Mara Sapon-Shevin is Professor of Inclusive Education in the Teaching and Leadership Department of the School of Education at Syracuse University. She teaches in the University’s Inclusive Elementary and Special Education Teacher Education Program that prepares teachers for inclusive, heterogeneous classrooms. She frequently consults with districts that are attempting to more towards more inclusive schools, providing workshops and support for teachers and administrators. She has also served as an expert witness in due process hearings related to students with disabilities.
Mara presents frequently on inclusive education, anti-bullying strategies, cooperative learning, social justice education, differentiated instruction, friendship, community building, school reform and teaching for diversity.
Mara also works with faculty in higher education on positive responses to classroom diversity, dealing with microaggressions and creating university classrooms that are truly inclusive.
The author of over 200 books, book chapters and articles, Mara writes extensively about the fields of full inclusion, cooperative learning, social justice education and teaching for diversity. Mara’s book Widening the Circle: The Power of Inclusive Classrooms was published by Beacon Press. The second edition of Mara’s book Because We Can Change the World: A Practical Guide for Building Cooperative, Inclusive Classroom Communities (Corwin Press, 2010) explores ways in which teachers can use cooperative games, children’s literature, music and curriculum to build classroom communities which model inclusion and acceptance and which help students learn to become active participants in working for social justice within and beyond their schools. Mara’s most recent books include Educational Courage: Resisting the Ambush of Public Education (with Nancy Schniedewind) and Condition Critical: Key Principles for Equitable and Inclusive Education (with Diana Lawrence-Brown) which deals with teacher/parent/student resistance to high-stakes testing and other forms of corporate control of education.
Mara oversees the Dignity for All Students (DASA) training for pre-professionals at Syracuse University, and has directed a project “Creating Safe and Peaceful Schools” working with ten school districts on anti-bullying efforts that have students at the center.
Mara is now the Founding Senior Fellow on Diverity and Inclusion at Syracuse University where she develops and implements workshops and trainings for faculty on challenging oppression in the university classroom, creating truly inclusive higher education classrooms and responding to faculty and student microaggressions.
Mara sings with the Syracuse Community Choir and is active in the People’s Music Network for Songs of Freedom and Struggle and the Children’s Music Network. As a certified Let Your Yoga Dance teacher, Mara explores ways of using music, movement and theater to explore issues of social justice with children and adults.
The mother of two adult daughters, Mara loves to quilt, sing, dance, scuba dive and eat chocolate, some of which she tries to do at the same time.