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Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Implementation
Home > About Loui Lord Nelson, Ph.D.

About Loui Lord Nelson, Ph.D.

Loui Lord Nelson

Loui began her career in education in 1991 as a special education assistant. Soon after she moved into a full-time position as an 8th grade collaborative teacher. While completing her Masters, though, Loui decided she wanted to have an impact at the systems level and decided to leave the classroom for the University of Kansas’ special education doctoral program. From there, she worked in the post-secondary setting, taking stock of what students were experiencing after graduation. When the door opened for her to step back into K-12 education in 2008, she put her passion of ensuring ALL students are prepared for the post-secondary world into action.

From 2008 until 2012, Loui worked in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC) as their UDL Coordinator. This is believed to be the first district in the United States of America and globally to identify a point person to support teachers, administrators, and district leaders in their understanding of and implementation of UDL. In that role, Loui provided direct support, designed tools, created workshops, and helped design the district’s personnel evaluation system which included UDL implementation for 50% of its scoring.

In 2012, Loui was awarded a CAST/Boston College post-doctoral fellowship. These fellowships were a rare opportunity for two people each year to work alongside the CAST staff, some of the founders, and other long-time UDL thought leaders. It was during her post-doc that she wrote Design and Deliver: Planning and Teaching Using Universal Design for Learning. The book has continued to be a best seller. It has been translated into Dutch and Korean.

Since then, Loui’s work has ranged from delivering keynotes and workshops to working with planning teams to design and structure multi-year, multi-dimensional implementation contracts. No matter the work, she is thrilled every time she works alongside educators as they consider how UDL will fit with and guide how they deliver supports to all learners. This includes delivery in the classroom, in curriculum design meetings, during leadership team meetings, for board presentations and considering how UDL can impact a country’s entire educational system.

Essential Elements – Universal Design for Learning


“Dr. Loui Lord Nelson has worked with Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC) for over ten years planning, training staff and implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as the district’s framework for all curriculum and instruction for all students. Dr. Nelson has been instrumental in the implementation and continued success of the UDL framework in BCSC through her insightful feedback and support provided both on-site and virtually. She has an understanding of not only our district culture, but the culture and needs of each of our 18 buildings as she continues to support our learning about UDL. Without Dr. Nelson, BCSC would not be where we are today. Her support and knowledge have been invaluable to our district’s success.”

Dr. George Van Horn, Director of Special Education, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation

“Loui Lord Nelson has been instrumental in guiding our district’s efforts to integrate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as our District’s Framework. She has established strong relationships with teachers and administration which has allowed for teachers to be risk-takers. These teachers now have a hunger to dive deeper into UDL. Loui not only engages staff but fosters their leadership abilities as they continue to advocate for UDL within their respective buildings. We always look forward to Loui’s energy and passion that comes through in her efforts to support and scale UDL!”

Eric Farley, Director of Exceptional Needs Students, Frankfort Community Schools