Deborah Rooks-Ellis

Deborah L. Rooks-Ellis is currently an assistant professor of special education at the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development as well as director of the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research.

Deborah began her career at UMaine in 2009 after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona. She has extensive experience in the field of education. After completing her BSEd at the University of Georgia in early childhood education, she worked as a first grade teacher and a third grade teacher in Carroll County, Md. Deborah continued to work in early childhood education while completing her MSEd in visual impairments at The Johns Hopkins University. She worked as an itinerant teacher of the visually impaired in Maryland, Georgia and Maine. In 2007, Deborah began her Ph.D. studies at the University of Arizona and upon completion, returned to Maine where she accepted a position as assistant research professor in special education. She recently accepted the tenure-track position.

Deborah’s early scholarship focused on students with visual impairment and inquiry-based science. Her scholarship now focuses on children with autism spectrum disorder, as well as personnel preparation. To date, Deborah has been awarded two Office of Special Education federal personnel preparation grants, as both principal investigator and co-PI, totaling $3 million. Additionally, Deborah has been awarded $1 million in cooperative agreements with the state of Maine to focus on providing professional development to support to children and adolescents with autism and their families.

Deborah lives with her husband, Matt, and four children in Bangor, Maine.