A special educator by profession, Kelly is a former public school teacher of students with emotional and behavioral disorders, and has worked in national and federal special education policy and research settings. Kelly’s family is formed in part through public foster care and adoption. Her teen and young adult children have a range of learning, behavioral, medical and cognitive disabilities. Kelly has trained adoptive, foster and kinship families and agency personnel on special education-related needs of children and has provided information and supports to many individual families. She serves on numerous advisory boards and committees.
Kelly earned a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Maryland College Park and served as an Executive Branch Policy fellow for the Society for Research in Child Development. In addition to her work at FFF, Kelly serves as part-time instructional faculty at George Mason University, training graduate students and special education teachers. Kelly believes that formed families must have information and advocacy tools to improve the delivery of appropriate services, and to increase the academic, social and behavioral outcomes for children and youth with special needs.