The ways in which school districts allocate their staffing and assign individual roles related to career development are pertinent to students with and without disabilities accessing employment preparation that equips them for work following graduation. Rural school districts can especially benefit from strategic role allocation that addresses gaps in available staffing, formal disability resources, and local job opportunities. In this webcast, the presenter will share the findings of a study exploring the roles of school staff and administrators within and across 10 rural Tennessee districts for supporting the career development of students with disabilities as well as how they come to assume these roles, their views on such roles, and the programmatic strengths and gaps that result from the collective services they provide. Implications for ways in which districts can feasibly improve their staffing models to better address the employment preparation of all students will be shared.


Michele Schutz, Ph.D. is a recently graduated doctoral student from the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University and research assistant at Transition Tennessee. Previously, she worked as a high school special education teacher and transition specialist in the Chicago area. Her efforts focus on supporting school districts and their local communities in preparing students with disabilities – including those with the most significant support needs – to transition to meaningful employment and other postschool outcomes.