It is with a profound sense of loss that I share that our esteemed and loved colleague, Professor Janette Klingner, died on March 20th, 2014 after valiantly fighting an aggressive brain tumor. Her illness and passing have intensified that which we all knew: she was not only a cherished colleague and friend, but also a deeply loved professor, advisor, and mentor to countless students. More importantly, she was a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, and cousin in a close-knit family that was at the center of her life.
Before she became a famous researcher, Janette was a teacher. Her self-told biographies always acknowledge the significance in her career of the 10 years she spent as a bilingual special education teacher in California and Florida. Her dissertation research at the University of Miami began her groundbreaking work that has come to be known as Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR), which has been fully adopted by Denver Public Schools in partnership with Padres & Jóvenes Unidos. In Janette’s words, “CSR is really about helping students develop their critical thinking skills. It’s also about helping them be more active learners. The whole premise of strategy instruction is to make visible–to make explicit–for struggling readers the comprehension strategies good readers already use.” Janette also recently was leading RTI Effectiveness Models for English-learners (REME), a large project designed to bring culturally responsive instruction to predominant Response to Intervention (RTI) models for students with special needs. Her research has been funded extensively by the U.S. Department of Education and many private organizations.
In April 2014, the American Educational Research Association’s Special Education Research SIG awarded Professor Klingner their Distinguished Researcher Award in recognition of her lifetime contributions to special education research, especially for her work focused on culturally and linguistically diverse students. Janette’s many publications, which included 15 books and over 115 articles and book chapters, reflected her tireless efforts to address the inequities found so prevalently in education. In addition to her well-known reading strategies research and studies of disproportionate representation of students of color in special education, Janette made impressive contributions to the research literatures on teacher learning, teacher collaboration, and the sustainability and scale up of effective interventions. Her work is deeply informed by practice and undertaken in the context of real classrooms, schools, and school districts, thus epitomizing what is sometimes called “use-inspired” research. She was also an active proponent of mixed methods and used both quantitative and qualitative methods adeptly in her extensive, field-based research studies.
Janette was a remarkable citizen and leader in her professional communities. She was past president of CEC’s Division for Learning Disabilities and had served as vice president of the International Academy for Research on Learning Disabilities, of which she was a named fellow. Most recently she was President Elect of the Council for Exceptional Children. Janette also was serving as associate editor for the Journal of Learning Disabilities, on the editorial boards of 10 other journals, and was a past co-editor of the Review of Educational Research.
It is impossible to overstate Janette’s impact on her field, her colleagues and friends, and her family, and likewise, the loss felt by our community. Please feel free to email me with your memories of Janette.
With kind regards,
Dean Emerita Lorrie Shepard