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Dr. Amanda Sanford

Amanda Sanford, Ph.D., is a Professor of Special Education in the College of Education at Portland State University (PSU). Her main research and instructional interests are in improving literacy outcomes for multilingual learners (MLs) and students with learning disabilities within the context of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS).


Dr. Sanford consults with state leaders, districts, and schools on implementing research-based reading practices and data-driven decision-making. She specializes in work with elementary reading programs and teaches literacy methods and assessment courses to Portland State University students earning their master's in special education. Bilingual in Spanish, she has deep interest in culturally and linguistically responsive instruction within MTSS.


Areas of Expertise:

  • Literacy instruction and assessment

  • Multitiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

  • Schoolwide Literacy Instruction

  • Learning Disabilities

  • English Learners/Mulitlingual learners

  • Bilingual Teaching and Special Education


Research Projects:

  • Co-developed the PLUSS Framework (Sanford, Brown, & Turner (2012) 

  • Co-investigator five-year Office of English Language Acquisition Personnel Preparation Grant (Project DICE PLUSS) that promotes use of evidence-based practices for improving literacy outcomes for MLs within the context of MTSS. 

  • Professional Development Coordinator and Co-investigator on a four-year Model Demonstration Project, Project LEE (Lectura para Éxito y Excelencia), funded by the Office of Special Education Programs through the US Department of Education (Primary Investigator Dr. Julie Esparza Brown)

  • Co-primary investigator on the Office of Special Education Personnel Development grant, entitled, Highly Qualified Special Educator (HI-Q SPED) Program Improvement Project.  

  • Regional Trainer for Oregon Reading First where she led work training teachers and reading coaches to develop coaching and teaching in the areas of explicit instruction 

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