Name: Dr. Kathy Cary Trela
Title: Assistant Professor, Special Education
Office Location: Dyson 388I
Extension: (845) 575-3000 ext. 2596
Degrees Held:

PhD in Special Education, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
MS in Special Education, SUNY Geneseo
BS in Education, SUNY Geneseo


Curriculum Instructional Specialist
Transition and Supported Employment Specialist
Elementary Education (K-6)
Intellectual Disabilities (K-12)
Learning Disabilities (K-12)



Dr. Trela is a co-author of several journal articles, book chapters and instructional guides to teach to general curriculum math and science standards to secondary students with significant disabilities. She has 30 years of experience teaching students with multiple disabilities across school settings in New York State and North Carolina. Kathy has also presented at a number of local, national and international conferences on the topic of teaching to general curriculum alternate achievement standards.

Dr. Trela has served on the board of the Arc of Mecklenburg County, as well as local inter-agency transition committees to promote more successful transition to inclusive community participation. Further, she has served as a leader catechist for adults with developmental disabilities at St Matthew Catholic Church in Charlotte, NC to support a more inclusive faith community.


Travel, music

Awards & Honors:

2010 Outstanding Service Award, Arc of Mecklenburg County


Instructional Guides

Courtade, G., Jimenez, B., Trela, K., & Browder, D. M. (2008). Teaching to standards - science:
Attainment Co.: Verona, WI
Trela, K., Jimenez, B., & Browder, D.M. (2008). Teaching to standards - math. Attainment Co.: Verona, WI

Book Chapters

Browder, D.M., Spooner, F.H., & Trela, K. (2010). Teaching Math to Students with Moderate and Severe Disabilities. In D.M. Browder and F.H. Spooner (Eds.), Teaching Students with Moderate and Severe Disabilities. Guilford Press: New York, New York.
Jimenez, B. A. & Trela, K. (2009). Finding the link in math instruction for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Mathematics for All: Instructional Strategies to Assist Students with Special Learning Needs. Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)
Browder, D.M., Trela, K., Gibbs, S.L., Wakeman, S., & Harris, A.H. (2007). Teaching Academics: Reading and Math. In ME Snell (Ed.), Instruction of Students with Severe Disabilities.Guilford Press: New York, New York

Journal Articles (all refereed; “*” denotes data based)

Browder, D.M., Jimenez, B.A., & Trela, K. (2011). Grade-aligned math instruction for secondary
students with moderate intellectual disability. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities.
Browder, D. M., Trela, K., Courtade, G. R., Jimenez, B. A., & Knight. V. (2010). Teaching mathematics and science standards to students with moderate and severe developmental disabilities. Journal of Special Education, 43, 35-50.*
Browder, D.M., Trela, K. & Jimenez, B. (2007). Increasing participation of middle school students with significant cognitive disabilities in grade-appropriate literacy lessons. Focus on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 22, 206-219.*
Konrad, M. & Trela. K. (2007). GO 4 IT…NOW! Extending writing strategies to students with disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 39(4), 42-51.
Konrad, M., Fowler, C.H., Richter, S.M., Walker, A.R., Trela, K., Uphold, N., & Neale, M. (2007). In other sources. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals,30, 58-64..
Konrad, M., Trela, K., & Test, D.W. (2006). Using IEP goals and objectives to teach paragraph writing skills to high school students with physical and cognitive disabilities. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 41, 111-124.*
Browder, D.M., Spooner, F., Wakeman, S., Trela, K., & Baker, J.N. (2006). Aligning instruction with academic content standards: Finding the link. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 31, 309-321.
Konrad, M., Trela, K., Uphold, N., Walker, A., & Fowler, C.H. (2005). In other sources. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 28, 116-121.

Research Interests:

Dr. Trela's research interests are in the areas of instructional design and assessment to alternate achievement standards, assistive technology, transition and supportive employment and residential initiatives for individuals with developmental disabilities.


Council for Exceptional Children
American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Arc of Mecklenburg, NC County
National Council of Teachers of Math
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development


National and International Presentations

Trela, K., Fallin, K., & Zakas, T.L. (2010, October). Following an Alternate Path to Independence: Providing High Quality Instruction to Secondary Students with Significant Disabilities. Breakout Session presented at The Urban Collaborative Fall 2010 Meeting, Charlotte, NC
Trela, K. & Knight, V. (2008, September). Teaching Math to Students with Significant Disabilities. Workshop presented for Northern Suburban District, Chicago, IL
Trela, K. (2008, July). Reading, Writing, Math and Science for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities. Poster session presented at Office of Special Education Programs Director’s Conference, Washington, DC
Trela, K. & Jimenez, B. (2008, March). Teaching Math to Students with Significant Disabilities. Workshop presented for Northern Suburban District, Chicago, IL
Browder, D.M., Courtade, G., Trela, K., & Jimenez, B. (2007, December). Teaching to Secondary Standards in Math and Science for Students with Significant Disabilities. Breakout session presented at annual TASH conference, Seattle, WA

Trela, K. (2007, July). Math and Science for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities in Secondary Settings. Breakout Session presented at 2007 OSEP Project Director’s Conference, Washington, D.C.
Ahlgrim-Delzell, L. & Trela, K. (2007, July). Literacy, Math, and Science for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities. Region 7 Assistive Technology Conference, Richardson, TX
Trela, K. (2007, June). Using Shared Stories to Promote Emergent Literacy Skills in Young Children with Significant Disabilities. Parent session presented at Scientific-Practical Conference for families and specialists serving children with special needs in Rivne, Ukraine
Trela, K. & Jimenez, B. (2007, April). Literacy and Math for Students with Significant Disabilities in Secondary Settings. Workshop presented at the annual international conference of the Council for Exceptional Children, Louisville, KY

Regional and State Presentations

Trela, K. (2010, June). Transition for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities. Workshop presented at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Summer Teacher Conference, Charlotte, NC
Trela, K. & Zakas, T.L. (2010, January). Teaching Math, Science, Writing and Social Studies to Students with Significant Disabilities. Breakout session at North Carolina Council for Exceptional Children Conference, Wilmington, NC
Trela, K. (2009, November). Using Story-Based Lessons to Teach to Extended Content Standards in Math.. Breakout session at North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Exceptional Children Conference in Greensboro, NC