Get to Know Our Faculty
Following are the bios of our full-time and part-time Master of Education in Special Education faculty members, whose primary commitment is teaching, but who also lead and participate in activities such as:
- Mentoring and advising students and help them build their professional networks
- Leading grant-funded programs, research and teaching initiatives
- Serving in leadership positions in their fields of expertise
- Authoring books, book chapters, and journal articles related to their academic and professional fields
- Presenting scholarly work and research at local, regional, national and international conferences
- Providing faculty service to support the functioning of the School of Education and the University
Kathleen Cook, Ph.D.
Madsen Center #212
Ph.D. (Special Education), University of Georgia
M.A. (Audiology), Louisiana State University
Dr. Kathleen Cook is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Augustana University. She received her doctoral degree in special education with an emphasis in autism spectrum disorders and applied behavior analysis from the University of Georgia. She holds Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctorate (BCBA-D) certification and serves on the editorial board of TEACHING Exceptional Children. Prior to her doctoral studies, Kathleen taught students with disabilities in Georgia public schools for 10 years. Her research interests include self-management and applied behavior analysis with teens and young adults with autism and developmental disabilities.
Laurie Daily, Ed.D.
Associate Professor and Department Chair
Madsen Center #208
Ed.D. (Education Leadership), Argosy University
M.S. (Special Education), University of North Carolina
Dr. Laurie Daily is an Associate Professor, Education Department Chair and Director of the Master of Education Program at Augustana. She received her doctoral degree in educational leadership at Argosy University and earned a master’s degree in special education at the University of North Carolina. Coming to Augustana in the fall of 2015, Laurie Daily had been the education chairperson at Northwestern College (Orange City, Iowa), where she was chair for seven years and also taught for twelve years. Before that, she directed a field-based special education teacher training program in New Hampshire, coordinated the special education program at Plymouth State College, and taught children with special needs in North Carolina.
Michelle Powers, Ed.D.
Madsen Center #218
Ed.D. (Educational Leadership), University of South Dakota
Ed.S. (Educational Administration, PK-12 Principal), University of South Dakota
M.A. (Special Education), University of South Dakota
Dr. Michelle Powers joined the Education Department in August of 2017 as an Assistant Professor. She received her master’s degree in special education and her educational specialist degree in Educational Administration from the University of South Dakota. She recently completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of South Dakota. Prior to joining the faculty at Augustana, Michelle served as the director of special education for the Brookings School District for twelve years. Before that experience, she was the state director of special education for the state of South Dakota and worked for the department for thirteen years. She has also taught in public schools in the area of special education in South Dakota and Nebraska.
Brad Uhing, Ph.D.
Madsen Center #213
Ph.D. (Mental Health: Psychological Studies), University of Nebraska-Lincoln
M.Ed. (Mental Health: Emotion/Behavioral Disorders), University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dr. Brad Uhing joined the faculty in the Education Department at Augustana in August 2018 and since August 2015 has taught in the Master of Education Program. Dr. Uhing received his doctoral degree in Emotional and Behavioral Disorders from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
M.A. (Elementary Education), Augustana University
M.Ed. (Special Education), College of Charleston
Kaay Bowman joined the faculty in the School of Education at Augustana University in February 2021 as a part-time faculty member in the Master of Education in Special Education Program. She received her M.Ed. from the College of Charleston in Special Education with an emphasis on working with students with severe and profound cognitive and physical disabilities. She received her M.A. from Augustana University with an emphasis on educational technology in early childhood. Kaay is currently on staff PRN as a Family Life Specialist with Sanford Health. Prior to joining Augustana, Kaay developed and was the program director for the Early Childhood Specialist Program at Southeast Technical College. In her years working in public school systems, she established new special education programs for children and youth, taught young children with special needs, and served as both the Disabilities Coordinator and the Education Services Coordinator in a Head Start program. She has held state and local positions in early childhood and special education professional organizations. Kaay enjoys and has extensive experience teaching and mentoring educators in a variety of settings.
Reference Librarian/Instruction Coordinator Librarian
M.S. (Library Science), Emporia State University
Lisa Brunick joined the Education Department in June 2017 as a part-time faculty member in the Master of Education Program. Lisa is a reference librarian and the instruction coordinator at Mikkelsen Library. She provides classroom instruction on information literacy skills and is a member of the Masters of Arts in Education committee. In 1999, Lisa received her Masters in Library Science from Emporia State University. She has participated in the Association of College & Research Libraries’ Immersion programs including the Teaching with Technology Track. Lisa received her Instructional Design certificate from the Online Learning Consortium in June 2017.
Ph.D. (Educational Psychology), University of South Dakota
Dr. Daniela Syed received a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Research Methodology and Statistics from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D. and a B.A. from Hunter College in New York, NY. Dr. Syed joined the faculty in the Education Departments at Augustana in May 2016 as a part-time faculty member in the Master of Education Program. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in education, psychology, statistics, and research for over a decade. Previously, she served as an Assistant Professor of Psychology for Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.
Ed.D. (Curriculum & Instruction/SPED) University of South Dakota
M.A. (Special Education), University of South Dakota
Dr. Kristi Oskar-Groen joined the faculty in the Education Department at Augustana in May 2016 as a part-time faculty member in the Master of Education Program. Prior to joining Augustana, Dr. Oskar-Groen is currently teaching at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Ed.D. (Curriculum & Instruction) University of South Dakota
M.A. (Reading), University of Sioux Falls
Dr. Lila Sybesma joined the faculty in the School of Education at Augustana University in October 2021 as a part-time faculty member in the Master of Arts in Education Program.
Dr. Symesma is an Associate Professor, specializing in reading and early childhood. She received her doctoral degree in C&I at the University of SD and earned a master's degree in reading at USF.
Dr. Sybesma began her career serving as an elementary education teacher. Presently, she teaches at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. During her career, Lila designed numerous online classes, led many workshops, and taught both bachelor's and master's level courses.
A former president of the Northwest Iowa Reading Council, and an active leader in early childhood education, Lila has a heart for children and a passion for teacher training.
Ed.D. (Special Education Administration) University of South Dakota
Ed.S. (School Psychology) University of South Dakota
Dr. Mahmood Syed joined the faculty in the School of Education at Augustana University in August 2020 as a part-time faculty member in the Master of Education in Special Education Program. He also serves as a School Psychologist for the Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS).
Dr. Syed received his specialist degree in School Psychology and his doctoral degree in Special Education Administration. Before moving to Baltimore, he worked as a School Psychologist for the Northwest AEA in Sioux City, IA. He has lead presentations on diversity for the Sioux Falls schools and the Iowa Culture and Language Conference. As a School Psychologist, Dr. Syed is currently lead of the counseling team and has led trauma treatment groups with incarcerated youth for BCPS. As a current practitioner and college instructor, he brings extensive knowledge of assessments pertaining to special education.