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Sarah Irvine Belson

Executive Director, Institute for Innovation in Education School of Education

Additional Positions at AU

Dr. Sarah Irvine Belson holds a PhD from Arizona State University in Curriculum and Instructional with a cognate in Special Education. Her research explores educational opportunity for children with disabilities and teacher education policy. Her focus on applied interventions for children at risk attends to two major areas of research, namely special education technology and teacher education policy and practice. She is the author of over 50 research papers and chapters on practice and policy in special education and education reform. Dr. Irvine Belson’s experience as a K12 special educator and her focus on interventions that can increase educational outcomes for children with disabilities is a cornerstone of her research and teaching. In addition to her work in policy and practice, she also collaborates with colleagues across departments at American University, including Kiho Kim (environmental science), John Nolan (mathematics and statistics), and Anastasia Snelling (health promotion), to inform policy and improve outcomes for children. Dr. Irvine Belson served as Dean of the School of Education, Teaching & Health from 2002-2015, a role in which was pleased to support faculty and students in pursuit of excellence in the classroom, in the field, and in research.


PhD, Arizona State University, 1995 MA, Arizona State University, 1992 BAE, Arizona State University, 1990

Favorite Spot on Campus
Fraley Pool, Reeves Aquatic Center
Book Currently Reading
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (audible)

Download Resume (PDF)

CAS - School of Education
Spring Valley Building - 443
Director, Master of Arts in Special Education
Contact Info
(202) 885-3714 (Office)
(202) 885-3720 (Work)

Send email to Sarah Irvine Belson

drsarah (Google Talk)
sarahatau (AIM)
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
School of Education
sarahatau @ twitter

Partnerships & Affiliations


  • Summer 2018

  • Fall 2018

  • Spring 2019

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

Irvine Belson, S. (2018) "Chapter 11: Hope Courage and Strength in Urban Special Education Classrooms", in the ATE Yearbook XXVI. Association for Teacher Education.

Snelling, A.M., Belson, S.I., Van Dyke, H., Malloy, E. (2017) Measuring the implementation of a school wellness policy. Journal of School Health, 12(0), doi:10.1111/josh.12548

Irvine Belson, S. & Husted, T. A. (2015). Impact of National Board for the Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification on student achievement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23(0), 91.

Snelling, A. M., Belson, S. I., Watts, E., George, S., Van Dyke, H., Malloy, E., & Kalicki, M. (2015). Translating school health research to policy. School outcomes related to the health environment and changes in mathematics achievement. Appetite, 93, 91-95.

Snelling, A., Belson, S. I., Beard, J., & Young, K. (2015). Associations between grades and physical activity and food choices: Results from YRBS from a large urban school district. Health Education, 115(2), 141-151. doi:10.1108/HE-03-2014-0028

Belson, S. I., Hartmann, D., & Sherman, J. (2013). Digital Note Taking: The Use of Electronic Pens with Students with Specific Learning Disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, 28(2).

Snelling, A., Ernst, J., and Irvine Belson, S. (2013) Teachers as Role Models in Solving Childhood Obesity, Journal of Pediatric Biochemistry.

Grants and Sponsored Research

District of Columbia, Office of the State Superintendent for Education: Master Teacher Cadre Secondary Special Education Cadre. Role: PI $ 142,861, October 2017 to June 2018.

US Department of Agriculture, Institute of Food Safety & Nutrition: Healthy Schoolhouse 2.0: Teachers and Parents Working Together to Improve Student Health Role: co-PI with Anastasia Snelling, Department of Health Studies $900,000 March 2017 to February 2021.

National Science Foundation: Noyce Teaching Fellows: From the Laboratory to the Classroom (Role: Co-PI with John Nolan, Math/Stat and Kiho Kim, Environmental Science) $1,884,606, October 2012 to September 2019.

Toyota Foundation: Lab to Class: Science Education program (PI) ($499,799) June 2012 to December 2019.

AU News and Achievements