UCA's Mashburn Center for Learning Team

Mark Cooper, Patty Kohler-Evans, Renee Calhoun

The Mashburn team is highly motivated, experienced, and well-qualified. They are highly committed to the Mashburn vision and mission.  It is their desire to forge partnerships with stakeholders in Arkansas to close the achievement gap between students who fail and students who excel. They shall not rest until such gaps are closed.

Mark Cooper

Mark J. Cooper, Ph.D., L.P.C. is a professor in the Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education (formerly Department of Early Childhood and Special Education) at the University of Central Arkansas, a licensed professional counselor, and Director of the Mashburn Institute. For more than thirty-five years, he has combated the toxicity that interferes with children and adolescents who demonstrate challenging thoughts and behaviors. He advocates a climate of success for struggling learners.

Known better as Dr. Mark, he has been a contributing author to the Autism Asperger’s Digest, a national magazine devoted to children, adolescents, and adults with autism spectrum disorders, and has also written for numerous other journals including Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disorders, Rural Special Education Quarterly, Phi Delta Pi Record, Children and Families, the Journal of Early Education and Family Review, and the National Forum for Educational Administration and Supervision. More recently, Dr. Mark has written the book, Bound and Determined to Help Children with Learning Disabilities Succeed, published by Learning Disabilities Worldwide, Inc. This book of hope provides strategies for helping struggling learners succeed in the classroom and at home. Dr. Mark uses the venues of teaching, counseling, consulting, writing and speaking to help teachers and parents guide, manage, and teach children and adolescents more successfully.

Patty Kohler-Evans

Patty Kohler, Ed. D., is an associate professor at the University of Central Arkansas in the Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education (formerly Department of Early Childhood and Special Education). As a former teacher, she has worked with students with disabilities for over thirty years.  She was Director of the Division of Exceptional Children in the state’s largest district for nearly twelve years. While there, the district co-hosted the state’s first state–wide conference on inclusion. As a teacher in Washington, Dr. Kohler was recognized for her model classroom for students with significant disabilities.

Dr. Kohler’s research interests include adolescent literacy, inclusive education and meeting the needs of adolescents in various settings. She has published articles on co-teaching and the importance of developing positive relationships with students. She is a Strategic Instruction Model professional developer and works with teachers throughout the state in implementing this model. She also serves as secretary for the Council of Exceptional Children in Arkansas.

Renee Calhoon

K. Renee  Calhoon, MSE, is the Director of Administration/Teacher Development for the Mashburn Institute at the University of Central Arkansas.  For over fifteen years, she has been involved in promoting the education and support of the whole child in K-12 education.  She supports, assists, and encourages teachers and principals to strive to meet the mental, social, and physical well being of each student each day.

Renee has been a classroom teacher, basketball coach, assistant principal, and building principal.  She was the principal of a state and national award winning middle school, Cabot Middle School North.  During her period as principal, Cabot Middle School North was chosen as a 2008 Arkansas Diamond School and a National School to Watch.  She also has received awards and honors such as:  2001 Lonoke County Principal of the Year, two time nominee of Arkansas Middle Level Principal of the Year, Administrative Representative on Arkansas Association of Middle Level Educators, Arkansas Middle Level Breaking Ranks Facilitator, and a Certified Strategic Instruction Model Professional Developer.   Renee has also been a presenter at both state and national conferences.