Theresa Garfield

Theresa Garfield

Professor of Special Education and Interim Director of Graduate Studies
College Of Education And Human Development
Department of Educator and Leadership Preparation
Main Campus-MPB Room 242

210-784-2552   |

View Curriculum Vitae


Upon earning her Bachelor’s degree from Our Lady of the Lake University, Theresa Garfield (Dr. G) began her 29-year career as an elementary school teacher in an urban setting, where she taught multiple grade levels and special education. After earning her Master’s degree and working on her doctorate, she transitioned into higher education and served as department chair and program director at Palo Alto College. In 2009, she moved to Texas A&M University-San Antonio, where she currently serves as a Professor of Special Education. Dr. G is the Chair of the Professional Standards and Practices Committee for the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and serves multiple roles in other national and local organizations. Dr. G has won teaching and service awards at the local, state, and national levels and maintains an active research agenda in advocacy, accessibility, equity, and efficacy. She is a mentor and an advocate for students, faculty members, and staff, and her passion is eliminating barriers. Dr. G is a proud first-gen faculty member!


2022 COEHD Outstanding Faculty Award: Service
2018 COEHD Outstanding Faculty Award: Service
2017 Chancellor’s Academy of Teacher Excellence Award
2016 TAMU-SA Distinguished Faculty Award: Service
2016 Jaguar Excellence Award
2016 Excellence in Teaching Award-NSLS
2015 Texas Teacher Educator Award-TCEC
2015 Susan Phillips Gorin National Award-CEC
2012 Excellence in Teaching Award
2011 | 2010 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
2009 Doctoral Achievement Award-Westside Chamber of Commerce
2007 NISOD Teaching Excellence Award
2002 HEB Texas Teacher of the Year Finalist-
2000 AERA Women in Education Activist Award
1999 |1998 Newsletter of the Year Award-ATPE

Teaching Summary

2022-Present Professor of Special Education TAMU-SA
2017-Present Associate Professor of Special Education TAMU-SA
2011-2017 Assistant Professor of Special Education TAMU-SA
2009-2011 Lecturer-Special Education TAMU-SA
2006-2011 Associate Professor-Teacher Education Palo Alto College
2003-2006 Assistant Professor-Teacher Education Palo Alto College
1994-2002 Teacher- Special Education and General Education San Antonio ISD


Garfield, T. A. & Peterson-Ahmad, M. (2022). Get to know the Professional Standards and Practices Committee. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 55(1), 76-77.

Watts, G. W., Garfield, T. A., & Davis, M. T. (2022). Perceptions and experiences of first-generation college students. College Teaching. DOI: 10.1080/87567555.2022.2050669

Davis, M., & Garfield, T. (2021). Transition to adulthood: Have we done enough for students with learning disabilities? Kappa Delta Pi Record, 57(2), 64-69.

Garfield, T., & Davis, M. T. (2020). Overcoming online obstacles to teach exceptional young learners. Early Years, 41(2), 24-26.

Pittman, R. T., Garfield, T., & Piper, R. E. (2020). Increasing the literacy knowledge of teacher candidates: Why service-learning matters.   Collaborations: A Journal of Community-Based Research and Practice, 3(1): 7, 1–11.

Kearney, W.S. & Garfield, T. (2019). Student readiness to learn and teacher effectiveness: Two key factors in middle grades mathematics achievement. Research in Middle-Level Education Online, 42(5), 1-12.

Pittman, R., Piper, R., & Garfield, T. (2017). Providing teacher candidates opportunities to excel while engaging elementary students in literacy: A partnership that works. Journal of Effective Schools Project, 24, 51-55.

Garfield, T. & Pittman, R. (2017). The impact of experiential learning in literacy preparation and teacher efficacy: A study of SA Reads. TALE Yearbook, 4, 72-81.

Garfield, T. & Gerzel-Short, L. (2017). Uncrossing the wires of technology for students with SLD: Parent, student, and teacher perspectives. Special Education Research, Policy, and Practice, 1(1), 146-153.

Del Toro, J*., Rabinovich, E.*, Kearney, W.S., & Dorel, T. (2016). Teaching reading to students with special needs: A case study of one high performing high poverty urban elementary school.  Journal of the Effective Schools Project, 23, 19-23.

Garfield-Dorel, T. & Gerzel-Short, L. (2016) e-Supervision: Point/counterpoint. LD Forum, April 2016, 2-5. (Co-lead authors).

Combes, B. H., Peak, P.W., Barrio, B.L, Lindo, E., Hovey, K.*, Lim, O., Peterson, M., Dorel, T.G., & Goran, L. (2016). Updating and disseminating the Council for Learning Disabilities’ principles of ethical practice: Employing a case-base framework. Intervention in School and Clinic 52(2). 1-10.

Dorel, T., Kearney, W.S., & Garza, E. (2016). Preparing teachers to be ready from day one: The impact of university program design on teacher efficacy. Critical Questions and Issues in Education 7(1), 38-52.

Dorel, T. & McDonald, D. (2015). Promoting inclusion through play.  The Early Years 36(2), p 13-16.

Dorel, T. & McDonald, D. (2015). Promover la inclusión a través del juego.  The Early Years 36(2), p 17-20. [NOTE: Translated into Spanish by Journal]

Dorel, T. & Peterson, M. (2015). Five ways to prepare pre-service special education teachers to teach students with learning disabilities. LD Forum, February 2015, 2-6.

Garza, E. & Dorel, T. (2015). Two paths to field residency: A study of self-efficacy. Southwest Teaching and Learning Journal, 4(1), 24-36.

Pittman, R. & Dorel, T. (2014). Experiential learning and literacy: Preservice teachers’ perspectives. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 10(2), 88-98.

Dorel, T. (2014). Impacting the way we teach: Exploring subjectivities among pre-service teachers. The National Forum of Teacher Education Journal, 24(1&2), 29-36.

Edited Book Chapters

Garfield, T.A., & Kearney, W.S. (2022). Middle-level mathematics achievement from teacher and student perspectives: Reflections and new directions in middle-level mathematics research. In D. Virtue (Ed.) Dialogues in Middle-Level Education Research Volume 1 (Ch 2). Oxfordshire: Routledge.  ISBN 9781032127118

Kearney, W.S. & Garfield, T. (2022). Student readiness to learn and teacher effectiveness: Two key factors in middle grades mathematics achievement. In D. Virtue (Ed.) Dialogues in Middle-Level Education Research Volume 1 (Ch 3). Oxfordshire: Routledge.  ISBN 9781032127118 [reprinted from Research in Middle-Level Education Online, 42(5), 1-12].

 Garfield, T. A. & Hogan, A. (2022). Legislation, litigation, and advocacy: Key issues for teachers. Peterson-Ahmad, M. and Luther, V.  (Eds.)  Collaborative Approaches to Recruiting, Preparing, and Retaining Teachers for the Field. IGI Publication, 204-217.

Dorel, T. & Tejeda, A. (2015). Affect and resilience in urban females: An emerging paradigm. In Inclusive Practices for Special Populations in Urban Settings: The Need for Social Justice Leadership, Esposito, and Normore, Eds., p 103-121.

Edited Non-Refereed Creative Works

Garfield, T. (2018).  “First Breath, Last Breath.”  The Story Mandala: Finding Wholeness in a Divided World.  Prose Press:  Pawleys Island, SC, 128-129.

Courses Teaching

Subject Number Section Description Term Syllabus
EDSE 5306 600 Thesis Spring 2023 Syllabi