Lysandra Cook and Bryan Cook are local UVA colleagues for whom I have great admiration. They are each spectacular educators who have rich histories that include helpful contributions to the commonweal of special education. I hope this brief introduction does right by them.
Usually I publish photos in this feature of SET that I have taken personally, but in this case, Bryan and Lysandra sent me the image. I like it for a lot of reasons (hugs, iconic setting, and, especially, the smiles).
I’ll provide links to their vitae, of course. If you peruse those vitae, you’ll learn that they are quite accomplished scholars. But, there is way more to them than academic accomplishments.
Although Bryan started out researching matters such as inclusion and peer relations, he has had an abiding interest in research methods. The latter interest has become more important during his career, and it is now the case that he is a leader in what one might call meta-research. He writes often about procedures and practices (e.g., “open science”) for making research findings more trustworthy and powerful.
Lysandra has held (and continues to hold) particular interests in teacher education. She has developed courses that actually demonstrate collaboration between general and special educators. She has researched similar topics. And, she has such a good broad understanding of teacher- and higher-education that senior administrators seek her opinions and appoint her to management-level posts.
As I drafted this post, I realized that there are arcs to both Bryan’s and Lysandra’s careers that connect with my own history. Bryan completed his doctoral studies at the University of California Santa Barbara where one of the faculty members, Mike Gerber, studied at the University of Virginia when I was beginning my third year of facultyhood. Ding!
Lysandra’s Ph.D. is from Kent State University and one of the faculty members with whom she studied, Melody Tankersley, was also a graduate of UVA’s special education program. Ding!
Now, I know this damn near sounds incestuous. Let me be sure you know, at least from my experience, it was platonic! Bryan and Lysandra can speak for themselves (and they have two children).
Catch up with the Cooks when you get a chance. These are people with whom many special educators would enjoy conversing. And, guess what, like everyone in the Friday Photos album, they’d probably be happy to talk with you. Ask Lysandra about dancing hula. Ask Bryan about…uhm…well, just about anything…and be prepared to listen.