Melinda Marie Leko

Melinda Marie Leko

Melinda Marie Leko

Melinda M. Leko is an assistant professor in the department of special education at the University of Kansas (KU). She teaches courses on reading instruction for students with high-incidence disabilities and collaboration in special education courses. Her research centers on teacher preparation to support students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms, reading instruction, and specific learning disabilities. Her work has appeared in several prominent journals including: Exceptional Children, The Journal of Special Education, Remedial and Special Education, and Learning Disability Quarterly.


Ph.D., Special Education, University of Florida

Contact Information

Research Interests

Melinda's research centers on high-incidence disabilities, reading instruction, and special education teacher quality. Currently she is interested in better understanding how to prepare secondary teachers to deliver high quality basic reading instruction to adolescents with disabilities, particularly in inclusive classrooms. She is also interested in understanding issues of teachers' implementation of interventions.


Brownell, M.T., & Leko, M.M. (2018). Advancing coherent theories of change in special education teacher education research: A response to the special issue on the science of teacher professional development. Teacher Education and Special Education. 41, 158-168.

Leko, M.M., Chiu, M.M., & Roberts, C.A. (2018). Individual and contextual factors related to secondary special education teachers’ reading instructional practices. The Journal of Special Education. 51, 236-250.

Leko, M.M., Roberts, C., Peyton, D., & Pua, D. Selecting evidence-based practices (EBPs): What works for me. Manuscript in preparation.

Alzahrani, T., & Leko, M.M. (2018). The effects of peer tutoring on reading comprehension performance of secondary students with disabilities: A systematic review. Reading & Writing Quarterly. 34(1), 1-17.

Knackstedt, K., Leko, M.M., & Siuty, M. (2018). The effects of secondary special education teacher preparation in reading: Research to inform state policy in a new era. Teacher Education and Special Education. 41, 70-85.

Siuty, M., Leko, M.M., & Knackstedt, K. (2018). Unraveling the role of curriculum in teacher decision-making. Teacher Education and Special Education. 41, 39-57.

Li, B., Mooring, J., Blanchard, S., Johri, A., Leko, M.M., & Cameron, K. (2017). A kinetic parallel computer sculpture for educating broad audiences on parallel computation. Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing. 105, 183-199.

Leko, M.M., Handy, T., & Roberts, C.A. (2017). Examining the reading instructional practices of secondary special educators. Exceptionality. 25, 26-39.

Hagiwara, M., Shogren, K., & Leko, M.M. (2017). Reviewing research on the Self-determined Learning Model of Instruction: Mapping the terrain and charting a course to promote adoption and use. Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. 1, 3-13.


(2018, February 7). Invited lecturer for Dr. Molly Siuty, Portland State University.

Billingsley, B., Griffin, C., Kennedy, M., Maheady, L., Smith, S., Spooner, F., & Leko, M.M. (2017). Research Strand, Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children annual meeting, Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, Savannah, GA.

(2016). Invited lecturer for Dr. Kathleen Lane’s SPED 998 Class.

(2016). Invited presentation for KU Inclusion and Social Justice (ISJ) graduate student speaker series, KU Inclusion and Social Justice (ISJ).

Benedict, A., Brownell, M.T., Leko, M.M., Lignugaris/Kraft, B., & Rock, M. (2016). A scientific approach to teacher education: Using practice-based approaches to prepare special educators to teach within MTSS frameworks, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) annual meeting, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), St. Louis, MO.



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