Special Education Clinical Assistant Professor Katie Tackett Wins Massey Award

Katie Tackett, clinical assistant professor and an undergraduate advisor at the College of Education at The University of Texas has received this year’s Elizabeth Shatto Massey Award for Excellence in Teacher Education. The Massey Award recognizes a “teacher of teachers,” who inspires and prepares future elementary and secondary teachers. The award also includes a cash prize.

Tackett teaches undergraduates at the College of Education early in their academic careers at UT, and her class is often the first time students consider disability as a facet of diversity.

One of her highest goals is to help pre-service teachers keep disabilities top of mind when they consider their classrooms and students, and to develop an awareness that no matter who is in their classroom, someone with a disability is likely to be present. Tackett’s philosophy is important because it fosters in pre-service teachers the mindset to create classrooms and spaces that are accessible to all students from the outset, which engenders better learning environments for all.

Tackett teaches School Organization and Classroom Management, Field Experiences in Special Education, Individual Differences, Teaching Individuals with Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Reading Assessment and Development, and Intercultural Communication and Collaboration.

In addition to teaching, Tackett serves as cohort coordinator for two special education cohorts, in which she gets to know students over five semesters, and witnesses and helps shape their development over time. In this way, Tackett develops deep relationships with a large number of pre-service teachers, and as an advisor, she is able to note when they may be struggling and how to intervene.

Her various roles in undergraduate education at the college include serving on the undergraduate curriculum committee.

Tackett’s dedication to increased access to excellent education for students of all abilities has benefited the educational careers of our pre-service teachers and those of countless K-12 students who have been and will be taught by them. Says dean of the College of Education Manuel Justiz, “Dr. Tackett’s commitment to undergraduate teaching and development of curricula for pre-service teachers has had a tremendous positive impact on our students and graduates. Her peers, students, and alumni continuously remark on her exceptional teaching and scholarship.”

Last year, Texas Exes chose Tackett as one of the Texas 10 Professors. The award is given to 10 of the year’s most beloved and inspiring professors, and is voted on by alumni. Tackett was recognized in the latest issue of The Alcalde for winning the Massey award.

Listen to Tackett describe how applying universal design principles benefits all students in the College of Education’s Discovery Minute series.

The Massey Award

Named for Elizabeth “Libba” Shatto Massey, the Massey award was created in 2003 by UT alumnus John H. Massey to honor his wife’s lifelong dedication to public education. She received her degree from the College of Education and pursued a career in teaching. She remains committed to education and connected to UT through her service on the College of Education Advisory Council and on the Executive Committee of the Chancellor’s Council for The University of Texas System.