College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

Research lab: Amanda L. Sullivan


  • Advancing anti-racism and social justice in education, particularly in school psychology and special education 
  • Education and health disparities affecting young children and school-age youth
  • Characteristics, experiences, and outcomes of children and adolescents with disabilities
  • Intersections of ethics, policy, and scholarship in treatment of individuals with disabilities
  • School psychology and special education practices for multiply minoritized learners


Special Needs and Early Intervention Receipt among Young Children of Immigrants

This project examines prevalence of special needs among children from immigrant families, as well as participation in early intervention and special education, using large-scale, nationally-representative datasets.

Patterns and Determinants of Disparities in Autism Treatment among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children

In this project, large-scale, nationally-representative datasets are used to examine sociodemographic differences in autism identification and treatment.

When the Shield Becomes a Sword: Racial Bias in Special Education Identification

This project applies experimental methods to ascertain whether racial bias affects referral and eligibility decisions for special education, and the relations of those decisions to clinician characteristics.

Can ECSE Make a Difference for Children with Developmental Delays and Disabilities?

This project seeks to identify the specific elements of ECSE settings and services that promote positive kindergarten outcomes among young children with special needs

Quote from Amanda Sullivan

Amanda Sullivan

We use national datasets and other methods to understand disparities in the treatment and outcomes of culturally and linguistically diverse students with and at-risk for disabilities and to identify malleable related factors in order to inform policy and practice to better support students’ educational needs. My students are involved in all aspects of the research and dissemination processes.

Current students

Thuy Nguyen headshot

Thuy Nguyen

PhD graduate student, school psychology

Thuy received her BA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. Her research focuses on the school-to-prison pipeline, disparities and disproportionality in education, and cultural contexts in education. Outside of school, Thuy likes to paint, watch TV and movies, and read.

Jiwon Kim headshot

Jiwon Kim

PhD graduate student, school psychology

Jiwon received her BA in Psychology and MA in Cognitive Psychology from Sogang University in Seoul, Korea. In the past she has worked with children in diverse settings, including at a center for children with autism spectrum disorders, an NPO that designs and implements accessible educational programs, and the Seoul Family Court Supervised Visitation Center. Her research interests include disproportionality in education, intersections between disability, race, culture and language, and educational policy. She is also an avid reader, LEGO enthusiast, and ukulele player.

Elizabeth Shaver headshot

Elizabeth Shaver

PhD graduate student, school psychology


Elizabeth received her BS in Developmental Psychology from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Past experiences have shaped Elizabeth’s passion for systems-level work focused on the implementation and sustainability of equitable educational policies and practices within schools. Specifically, Elizabeth is interested in school psychologists’ understanding of and response to broader systems-level factors that shape student outcomes, including the incarceration of a loved one and housing insecurity. During her downtime, Elizabeth likes to enjoy all that Minnesota has to offer, including good food, good scenery, and (sometimes not so) good weather.

Koryn St. Clair headshot

Koryn St. Clair

PhD graduate student, school psychology

Koryn received her BS in Educational Studies and Psychology from Marquette University. Her research interests include disparities and disproportionality in education, school based mental health, and the school to prison pipeline. In her free time, Koryn enjoys arts and crafts, watching movies, and trying new restaurants.

Shayna Williams headshot

Shayna Williams

PhD graduate student, school psychology

Shay received her BS in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, and MA in Child, Family, and School Psychology from the University of Denver. Through her experiences working with students and children in a variety of educational settings, she has developed a passion for research aimed at advancing the science of school psychology, and taking an intersectional approach to research which addresses inequitable services and outcomes. In her free time, you can find Shay drawing, climbing, and spending as much time in nature as possible.

Meg Olson headshot

Meg Olson

PhD graduate student, school psychology

Meg graduated from Carroll University with her B.S. She received her M.A. and Education Specialist certificate in School Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2018. After practicing as a school psychologist for several years, she returned to the U of M to complete her doctorate. Her time working in schools helped shape her interests in student access to mental health supports, equity-focused MTSS, and the development of anti-racist school psychologist practitioners. In her spare time, Meg enjoys cooking, trying new restaurants, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Anne Floyd headshot

Anne Floyd

PhD graduate student, school psychology

Anne double majored in Psychology and English at St. Catherine University and received an MA in English Literature from the University of Minnesota. She became interested in the K-12 educational system after working as an AVID tutor at a high school and a data technician in a federal setting IV school. Anne's research interests involve disproportionality in special education placement and using quantitative critical methods to deconstruct predictors of placement. She is also interested in the intersection of racism and sexism in regard to special education identification and placement. During her free time, Anne enjoys reading, kickboxing, and playing The Sims.

Nariah-Belle Sims headshot

Nariah-Belle Sims

PhD graduate student, school psychology

Nariah received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Educational Studies from Carleton College in 2021. Her research interests focus mainly on BIPOC students in areas such as teacher-student relationships, school belongingness, school climate, and culturally sustaining pedagogy. In her free time, Nariah competes with her Ultimate Frisbee teams, enjoys binge-watching bad reality TV shows, and spends time with her Guinea Pigs.

Recent publications

*student author

Harris, B., *Kulkarni, T., & Sullivan, A. L. (in press). Review of state policies and guidance on the identification of culturally and linguistically minoritized students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Harris, B., Sullivan, A. L., Embleton, P., *Shaver, E., *Nguyen, T., *Kim, J., St. Clair, & *Williams, S. (2022). Exploratory investigation of gender differences in school psychology publishing before and during the initial phase of COVID-19. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 37(2), 204-211.

