Nate Sparks

Contributing Faculty
Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences
M.S. Education (MSEd)

Dr. Nathan Sparks has earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and Master of Education in Special Education and a Doctorate in Education. He also holds a Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies in Organizational Leadership. He has been trained as an Assistive Technology Specialist and worked as an educational leader, public school teacher, and college instructor for 24 years. Dr. Sparks served five years as the State level coordinator for alternate and alternative testing for the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Education. His current position for the last 13 years has been as the Education Director for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systems in Richmond Virginia. Dr. Sparks has been an instructor with Walden University teaching courses in Special Education for the past 14 years. Dr. Sparks areas of research interest include educational evaluation and assessment of students with complex medical needs, virtual reality content delivery, and assistive technology implementation. He has taught courses covering special education, legal aspects, assistive technology, and learning disabilities. Dr. Sparks has received recognition from the Virginia Board of Education for outstanding contributions in the design and development of Virginia’s Alternate Assessment Program. He has been honored by the Virginia Association of Test Directors and was honored by the Virginia Department of Education, State Operated Programs for Outstanding Contributions to State Operated Programs. Dr. Sparks is a published author and speaker and was invited to speak at the Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress in Manchester England in 2000. Dr. Sparks has developed a Student Data Management System used by several State agencies to manage and track student performance in Hospital and Mental Health settings.

Courses Taught

EDUC 6610 - Teacher as Professional

EDUC 6784 - Adapting Instruction Using Evidence-Based Strategies

EDUC 6640 - Designing Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

EDUC 6723 - Advanced Instructional Strategies


EdD, Regent University

MEd, Regent University

BS, Liberty University

Public Service

Hospital Education Program Fundraising, Organizer - Gloucester

WXGM Christmas Wishes Concert, Organizer - Gloucester

WXGM Driveway Christmas Party, Participant - Gloucester

American Cancer Society, Volunteer - Gloucester

Awards / Honors

Resolution of Appreciation, Virginia Board of Education, 2002

Certificate of Achievement, Newport News Special Education Advisory Committee, 2001

Disney American Teacher Award Nominee, Disney Learning Partnership, 2001

Certificate of Appreciation, Virginia Department of Education, 2000

Excellence in Assessment Award, Virginia Association of Test Directors, 2006


Sparks, N. M. (2007). Disability status bias considerations in a portfolio alternate assessment program.


Sparks, N. M. (2005). Assessment Options for Students with Disabilities. Virginia Department of Education

Sparks, N. M. (2015). Instructing Students with Significant Cognitive Impairments. Virginia Department of Education

Sparks, N. M. (2014). Social and Emotional Learning Made Simple. Virginia Department of Education

Sparks, N. M. (2015). The Impact of Persistent Pain on Working Memory. Virginia Department of Education

Sparks, N. M. (2000). Assistive Technology Assessment Tools. University of Manchester

Sparks, N. M. (2001). Providing Access to Classroom Content via the Internet for Homebound Students with Severe Disabilities. Milwaukee Public Schools