Dr. Grace Fantaroni is a professor in the School of Education. Her focus is on supporting parents and families, especially diverse populations, understand and access support for autism spectrum disorders and other special needs. In addition, she has extensive expertise in positive behavior supports, supporting communication for students with limited language, and preparing teachers to be trauma-informed. Dr. Fantaroni has teaching credentials in the areas of multiple subjects and special education for students with mild to moderate support needs. Prior to PLNU, she had 15 years of experience, first as a special day class teacher and then as an autism and behavior educational specialist for the San Diego Unified School District, consulting with various K-12 school teams on students with challenging academic and behavioral needs.
Dr. Fantaroni is featured in the documentary, "Bass Clef Bliss: Terrence's Path," the story of her former student with Autism, who developed an amazing musical talent. http://www.bassclefbliss-terrencespath.com. She co-created corresponding curriculum, approved by the California Department of Education, meant to heighten awareness and understanding of differences among students, with the intention to increase a student’s compassion for individuals with special needs within their schools and communities. Dr. Fantaroni loves sharing her passion to serve schools, families, and students in special education at PLNU.
- Ed.D., Educational Leadership, Alliant International University
- M.A., Teaching and Special Education, National University
- B.S., Education, Elementary and Special Education, University of Delaware
Professional and Community Involvement
- Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Advanced Standards Revision Workgroup (2022)
- California Teaching Commission (CTC)
- Education Specialist California Administrator Performance Assessment (CalTPA) Mild/Moderate Support Needs (MMSN) Cycle 1 Field Test Scorer (2022)
- Education Specialist California Administrator Performance Assessment (CalTPA) Extensive Support Needs (ESN) June 28-30, 2021, Consensus Scoring.
- California Teaching Commission (CTC), Program Reviewer Special Education (2021-current), Education Specialist Plan for Implementation Review (December 2021)
- California Council of Teacher Education (CCTE), Communications Committee (2019 – current).
- Reviewer for Evidence-Based Practices for Children, Youth and Young Adults with Autism (2020) National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practice Review Team https://ncaep.fpg.unc.edu
- California Autism Professional Training and Information Network, (CAPTAIN)
- Higher Education Work Group (2021-current)
- Trainer of Trainers, California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN), (2013 – present)
- Board Member, Autism Society San Diego, (2013 – 2018) (assisted in monthly Parent Support Group meetings)
- Professional development and consultations with area schools:
- The Preuss School UCSD, San Diego, CA. Supporting Positive Behavior. (November 2019).
- Soille San Diego Hebrew School, San Diego, CA. Planning and Embedding Formative and Summative Assessments in Your Classroom. (September 2019). Supporting Gifted Learners. (September 2019). Supporting Students with Disabilities: Strategies for the Classroom. (November 2016).
- Bay Side Steam Academy, Imperial Beach, CA. Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders. (March 2018).
- Lemon Grove School District Special Education Teachers. Writing IEP Goals to Common Core Standards. (April 2017).
- Stein Education Center, San Diego, CA. Common Core, Mod/Severe Learners and IEPS: How Do We Align? (March 2017)
- High Tech High, San Diego, CA. Supporting ALL Students: Strategies for the Classroom. (November 2016).
- Banyon Tree Foundations Academy, San Diego, CA. Supporting Positive Behavior (August 2016). Common Core and IEPs: How Do We Align? (August 2016).
Awards and Honors
- Hero for Heroes, PLNU (2021)
- Excellence in Teaching Award, PLNU (2018-2019)
- RASP Grant recipient, PLNU (2020-2021)
- Alumni Associate Faculty Grant recipient, PLNU (2020-2021)
- 2020 NFAR Community Grant recipient, National Foundation for Autism Research (2020-2022)
- Better Together Grant recipient, California Teachers Initiative (2018)
- Volunteer of the Year April 2009 County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Child Welfare Services
- Teacher of the Month, November 2003, "Teachers are Heroes" presented by Azusa Pacific University
Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications
Fantaroni, G. & Lauchmen, D. (2022, July 10-14). Best Practices in Teacher Training for Inclusive and Communication Rich Environments Supporting Executive Functioning and Universal Design of Learning. International Associate of Special Education Annual Conference, Ho Chin Min City, Vietnam.
