Katie Krammer, Ph.D.

Katie Krammer, Special Education

Though she always knew she wanted to be a teacher, Katie Krammer didn't realize her passion for special education until she entered high school. It was there that she became classmates with a boy who was deaf, who many of her other classmates bullied. Rather than standing by, Katie chose to befriend the boy and began taking classes at the local community college to learn sign language, ultimately becoming not just the boy's friend but his tutor as well.

This experience led Katie to her original career as an interpreter, which later evolved into a career teaching the deaf and hard of hearing. Originally from Pratt, Kan., Katie attended the University of Kansas where she earned her A.A. in education sign language interpreting, B.S. in elementary education, M.S. in special education and Ph.D. in special education.

While Katie was working as a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing in Kansas City, she met her husband who was stationed at the city’s Air Force base. By the time the couple married in 2006, her husband had completed his six years of enlistment and wanted to move back to his hometown of Kirtland, Ohio, where he owned a house in the neighboring city of Painesville.

Katie’s move to Ohio prompted her career shift from teaching the deaf and hard of hearing to teaching those who would become special education teachers themselves. “In my work, I had discovered that most of my students had additional disabilities apart from hearing impairment, and I became focused on strategies for learning and less focused on specific disabilities,” she said. “This new focus led me to become a teacher educator with the goal of preparing the best future special education teachers I possibly can.”

Katie worked as an assistant professor at Ursuline College from 2007-2009 before the opportunity arose to start a special education program at LEC. “I was very excited to get to do what I love within miles from my house,” she said.

At LEC, Katie teaches EDC 330: Introduction to Exceptionalities, which all education majors take, as well as all of the special education courses and several courses in the Master of Education program. “My classes prepare future special education teachers to identify if children have disabilities, assess their needs, design and implement interventions, and monitor their progress toward reaching their educational goals,” she said.

Unlike other positions she’s held, one of Katie’s favorite things about working at LEC is that she can focus on teaching and devote the majority of her time to ensuring she is doing the best job she possibly can of preparing future teachers. “I also love having small classes,” she said, “which lets me devote the attention needed to each student and really get to know them.

Katie’s motivation for training special education teachers grew even stronger when her own son was diagnosed with autism in 2013. “My passion has gone to a whole new level,” she said. “It has become even more critical to me to prepare quality special education teachers, because they could one day be teaching my son.”

Regardless of the class she’s teaching, Katie most cherishes her time spent with students, particularly when her students keep in touch after they have gotten jobs to let her know that what she taught them is paying off. Happily, all of her graduates at this time are employed in the field of education. “I feel good about the fact that we are putting out great teachers who are making a difference in children’s lives,” she said. “That is the best reward!”