BeEtta Stoney, PhD, has dedicated more than 30 years to teaching others and improving the field of education as an administrator and associate professor at Kansas State University. Since 2021, she has been the school’s interim chief diversity and inclusion officer, overseeing institutional measures toward providing equity and access for all. Her interest in inclusive education was born from her experiences in high school sports. A competitive track and field athlete, Dr. Stoney was asked to help coach a visually impaired physical education classmate in hurdling. Despite her initial reservations about the challenge, the other student was eventually able to clear a hurdle, and she recognized that she found a great deal of satisfaction in helping others achieve their full potential.
Dr. Stoney attended the University of Texas, earning a bachelor’s degree in health and special education, and completed a master’s degree in kinesiology in 1985. She began her career teaching at the middle school level and spent three years working in public schools in the Corpus Christi area before joining the faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso as a physical education teacher and assistant coach for the school’s women’s basketball program. At the University of Texas, Dr. Stoney developed a reputation for her thorough and sensitive approach to coaching others, and her experiences with college athletes would come to later shape her approach to supporting pre-service teachers. She left the University of Texas at El Paso to become a physical education instructor at Texas A&M University, where she spent the next three years. She would eventually return to the University of Texas’ Austin campus as a teacher in the special education department while completing doctoral coursework.
In 1999, Dr. Stoney was awarded her doctorate in special education and multicultural education at the University of Texas. The same year, she accepted a faculty position at Kansas State University, where she remains an associate professor of education and faculty athletics representative in addition to her administrative duties as interim chief diversity and inclusion officer. Dr. Stoney works with teacher education candidates and pre-service teachers to prepare them for the realities of working in education and equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary for them to serve their future students. She is passionate about guiding pre-service teachers through the internship and licensure process and is motivated to help them reach their potential as educators by training each student as if they would be her own child’s teacher. As chief diversity and inclusion officer, Dr. Stoney draws on her background in special education and her varied experiences in public school and postsecondary classrooms to make a positive impact on accessibility and culture throughout the entire school, not just in her own classes or department.
Among the highlights of Dr. Stoney’s career is her work developing curriculum to help pre-service teachers build empathy and expand their perspectives in teaching students with disabilities. After learning that her class felt ill-equipped to meet the instructional needs of students with certain learning differences, she arranged a series of guest speakers and community partnerships with researchers, faculty, and parents of K-12 students with disabilities. She takes special pride in seeing her students build confidence in their abilities to provide high-quality instruction to their classes, regardless of student backgrounds, disabilities, or cultural differences.
In recognition of her work on behalf of all students, Dr. Stoney was presented with a Golden Nugget Award by the University of Texas College of Education. She is a member of the Riley County Law Board and No Stone Unturned and was recently inducted to the board of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. In the coming years, Dr. Stoney looks forward to continuing to make positive changes in the faculty and school culture at Kansas State University and hopes to return to a more direct role in special education, working with children or adult learners with special instructional needs.