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Christina Rusk

Program Lead Special Education & Assistant Professor


Phone: 209.946.2306


Ed.D. Curriculum & Instruction, Special Education, University of the Pacific, 2016

M.S. Adaptive Special Education, Fort Hays State University, 2010

B.Ed. Early Childhood Special Education, St. Ambrose University, 2000

B.A. Psychology, St. Ambrose University, 2000

California Teaching Credentials: Education Specialists, mild/moderate disabilities, Multiple Subject

"Every child deserves a champion-an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be." -Rita Pierson

I had the enjoyment of working for over a decade in California's central valley. I worked with a variety of students with exceptional needs including those with Emotional Disturbances, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Intellectual delays, Specific Learning Disabilities and Orthopedic Challenges. I enjoyed assisting and enriching student's lives through various academic, behavioral, and social supports. The passion to move to higher education came from the desire to give all students with exceptional needs a rigorous education, whether it be in a mainstream classroom or specialized programs. I want to provide new teacher candidates, pursuing their Education Specialists credentials, the tools to educate students with a variety of exceptional needs in meaningful ways. I also want to provide new teacher candidates the necessary skills and resources to work collaboratively with parents and community members to better enrich and enhance student's lives. It is also important for me to support new teacher candidates in navigating the challenges, as well as the many rewards, to being a highly qualified Special Education teacher.

My most recent research has been in the area of implementation of Positive Behavioral Supports and Interventions (PBIS). More specifically, looking at how proactive measures such as PBIS can assist urban school districts, particularly students with exceptional needs and at-risk populations.


SPED 125/225X: Exceptional Learner
SPED 166: Building Professional-Family Partnerships
SPED 195/295E: Positive Behavior Supports
SPED 131:231: Evidenced Based Practices of Autism Spectrum Disorders
SPED 132/232: Juvenile Bipolar Disorder
SPED 123: The Exceptional Child
SPED 142 M: Curriculum and Instruction for Special Education, Mild/Moderate
SPED 142 S: Curriculum and Instruction for Special Education, Moderate/Severe
SPED 295A: Crucial Issues in Special Education
SPED 298: Directed Teaching in Special Education



  • Draheim, M., Githens, R., Potter, G., & Rusk, C. (2016).  2+2 Planning Grant, California Department of Education (awarded $223,071)
  • McCoy, B., Jacobs, J., & Rusk, C. (2018).  Teacher Residency Capacity Grant, Stockton Unified School District, Commission on Teacher Credentialing (awarded $50,000)
  • Clark, S., Russek, A., & Rusk, C. (2018).  Teacher Residency Capacity Grant, Elk Grove Unified School District, Commission on Teacher Credentialing (awarded $50,000)


  •  Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year, Pacific Latino/Latina Outreach, 2017


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