RU Professor Appointed Board Director for Disability Rights Advocates

2 min read Dr. Darren Minarik, a Special Education professor at Radford University, was recently appointed to the Disability Rights Advocates.

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Photo by Unseen Histories: In a Radford University press release, Dr. Minarik discussed his decision to join the DRA board. 

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By Wesley Wallace | wwallace5@radford.edu

Dr. Darren Minarik, an associate professor within Radford University’s School of Teacher Education and Leadership, has recently been appointed as a board director for the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) center.

The DRA is the leading national nonprofit disability rights legal center in the United States. The center aims to advance equal rights and opportunities for people with all types of disabilities.

Dr. Minarik has worked in both special education and social studies fields for more than 25 years within his professional career. Dr. Minarik is also the co-director for Radford University’s Virginia Inclusive Practices Center.

The Virginia Inclusive Practices Center is an educational center that promotes the fostering of inclusive environments that provide academic, social, emotional, and physical inclusion for children and youth with disabilities.

The Virginia Inclusive Practices Center is an educational center that promotes the fostering of inclusive environments that provide academic, social, emotional, and physical inclusion for children and youth with disabilities.

In a Radford University press release, Dr. Minarik discussed his decision to join the DRA board. 

“I felt that my presence on the board as a teacher, educator, and former public school teacher would provide additional perspective to the DRA outside of the tremendous legal expertise that already exists,” said Minarik.

Minarik believes in the change that can undergo in schools everywhere.

“As an educator, I believe that real change can take place in our schools and in society if we empower our youth with effective civic engagement, self-advocacy, and self-determination skills,” said Minarik.

Dr. Minarik believes that Radford University has contributed a lot to inclusivity in Virginia.

Dr. Minarik believes that Radford University has contributed a lot to inclusivity in Virginia.

“Radford University has always been a central hub for inclusive education in Virginia. There was no central center or place where people could go to access more information about how to improve inclusion in their schools,” said Minarik, “We were kinda on the forefront of that movement. Dr. Altieri, myself, and Dr. Karen Douglas received a $175,000 seed grant to start the center through the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities to work with two school divisions in Virginia to help them improve inclusive education.”

Minarik will continue to support schools in Virginia as he moves forward.

“That expanded the center, and Dr. Altieri and I were asked to write the K12 guide for the Virginia Department of Education for all Virginia public schools, and we did that together. We’re slowly growing, and we continue to help support Virginia public schools.”