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College of Education

Sara Sorensen Petersen


Sara Sorensen Petersen, J.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor
Special Education
Tri-Cities Campus
2710 University Drive
Richland, WA  99354-1671


Curriculum Vitae

Teaching/Professional Interests

Sara Sorensen Petersen teaches courses in the special education endorsement program as well as Teaching in Inclusive Classrooms for preservice elementary education teacher candidates as part of the elementary education program.  She also teaches a course on special education for administrators, Special Education Practices for School Administrators, which focuses on special education law, policy development, and inclusive practices.

Ms. Sorensen Petersen’s specialty is special education law and policy issues, higher education accessibility and instructional supports, and inclusive teaching practices. She is currently a member of the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) National Policy and Legislative Committee and is the Children and Youth Action Network Coordinator for the Washington CASE unit.

Ms. Sorensen Petersen has been a special education teacher at the elementary level in both resource room and life skills settings. She was also a Graduate Teaching Fellow and field supervisor in the Specialized Training Program of the College of Education at the University of Oregon.

Research and Scholarship Interests

Sara Sorensen Petersen’s research focuses on special education law, litigation and policy issues.  She is currently researching trends in special education disputes in Washington state to better understand the reasons parents and school districts choose to litigate. She is also interested in Universal Design for Learning and accessibility for students with different learning needs in higher education, and international special education practices and policies.

Recent Accomplishments

  • 2018 Professional Educator Standards Board Pilot to Practice Grant (with Judy Morrison, Yun-Ju Hsiao, and Maria Moscatelli)
  • 2017 Faculty Member of the Year Award from WSU Tri-Cities Office of Enrollment Management and Student Services for representation of WSU Tri-Cities strategic goals and student engagement
  • 2015 College of Education Faculty Award of Excellence for Excellence in Service
  • 2014 College of Education Faculty Funding Award (with Yun-Ju Hsiao)
  • 2008 Faculty-Led Study Abroad Mini-Grant (with SusanRae Banks-Joseph)

Educational Background

  • J.D. – University of Oregon School of Law, 2001
  • B.A. in Education – Washington State University, 1995, with endorsements in K-8 Elementary Education and K-12 Special Education
  • Oregon and Washington Mediation Certificates
Washington State University