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Our Fellows

Amanda Hughes, M.ED.

Special Education Fellow, 2016-2017

Amanda HughesAmanda has been a secondary language arts and reading teacher in Baltimore County for the last seven years and a department chair for the last three years.  During that time, she primarily taught inclusion and reading intervention classes. She has worked with students with a wide range of disabilities, including learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, emotional disabilities, and other health impairments.  Amanda also worked extensively in curriculum development in the county and has spent several years learning about Universal Design for Learning (UDL). She helped teachers throughout the county incorporate the principles of UDL into their teaching.

Amanda earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Loyola University Maryland, with minors in secondary education and Spanish. A few years later, she returned to Loyola to earn her Master of Education degree in educational leadership. She also holds an Administrator I certificate. 

As a general educator, Amanda is interested in helping teachers create inclusive classrooms which allow all students to be successful. She is particularly interested in studying how living in poverty affects the development of students and how school systems can support student needs.  In the future, Amanda hopes to use the knowledge she gains from the fellowship to design flexible curriculum that all students can access.

Erin Richmond, M.ED.

Special Education Fellow, 2016-2017

Erin RichmondErin graduated from Towson University in 2009, magna cum laude, with a degree in infant/primary special education and began her teaching career as a special educator with Baltimore County Public Schools. In 2014, she graduated from Towson University with a master’s degree in Teacher as Leader in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Erin has 7 years of experience teaching students with autism spectrum disorder, developmental delay, learning disabilities, hearing impairments, other health impairments (ADHD, seizure disorders), and behavioral disorders within the self-contained and inclusive settings. She has also mentored undergraduate students from Towson University. In addition to teaching, Erin is passionate about disability awareness and providing opportunities for students with disabilities. She facilitated an Integrated Play Group that was designed to provide mutually engaging experiences in natural settings in order to promote socialization, communication, and play for children with ASD and their typically developing peers. Erin began the first Sign Language Troupe, as an after school program for first, third and fourth graders, in order to educate the community about hearing loss, sign language, and disabilities.

Erin strongly believes that her interests and views stem from her personal experiences as a student in the special education and general education classrooms. She was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a rare genetic syndrome. At four months of age Erin suffered a full cardiac and respiratory arrest and since that time, has undergone more than 50 surgical procedures. Erin has strived to grow and become an example of how someone can excel despite what would appear to be overwhelming odds and made a conscious decision to turn her disability into a teaching tool. Most recently, she spoke to numerous fourth grade classes in Baltimore County about the book Wonder which is part of the curriculum. She brought the book to life for the students using her personal experiences while reiterating the message to be kind and discourage bullying.

As a future leader in special education, Erin has a strong desire to provide training and professional development for teachers, incorporating neuroscience, best practices, data driven instruction, and co-teaching in order to optimize learning for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Erin also has an interest in special education law understanding first-hand the obstacles teachers and families face. She would like to provide assistance to schools in their ongoing implementation of the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In addition, she would like to develop advocacy programs focused on creating a sense of connectedness, expectations for the future, development of action plans, and celebration of the progress of students with disabilities. Her ultimate goal is to ensure that the knowledge acquired through the Fellowship is put into practice in the very community that supported her through her own journey as a special education student.


Kelly Rietschel, M.ED.

Special Education Fellow, 2016-2017

Kelly RietschelKelly has been in the field of education for seventeen years and has served in various capacities. Throughout the last eight years she has been an assistant principal, with her last two years in Harford County and the previous six in Baltimore City. During that time, she worked closely with teachers, students and the community to build relationships and create educational environments where students could strive for, and meet with success. As an assistant principal, she worked with students from three years of age through eighth grade in both the general and special education setting. Prior to working in school administration, Kelly coordinated the Reading First Program and taught first grade in the Baltimore City School System.

Kelly earned her Bachelor’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from the University of Maryland, College Park. She earned her Master’s degree in Leadership and Teaching, with a concentration in reading, from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland University. Immediately following, she completed her certification in School Leadership and Administration from the same University. She also holds an Administrator I certificate.

Kelly is interested in areas of Autism and speech-language disorders. Additionally, she is interested in early identification and intervention with the early childhood population. 

Fellowship Factsheet

Center Leadership

What Leaders In The Field Are Saying About the Center

"This program thoughtfully brings together cutting edge partners that together will create a high-caliber, hands-on environment for learning. Those that complete the program will be sought after by many school systems for leadership positions in special education."
Kim Lewis, EdD