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Dr. Susan J. Whittaker

Assistant Professor

Academic Complex - Third Floor, Suite 326B

Office Hours: By Appointment

Phone: 716.286.8259


Dr. Susan J. Whittaker is an Assistant Professor at Niagara University in the Department of Teacher Education, Early Childhood. She holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in English and a Masters of Teaching in Early Childhood Education. She earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on early literacy skills. Dr. Whittaker possesses NYS School Building Leadership (SBL) certification, Illinois State School Leadership certification and an Illinois Teaching Certification.

Focus of Teaching

During the past 25 years, Dr. Whittaker has focused her teaching and leadership in Special Education. Seventeen years were spent as a classroom teacher in early childhood and kindergarten, while the remaining 8 years she transitioned to special education leadership as a principal, both in England and New York. Dr. Whittaker spent 6 years as the principal of Summit Academy where she provided instructional and administrative leadership. During this time, she joined Niagara University as an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership Department teaching Instructional Supervision and Curriculum Design and Implementation.

Current Research

Dr. Whittaker is very active at Summit Academy and is currently focusing her attention on researching reading acquisition for non-verbal children with Autism. She is also very committed to building early literacy programs for children with Autism by creating a balanced reading program using synthetic phonics.

Current Involvement


  • Volunteer Niagara University Active Shooter Drill Volunteer Niagara University Open House
  • Education and Scholarship Workshop: Best Practices for Designing an Inclusive Curriculum
  • Chair – Search Committee
  • Early Childhood Professor – Tenure Position
  • Adjunct Development Committee
  • Member of the Summit Academy Research Committee
  • Member of the Summit Academy Literacy Domain Sub-committee
  • Member of the Discovery Kids, Summit Academy Collaboration Committee


  • Board President, Discovery Kids Learning Center

Educational Background

  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.): Curriculum and Instruction, Aurora University, Aurora, Illinois, 2013
  • Master of Education Leadership, Aurora University, Aurora, Illinois, 2004
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.): Early Childhood with Special Education, National Louis University, Wheaton, Illinois, 1998
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.): English, Brock University, Ontario, Canada, 1985
  • Illinois State Administrative Certificate, 2004
  • New York State School Building Leader Certificate, 2012
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certification – Arabic and Business English, 2014