Aaron Perzigian, Ph.D.

Director of Dual Ensorsement Programs and Inclusive Education Teacher Scholars, Professor


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Perzigian is a proud Armenian and professor of special education at Western Washington University. He is committed to equity and inclusion in education and the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in all facets of society. He teaches courses on culturally sustaining pedagogy in K-12 classrooms and methods of instruction for students with disabilities. He directs the Woodring Inclusive Education Teacher Scholars program (WIETS), which is a grant funded pathway to dual teaching endorsements for Kent and Highline school district employees. 

Prior to academia, Dr. Perzigian was an English teacher and special education teacher in residential treatment centers in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin.

His research examines the efficacy of alternative school environments (e.g., behavior reassignment programs) and ways in which social-emotional learning predicts academic performance for students with high-incidence disabilities. In his current project Dr. Perzigian is studying the impact of pre-service teacher service learning in local alternative high schools.

He is actively seeking collaborators in research within special education teacher preparation, social-emotional learning, and alternative schools as well as other opportunities related to strengthening the learning climates -and thereby educational trajectories- for all students.

Professionally, Dr. Perzigian is interested in the intersection of disability studies and special education, alternative education, and social justice in education. He proudly serves on the boards of Communities In Schools of Whatcom County, Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council of Whatcom County, and Whatcom Hills Waldorf School.

Feel free to contact me: aaron.perzigian@wwu.edu or (360) 650-4349

Recent publications:

Perzigian, A. B., & Braun, M. (in press). Discrepancies in school climate ratings between white and non-white high school students in one urban district. Journal of Education and Social Justice

Perzigian, A. B., & Braun, M. (2020). A comparison of school climate ratings in urban alternative and traditional high schools. Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 10, 351–365.

Perzigian, A. B. (2018). Social competence in urban alternative schools. Perspectives on Urban Education, 15, 2–19.

Wilkerson, K. L., Afacan, K., Perzigian, A. B., Courtright, M., & Lange, L. E. (2018). Alternative and traditional high school enrollment: An analysis of one urban district. The Journal of At-Risk Issues, 21, 13–21.

Hyatt, K. J., & Perzigian, A. B. (2017). Use of legally compliant IEPs for inclusive programming. TASH Connections, 48, 32–40.
Hyatt, K. J., & Perzigian, A. B. (2017). Endrew F. and an end to the “more than ‘de minimus’ standard.  TASH Connections, 48, 40–42.

Perzigian, A. B., Afacan, K., Justin, W., & Wilkerson, K. L. (2017). Characteristics of students in traditional versus alternative high schools:
A cross sectional analysis of enrollment in one urban district. Education and Urban Society, 49, 676–700.

Wilkerson, K. L., Afacan, K., Perzigian, A. B., Justin, W., & Lequia, J. (2016). Behavior-focused alternative schools: Impact on student outcomes. Behavioral Disorders, 41, 81–94.

Wilkerson, K. L., Yan, M., Perzigian, A. B., & Cakiroglu, O. (2016). Supplementary reading instruction in alternative high schools: A statewide survey of educator reported practices and barriers. The High School Journal, 99, 166–178.

Perzigian, A. B. (2015). Open circle: Social-emotional learning. In W. G. Scarlett (Ed.), Classroom management: An A-Z guide. (pp. 560–565). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Wilkerson, K. L., Perzigian, A. B., & Schurr, J. L. (2013). Promoting social skills in the inclusive classroom. New York, NY: Guilford Press.