Sullivan, A. L., Harris, B., Miller, F. G., Fallon, L. M., *Weeks, M. R., Malone, C. M., *Kulkarni, T., Proctor, S. L., Johnson, A. H., Rossen, E., *Nguyen, T., & *Shaver, E. (2021). A call to action for school psychology to address COVID-19 health disparities and advance social justice. School Psychology, 36(5), 410-421.

Sullivan, A. L., *Kulkarni, T., & Chhuon, V. (2020). Making visible the invisible: Multi-study investigation of disproportionate special education identification of U.S. Asian American and Pacific Islander students. Exceptional Children, 86(4), 449-467.

*Kincaid, A. & Sullivan, A. L. (2020). Parity or disparity? Outcomes of court-involved youth with and without disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 41(6), 368-377.

*Kulkarni, T., Sullivan, A. L., *Kim, J. (2020). Externalizing Behavior Problems and Low Academic Achievement: Does a Causal Relation Exist?. Educational Psychology Review.

*Weeks, M., & Sullivan, A. L. (in press). Discrimination matters: Relations of perceived discrimination to student mental health. School Mental Health.

Sullivan, A. L., *Sadeh, S., & *Houri, A. (2019). Are school psychologists’ decisions reliable and unbiased? A multi-study experimental investigation. Journal of School Psychology, 77, 90-109.

Sullivan, A. L., & *Osher, D. (2019). IDEA’s double bind: A synthesis of disproportionality policy interpretations. Exceptional Children.

*Kincaid, A. & Sullivan, A. L. (2019). Double jeopardy?: Disproportionality in first juvenile court involvement by disability status. Exceptional Children. doi:

Kohli, N., & Sullivan, A. L. (2019). Linear-linear piecewise growth mixture models with unknown random knots: A primer for school psychology. Journal of School Psychology.

*Kulkarni, T., & Sullivan, A. L. (2019). The relationship between behavior at school entry and services received in third grade. Psychology in the Schools, 56, 809-823.

Sullivan, A. L., *Thayer, A. J., *Farnsworth, E. M., & Susman-Stillman, A. (2019). Effects of child care subsidy on school readiness of young children with or at-risk for special needs. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 47, 496-506.

Sullivan, A. L., *Thayer, A. J., & *Sadeh, S. (2018). Multisector involvement among adolescents with disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 39, 353-364.

Sullivan, A. L., *Farnsworth, E. M., & Susman-Stillman, A. (2018). Patterns and predictors of childcare subsidies for children with and without special needs. Children and Youth Services Review, 88, 218-228.

Sullivan, A. L., *Farnsworth, E. M., & Susman-Stillman, A. (2018). Childcare type and quality among subsidy recipients with and without special needs. Infants & Young Children, 31, 109-127.

Maki, K., Burns, M. K., & Sullivan, A. L. (2018). School psychologists’ confidence in learning disability identification decisions. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 41, 243-256.

Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Wading through quicksand: Making sense of minority disproportionality in identification of emotional disturbance. Behavior Disorders, 43, 244-252.

*Sadeh, S., & Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Ethical and legal landmines: Causal inference in special education decisions. Psychology in the Schools, 54, 1134-1147.

Sullivan, A. L., Kohli, N., *Farnsworth, E. M., *Jones, L., & *Sadeh, S. (2017). Longitudinal models of reading achievement of students with LD and without disabilities. School Psychology Quarterly, 32, 336-349.

Harris, B., & Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Framework for bilingual school consultation to facilitate MTSS for English language learners. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 27, 367-392.

*Kincaid, A., & Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Parsing the relations of race and socioeconomic status in special education disproportionality. Remedial and Special Education, 38, 145-158.

*Maki, K., Burns, M. K., & Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Learning disability identification consistency: The impact of methodology and student evaluation data. School Psychology Quarterly, 32, 254-267.

Harris, B., Ravert, R. D., & Sullivan, A. L. (2017). Adolescent racial identity: Self- identification of multiple and “other” race/ethnicities. Urban Education, 52, 775-794.

*Arora, P. G., Brown, J., Harris, B., & Sullivan. A. L. (2017). Professional development needs and training interests: A survey of early career school psychologists. Contemporary School Psychology, 21(1), 49-57.

Sullivan, A. L., Kohli, N., & *Farnsworth, E. M.,* Jones, L., & *Sadeh, S. (in press). Longitudinal models of reading achievement of students with LD and without disabilities. School Psychology Quarterly.

Sullivan, A. L., *Houri, A., & *Sadeh, S. (2016). Demography and early academic skills of students from immigrant families: The kindergarten class of 2011. School Psychology Quarterly, 31, 149-62.

Sullivan, A. L. & *Sadeh, S. S. (2015). Psychopharmacological treatment among adolescents with disabilities: Prevalence and predictors in a nationally representative sample. School Psychology Quarterly, 30, 443-455.

Sullivan, A. L. (2013). School-based autism identification: Prevalence, racial disparities, and systemic correlates. School Psychology Review, 42, 298-316.

Sullivan, A. L., & Field, S. (2013). Do preschool special education services make a difference in kindergarten reading and mathematics skills?: A propensity score weighting analysis. Journal of School Psychology, 51, 243-260.

Sullivan, A. L. & *Sadeh, S. S. (2014). Differentiating social maladjustment from emotional disturbance: An analysis of case law. School Psychology Review, 43, 250-271.

Sullivan, A. L., *Van Norman, E., & *Klingbeil, D. (2014). Exclusionary discipline of students with disabilities: Student and school characteristics predicting suspension. Remedial and Special Education, 35, 199-210.

*student author