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Paula Kohler, Ph.D.

Executive Director and Professor

Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities, Exceptional Student Education

Office: TA 403

Phone: 407-823-2848


Professional Summary

Paula D. Kohler Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities and Professor of Exceptional Student Education at the University of Central Florida. She also serves as co-director of the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) funded by the U. S. Department of Education, and is an Emeritus Professor at Western Michigan University from where she retired as Associate Vice President for Research.

Dr. Kohler conducts research regarding effective transition education and services for youth with disabilities across a range of topics, including college and career readiness. She has accomplished this work with support from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and state departments of education. Her Taxonomy for Transition Programming and Taxonomy 2.0 are recognized as an effective model for planning, implementing, and evaluating transition-focused education, and has influenced the implementation of transition education across the U. S. and other countries. The Taxonomy provides a heuristic for organizing the evidence-based and promising practices at the core of NTACT’s work. Dr. Kohler has a background in business administration, educational leadership, career and technical education, and special education. In 2001, 2006, and 2016, Kohler was recognized for her work by the Council for Exceptional Children‘s Division on Career Development and Transition, WMU College of Education, and the Association on Career and Technical Education Research. Dr. Kohler also received the Excellence in Research to Practice Award in recognition of work on the Taxonomy from the Research Use Special Interest Group (S.I.G.) of the American Educational Research Association at the 2017 Annual meeting. This award celebrates “exemplary performance moving research into the field of educational practice.”