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

  • Kulkarni, S. (2017). Disproportionate representation of Asian students in special education: A systematic review of the literature. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners: Fall 2017, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 19-33.

  • Kulkarni, S. & *Parmar, J. (2017). Culturally and linguistically diverse student and family perspectives on AAC devices. Augmentative and Alternative Communication International. DOI:10.1080/07434618.2017.1346706

  • Kulkarni, S., Stacy, J., & Kertyzia, H. (in press, 2019). Collaborative self-study: Advocating for democratic principles and culturally responsive pedagogy in teacher education. The Education Forum.

  • Kulkarni, S. (2019). A model for critical disability studies in teacher education. Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability Studies Vol. 2.

Recent Presentations

  • 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

  • 2020 Assigned Time for Exceptional Service to Students Award, San Jose State University-0.2-unit release
  • 2020 Central RSCA University Award, San Jose State University
  • 2019 University Scholar Series Selected Research Presenter for Fall San Jose State University, University Research Committee
  • 2019 Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Honoree, San Jose State University, Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
  • 2019 Faculty in Residence of the Year San Jose State University, University Housing Services
  • 2018 Curriculum Inquiry Writing Fellows Program University of Toronto OISE

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