Professor Tiina Itkonen received her Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in educational leadership and organizations, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2004. She completed her interdisciplinary studies and dissertation in the education and political science departments. She holds an M.S. in special education and rehabilitation (1989) and a B.Ed. (1987) from the University of Oregon.
Dr. Itkonen has over fifteen years of experience in public schools as a special education teacher and a district specialist. She has worked with a variety of student populations, and trained their teachers both in K-12 schools as well as in court and community school settings. She holds two teaching credentials, a behavior intervention case manager certificate, a mental health rehabilitation specialist certificate, and has served on local and state-level task forces on a variety of reform initiatives. She is experienced in positive behavioral supports, inclusive education, collaboration, teacher education, and systemic change.
Dr. Itkonen studies interest group behavior in special education as well as education policy and politics. She has published in American Journal of Education, Education Policy, and International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, among others. In Fall 2009 she published her book with Cambria Press, titled “The Role of Special Education Interest Groups in National Policy.” She received the 2004-2006 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Politics of Education Association of the American Educational Research Association, and was an American Educational Research Association - Spencer Doctoral Fellow during her studies. She frequently presents at the National Special Education Research Conference in her native Finland.