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Instructional Specialists

What is an Instructional Specialist and what do they do?

Instructional Specialists are members of the school district’s special education team located at the district office.  Instructional Specialists are Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs), supporting schools and teams throughout the district. 

  • Train, coach, and consult with grade-leveled staff to recommend and support appropriate classroom curricula and instruction for student learning and the implementation of best practices for students with disabilities from PreK through the ACT program.
  • Mentor and assist classroom teachers in providing quality learning experiences for students served in special education, including development of skills in differentiation of instruction, inclusive practices, and supporting students with cultural and linguistic differences.
  • Work collaboratively with specialist(s) (e.g. OT, PT, SLP, Behavior Specialists) to develop programmatic interventions appropriate to the students’ physical and communication skills, including environmental needs of the students in the classroom and other school settings.
  • Responsible for organizing, planning and leading professional development for peers. 
  • Lead curriculum reviews.
  • Monitor IEP compliance and training 

What training does an Instructional Specialist Receive?

Instructional Specialists are Certificated Teachers with Masters level education and 5 years of successful experience. In addition, TOSAs have shown effective work in public schools working with special education students at various learning levels.  They have demonstrated skill as a teacher leader and have experience coaching and training adult learners.


Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction's (OSPI) website for Special Education

Contact Information

Karla Shannon-Garvey 
LRC II Instructional Specialist

Nicole Brookens 
Special Education Specialist/Compliance

Tami Mills 
Secondary Instructional Specialist

Paige Brown
Secondary Instructional Specialist