M.S. in Special Education Success Stories

The value of a Fisher education is evident in personal stories of success told by students and alumni. Read what they have to say about the program and what they gained from their experience.

Kimberly Brown '16

ELA Teacher, Rochester City School District

Kimberly Brown

Kimberly Brown

Fisher's seamless application and smooth admissions process helped to convince Kimberly Brown to choose Fisher over other schools with similar programs. The convenient schedule and small class sizes helped with her decision as well.

Once in the program, she realized quickly that the faculty were "phenomenal" – and said they were knowledgeable, supportive, open-minded, dedicated, and most importantly, they worked hard to involve and evolve every single student.

"I loved each field placement and it was in these field experiences that I gathered many of the resources I use in my own classroom today."

Mark Denecke '09

5th Grade Teacher, East Rochester Elementary School

Mark Denecke

Mark Denecke

Mark Denecke says he was drawn to Fisher's graduate offerings in the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education in part because of the schedule and convenience, but even more so because of the values of School. He "believes strongly" in social justice, and he was pleased to see his impression of the program to become his reality as he saw right away that the program was focused on training teachers to provide opportunity to all students.

He said Fisher's faculty were supportive and inspiring, and that his 20-month journey alongside his supportive cohort was a vital piece of his experience. He also enjoyed the diverse student teacher placements he was able to experience.

"My Fisher experience was a whirlwind, exciting, frightening, inspiring, all undertaken while working and with young children. I wouldn't change one bit of the experience or where it has led me."

Cassandria Horvath '22

Special Education Teacher

Cassandria Horvath

Cassandria Horvath

Inspired by working and volunteering with children during college breaks, Cassandria Horvath went on to teach preschool after completing her undergraduate studies in art history. She thrived in the preschool setting because she worked hard to understand each child’s needs. Horvath enrolled in Fisher’s graduate program to pursue her developing interest in becoming a special education teacher.

Horvath now works as a 15:1 special education teacher for fourth and fifth graders in Rochester. She believes Fisher prepared her for this role by giving her the resources and knowledge to help further her practice as a teacher. “I learned how to help students of all backgrounds while providing culturally responsive instruction.”

The field experiences and placements through Fisher allowed Horvath to apply her educational knowledge and classroom strategies. During her student teaching placement, she was able to spearhead the Collaborative Education for Equity partnership with the Brighton Central School District. “My field experience placements were extremely beneficial.”

Now, Horvath encourages prospective students to consider Fisher’s inclusive childhood education and inclusive adolescence education programs. “The master’s programs in education are a great place for future educators to meet and become great resources.” She attributes some of her success to the faculty at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education. “I really enjoyed learning from the faculty who used resources from their own curriculums and experiences.”

Adam Tatar '09

Director of Instruction and Student Services at Kendall Central School District

Adam Tatar

Adam Tatar

When reflecting on his academic journey, Adam Tatar remembers struggling a lot as an elementary and secondary student. “I never really enjoyed school. I never felt incapable of doing the work, but I never felt like school fit me or addressed my needs as a learner.” Now, Tatar spends his days at school, promoting positive learning experiences for the students at Kendall Central Schools.

“A few years after high school, I began interacting with people with special needs and I saw that many people weren’t receiving a high quality and differentiated educational experience.” Tatar worked at Monroe One BOCES for 16 years, and he felt a growing desire to lead and influence change in educational settings.

He enrolled in Fisher’s graduate program which allowed him to pursue dual certification. “I appreciated that Fisher’s dual certification program opened up greater opportunities for me when I began looking for a job after school, and I was challenged through many of my classes to build a deeper understanding of education and how to activate learning in many different types of students,” explained Tatar.

The curriculum at Fisher exposes students to many leaders in the field of education. “Access to people actively involved in education allowed me to ask many questions and expand my application of the theory we were learning in the classroom.” For Tatar, this active learning made all the difference as a school administrator.