities. During that period, I was a teacher, a director of a community educational program, and performed research and demonstration activities at Kent State University.

While in Kentucky, I worked towards developing integrated, “state of the art” educational, and rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities. Further, I spent two years attempting to assist persons with disabilities accessing appropriate employment outcomes.

Upon returning to Ohio, I worked with adults that had a college education, to access meaningful and appropriate employment. In my role as Associate Director and Assistant Professor, my efforts focused on systematically addressing education, employment, and transitional issues for persons with the full range of disabilities.

With my return to Kentucky as an Associate Professor of Special Education, my focus has continued to be on transition and employment issues for youth and adults with disabilities. I have participated in a wide range of transition programs that include consulting on two educational systems change grants (Kentucky’s Transition Systems Change Project and Kentucky’s Severe Systems Change Project). I have also directed numerous state and federally funded demonstration and research grants in transition and employment. I consult with the Kentucky Board of Education and the Kentucky Association of School Boards on a variety of education issues. Until the summer of 2002, I was coordinator of Kentucky’s State Improvement Grant in Special Education (a federal grant designed to improve special education services throughout the state). Since then, I have directed the college's special education distance education programs, overseen numerous grants and projects, and taught coursework in special education including Autism, severe disabilities, LD, learning and behavior disabilities and research.