Saili Kulkarni, PhD

Saili Kulkarni

Assistant Professor, Special Education

Dr. Saili S. Kulkarni's research highlights the beliefs of Special Education teachers of color using Disability Studies and Critical Race Theory (DisCrit). She received her doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to her work in academia, she was an inclusion specialist in Oakland Unified School District where she worked with students with mild/moderate and moderate/severe disabilities in elementary schools. Dr. Saili Kulkarni draws from the experiences of teachers and school professionals who support restorative practices for young children in an effort to create more inclusive, safe school environments for all learners 


  • Ph.D., Special Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • M.S., Special Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Moderate-Severe, Special Education Credential, San Francisco State University
  • B.A., Psychology, Boston University

Recent Publications

  • Meyer, L., Park, H., & Kulkarni, S. (2020). Chapter 13: Culturally responsive special education in inclusive schools. In (Eds.) J. Banks & C. Banks. Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, 10th Edition. [honorarium and invited authorship]
  • Kulkarni, S. (2019). A model for critical disability studies in teacher education. Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability Studies Vol. 2.
  • Kulkarni, S., Stacy, J., & Kertyzia, H. (2019). Collaborative self-study: Advocating for democratic principles and culturally responsive pedagogy in teacher education. The Education Forum.
  • Esposito, M.C., Tang, K., & Kulkarni, S. (2018). Fostering inclusive environments: The linchpin role of school leaders in ensuring equity and access. Journal of Educational Administration and History.
  • *Hernandez, C., & Kulkarni, S. (Spring/Summer, 2018). Social skills for students with moderate to severe disabilities: Can community-based instruction help? JAASEP.
  • Kulkarni, S., *Parmar, J., Selmi, A., & Mendelson, A. (2018). Assistive technology for students with disabilities: An international and intersectional approach. In (Eds.) A.H. Normore & A. I. Lahera. Crossing the Bridge of the Digital Divide: A Walk with Global Leaders. Information Age Publishing.

Recent Presentations

  • Kulkarni, S., Stacy, J., & Kertyzia, H., (2020- Paper Accepted). Collaborative self-study: Advocating for democratic principles and culturally responsive pedagogy in teacher education. In A Long and Representative View of Peace Education Across the Globe Paper Session, Peace Education SIG, AERA: San Francisco CA.
  • Kulkarni, S., & Chong, M. (2020-Paper Accepted). Restorative for Whom? Elementary School Teachers of Color and Implementation of Restorative Justice Practices for Students with and Without Dis/abilities. In Forging Community Through Intersectional Disability Studies in Education Symposium, Disability Studies in Education SIG, AERA: San Francisco CA.
  • Kulkarni, S. (2020-Paper Accepted). Navigating South Asian/Desi Identity in Silicon Valley. In South Asians in/and America: Engaging Solidarities, Specificities, and Intersections in Educational Research in Troubled Times Symposium, Curriculum Studies Division B, AERA: San Francisco CA.
  • Kulkarni, S. (2019). A DisCrit Analysis of Special Education Teacher Beliefs about the Intersections of Dis/ability and Race. American Education Research Association Division G Social Contexts of Education. Toronto, CANADA.

  • Kulkarni, S. (2019). Overlooked and Underserved: A Special Education Teachers’ Counterstory of Smartness and Goodness. American Education Research Association Division B Curriculum Studies Symposium Panel. Toronto, CANADA.

Noteworthy Grants and Awards

Online Resources

Areas of Research Interest

  • Critical race theory
  • Disability studies
  • DisCrit
  • Restorative justice
  • Special education
  • Teacher beliefs
  • Teachers of color
  • Teacher education

Recommended Reading

Personality Playlist

Listen to Saili's playlist below and access all of the personality playlists on our Lurie College of Education Spotify account