Denise Necoechea, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Education

Dr. Denise Necoechea has been a faculty member in the Graduate School of Education since 2010. Her expertise is in the area of inclusion of students with disabilities, special education, learning disabilities, and issues related to supporting students with traumatic brain injury in today's schools. She teaches foundational and methodology coursework across all teaching credential programs as well as specialized coursework in the Masters in Special Education program. Outside of PLNU, Necoechea is involved in local teacher training and professional development practices for private, faith-based schools in the area of inclusion of students with special needs. Her current research interests focus on issues related to international special education efforts, and in particular, providing specialized training for educators in South America to advance inclusive programming in third-world countries. Necoechea and her husband, Joe, enjoy spending time with their five children and two dogs.


  • Ph.D., Educational Psychology, University of California (Riverside)
  • M.A., Special Education, San Diego State University
  • B.S., Biology, Pepperdine University

Courses Taught

  • Foundations of Special Education – EDU 602
  •  Foundations of Special Education – EDU 404
  • Curricular and Instructional Adaptations for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities – EDU 651
  •  Direct Studies in Special Education – GED 659
  • Teaching Strategies for Students of Special Populations – GED 677
  • Methods for Teaching Students with Traumatic Brain Injury – SPE 653
  • Shared Leadership, Legislation, and Due Process in Special Education – GED 656
  •  Special Education Clinical Practice in Mild/Moderate Disabilities – EDU 670/674

Experience in Field

  • Associate Professor, Point Loma Nazarene University, Graduate School of Education, 2010 – present
  • Adjunct Professor, San Diego State University, Department of Special Education, 2008 – 2012
  • Adjunct Professor, San Diego Christian College, Department of Education, 2008
  • Lecturer, University of California, Riverside, Graduate School of Education, 2006
  • Researcher/Training Team Member, Miracle 139/Paraguay Inclusion Project, 2015 – present
  • Researcher/Program Manager, HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters), 2002 – 2013

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Inclusion Consultant, Saint James Academy, 2016 – present
  • Editorial Review Board for the American Educational Research Association (AERA),  2006 – present 
  • Editorial Review Board for The Christian Journal of Teaching and Learning,  2015 – present

Awards and Honors

  • Recipient of the Justin Lai Doctoral Fellowship Award, 2005 – 2006
  • University of California Graduate Fellowship, 2001 – 2004

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • Jacobson, K., & Necoechea, D.M. (April 2014). Hybrid and Online Learning and Teaching. Information Session at the Emerging Technologies in Education Symposium.
  • Necoechea, D.M. (2007). Children at-risk: The effect of an early intervention home-visiting program on children’s development and parent involvement at home. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. 
  • Necoechea, D.M., & Green, H. (2004). HIPPY and health: Results from a pilot health literacy assessment. Manuscript proceedings from the University of California at Santa Barbara Graduate School of Education Conference. 
  • Necoechea, D.M., & Green, H. (2004). The California HIPPY Family Health Questionnaire – Revised. A publication of the California State Office of the HIPPY Program. 
  • Necoechea, D.M., & Swanson, H.L. (2003). The role of reading intervention research in the identification of children with reading difficulties: A meta-analysis of the literature funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD). In M.A. Mastropieri and T.E. Scruggs (Eds.), Identification and assessment: Advances in learning and behavioral disabilities (Vol. 16), pp. 83-161. Oxford, England: Elsevier Science. 
  • Swanson, H.L., Trainin, G., Necoechea, D.M., & Hammill, D.D. (2003). Rapid naming, phonological awareness, and reading: A meta-analysis of the correlation evidence. Review of Educational Research, 73(4), 407-440. 
  • Necoechea, D.M.  (February 2003). HIPPY and health: Results from a pilot health literacy assessment – Ensuring young children are ready for kindergarten. Paper presented at the 2nd annual University of California, Santa Barbara Graduate School of Education Educational Conference, Santa Barbara, CA. 
  • Necoechea, D.M., Green, H., & Islas, L. (2002). The HIPPY Family Health Questionnaire. A publication of the Jacobs Foundation and the California State Office of the HIPPY Program.
  • Necoechea, D.M., & Swanson, H.L. (February 2002). Teaching children how to read – Just how can we do it? New implications from a meta-analysis of reading intervention research.  Poster session presented at the Learning Disabilities Association of America International Conference, Denver, CO.
  • Necoechea, D.M. (April 2002). Reading interventions: A meta-analysis of NICHD reading research. Paper presented at the University of California at Riverside Graduate School of Education, Riverside, CA.
  • Necoechea, D.M. (2001). Parent involvement at home: What parents do to augment their child’s learning.  Paper presented at the University of California at Riverside Graduate School of Education,  Riverside, CA.    
  • Necoechea, D.M., & Swanson, H.L. (November 2001). Teaching children to read:  Recent research in reading interventions. Paper presented at the annual Learning Disabilities Association of California conference, Concord, CA.