Mary Morningstar, Ph.D.

Mary Morningstar, Ph.D.

Mary Morningstar

Dr. Mary E. Morningstar is an affiliated research professor in the Lifespan Institute and Director of the Transition Coalition, which offers online transition professional development and resources for secondary special educators and practitioners. Her research agenda includes evaluating secondary teacher quality and professional development, culturally diverse family involvement in transition planning, and interagency collaboration. She is also examining the impact of inclusive secondary experiences for students with significant disabilities on postschool outcomes. Currently, she is developing a multi-dimensional model of adult life engagement for transition.

Dr. Morningstar has been involved in training, professional development and research regarding transition from school to adult life for over 25 years. Prior to moving to Kansas, she worked as a secondary teacher for students with significant intellectual disability. Mary has been an active advocate for all persons with disabilities based on her experiences as a sibling of a brother with disabilities. Dr. Morningstar recently retired from the University of Kansas, and now is faculty at Portland State University, where she co-directs an inclusive postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disability. She can be reached at either her KU email ( or her PSU email (

Investigator, Beach Center on Disability,
Director, Transition Coalition,
Beach Center on Disability

Associate Professor,
School of Education

Ph.D., Special Education, Family Studies and Disability Policy, University of Kansas
M.Ed., Special Education, Severe Disabilities, University of Maryland
B.S.Ed., Special Education, University of Georgia