About Us

BilingualSpecialEd.com is a website developed to support educators working with bilingual students with educational challenges and disabilities.  We are a group of committed educators, researchers, and professionals interested in disseminating our work to support and improve the educational outcomes of students.  We publish, present, and develop practical tools that help educators and school leaders.

Bilingual Special Education was founded by Dr. Claudia Rinaldi in 2005 with the mission to disseminate evidence-based practices in the areas that integrate bilingualism, special education, and effective models of instruction. Claudia has been a teacher, researcher, and professor of special education. She is a published national expert on Learning Disabilities of English Language Learners and Response to Intervention (RTI) and Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) models. Claudia provides training and technical assistance and educational consultation for schools and districts.

Dr. Maria B Serpa, Professor Emerita of Education & TESOL Bilingual-Special Education at Lesley University, MA, USA, where she has served in several roles including Director of the Graduate Teacher Education Programs in Moderate Disabilities (Monolingual & Bilingual) for fifteen years. Her teaching career spans from elementary to college teaching and professional learning from K-12 to  Higher Education. Most of her academic research and practice has been focused on nondiscriminatory assessment  (bi)Literacy/dyslexia, UDL, and culturally and linguistically responsive IEPs. She earned a doctorate in Bilingual Special Education from Boston University MA USA and her dissertation research focused on Portuguese Reading and Assessment;  a Masters in Special Education and a second Bachelors in Elementary Education from UMass Boston. Her passion for facilitating effective and joyful learning for every learner with and without disabilities is guided by a growth mindset, the UDL framework and a commitment to equity. She is a proficient Bilingual Professional who loves music and spending time with friends and family

Sara Niño is an educator with 18 years of professional experience.  Currently, she is also a Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston in the Urban Education, Leadership, and Policy Studies Program. She is also an invited lecturer in the Teaching Bilingual/English Learners with Disabilities Graduate Certificate Program at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts.

Ms. Niño served as the English Learner (EL)/Special Education Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education where she supported districts across the Commonwealth in meeting the needs of bilingual English learners (ELs) with disabilities. In addition to this, she managed the development of state regulations and guidelines regarding English Learner Parent Advisory Councils and participated as a consultant in other initiatives related to parent engagement. Prior to serving at the state level, Ms. Niño was an experienced K-8 general and special educator for culturally and linguistically diverse students with mild to moderate disabilities. As a teacher-leader, she organized professional development in the areas of collaboration and co-teaching and created bilingual family engagement programs.

Ms. Niño is committed to ensuring that all individuals have equitable opportunities to access and engage in rigorous, high-quality learning experiences that activate agency and self-determination.