Bernhardt, P., Brennan, M., Cook-LaPointe, S., Harris, E., & Fantaroni, G. (2022, March 4-6). Developing Trauma-Informed Teachers: Creating Classrooms that Foster Equity, Resiliency, and Asset-Based Approaches. 74th American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, United States.
Bertrand, H. & Fantaroni, G. (2022, March 3-4). Developing Trauma-Informed Teachers:Creating Classrooms that Foster Equity, Resiliency, and Asset-Based Approaches. [Paper Presentation]. Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education (AILCTE) Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, United States.
Fantaroni, G., Pineda Zapata, Y., Posey, R. (2022, January 6-8). Universal Design for Learning in a University Classroom - Multiple Means of Engagement [Paper Presentation]. Lilly San Diego Conference of Teaching for Active and Engaged Learning, San Diego, CA, United States.
Fantaroni, G., Pineda Zapata, Y., Posey, R. (2020, February 27-29). Fostering Deep Learning in a University Classroom [Paper Presentation]. Lilly San Diego Conference of Teaching for Active and Engaged Learning, San Diego, CA, United States.
Fantaroni, G., Sandoval, A., Shkedy, G., & Shkedy, D. (2020, January 4-7). Visual Communication Analysis (VCA): Implementing Self-Determination Theory and Research-Based Practices in Special Education Classrooms [Paper presentation]. 18th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education, Honolulu, HI, United States.
Fantaroni, G. (2019, October 22-24). Faith-Based Institutions and Special Needs Families: How Do We Build Community? [Paper Presentation]. Crossing the Lines: Interdisciplinary Christian Conversations about Difference, PLNU, San Diego, CA, United States.
Davis, T. & Fantaroni, G. (2019, January 16-20). Supporting Peers Understanding Autism [Poster presentation]. Council for Exceptional Children, Division of Autism and Developmental Disorders International Conference (DADD), Kaanapali, HI, United States.
Fantaroni, G. (2018, April 17-20). Ethnicity, Families and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Exploring the Differences and Impact for Educators. [Poster presentation] Global Conference on Education and Research (GLOCER), Las Vegas, NV, United States.
Berlin, M., Daly, A., Davis, T., Fantaroni, G., (2018, February). Supporting Inclusion for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder [Panel presentation]. CTA State Council of Education Conference, Los Angeles, CA, United States.
Berlin, M., Davis, T., Fantaroni, G., Scott, P. (2017, April). Social Emotional Impacts of Inclusion for adolescents with ASD. [Panel presentation] University of California, San Diego, CA, United States.
Fantaroni, G & Bertrand, H. (2021). Equipping and Empowering the Next Generation of Teachers: Building Trauma-informed, Inclusive, Pedagogical Practices and Resiliency for Transformational Education. In P.E. Bernhardt, M. Brennan & O. Schepers (Eds.), Creating Classrooms that Foster Equity, Resiliency, and Asset-Based Approaches: Research Findings from Teacher Preparation. Information Age Publishing.
Shkedy, G., Shekedy, D., Sandoval-Norton, A., Fantaroni, G, Montes Castro, J., Sahagun, N. & Christopher, D. (2021). Visual communication analysis (VCA); Implementing self-determination theory and research-based practices in special education classrooms. Cogent Psychology, 8 (1). DOI: 10.1080/23311908.2021.1875549
Shkedy, G., Shkedy, D., Sandoval-Norton, A., & Fantaroni, G. (2020). Visual communication analysis (VCA): Applying self-determination theory and research-based practices to autism. Cogent Psychology, 7 (1). DOI: 10.1080/23311908.2020.1803581
Davis, T., Fantaroni, G., & Kass, K. (2018). Autism Is: The Interactive Classroom Experience. California Department of Education Approved Social Curriculum. http://bassclefbliss- terrencespath.com