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Dr. Jessica Toste

Dr. Jessica Toste Headshot

Dr. Jessica Toste (she/her) is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin. She holds research affiliations with the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk and the Texas Center for Equity Promotion. Her program of research is focused on understanding how best to support students’ reading development. Her work investigates methods of intensifying interventions for students with persistent reading challenges and reading disabilities (RD), including (a) data-based instruction and (b) targeting psychosocial processes, such as motivation and self-determination. She is the principal investigator of research grants from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Read more about her research projects and publications.


Jess is an award-winning teacher. She was the recipient of the 2022 Dean's Distinguished Teaching Award and was named one of the 2017 “Texas 10,” nominated by UT alumni as a professor who inspired them during their time on the Forty Acres. She is current chair of the Provost's Teaching Fellows and has been a fellow since 2018. Read more about her teaching.

She recently completed her term on the Board of Directors for Disability Rights Texas (DRTx), including two years as Board Chair. DRTx is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities in the state of Texas. Jess has been involved locally and nationally with GLSEN since 2011, and currently serves on the National Board of Directors of GLSEN. She also serves on Advisory Board of the UT University Charter School System. Jess was awarded the 2022 Floyd G. Hudson Outstanding Service Award from the Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD). Learn more about Jess’ advocacy and leadership.

Jess is a proud alum of McGill University, where she completed her PhD in educational psychology in 2011 with Dr. Nancy Heath. She was further trained in reading intervention research as a Fulbright Scholar at the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) at Florida State University, and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. She worked for many years as an elementary teacher and reading specialist in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. 

dr. Toste

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