Amanda S.  Hilsmier
Orlean Beeson School of Education
Teacher Education
311 Orlean Bullard Beeson Hall

Mandy Hilsmier, PhD, has served as a professor of special education at Samford since fall 2004. Prior to coming to Samford, she taught special education and worked in the central office as a school psychometrist and learning specialist in Jackson, Miss. Her areas of research focus on middle and high school students with reading and behavioral challenges, assessment and evaluation of students with disabilities, managing challenging behavior in the classroom, functional behavioral assessment, the transition of students with autism into the higher education environment, and ways to train teachers how to use function-based thinking to improve individual student behavior. 

Dr. Hilsmier teaches overview of special education, child development, managing challenging behavior, special education assessment, and evidence-based methods of special education instruction at the graduate and undergraduate level. Dr. Hilsmier also works closely with Jefferson County Schools and JBS Department of Mental Health to offer a summer reading program for at-risk students called Pathway to Graduation in the school of Education on Samford’s campus every summer. She also works with Mountain Brook and Homewood City Schools on the Turning Points program for students with disabilities on Samford’s campus.

Degrees and Certifications

  • PhD Emotional Behavior Disabilities/High Incidence Disabilities, Vanderbilt University
  • MSE Mild/Moderate Special Education/School Psychometry, Mississippi College
  • BA Specific Learning Disabilities, Mercer University


  • managing challenging behavior
  • special education assessment
  • special education
  • child development


  • Hilsmier A. S., Wehby, J. H., & Falk, K. B. (in review). Antecedent and consequence-based fluency interventions for middle school students with emotional and  behavioral disorders. Exceptionality.
  • Hilsmier, A.S., Milstead, R., & Wirt, S. (in press). The effects of an intensive summer reading program on the academic and behavioral performance of at-risk middle school students. In revision at SRATE Journal.
  • Hilsmier, A.S., Wood, P.F., Carson, C., Dutton, K., & Johnson, J.E. (2013). Function-based thinking: Teacher experiences in the secondary classroom. Educational Collaborative, 3.
  • Cutrera, M.J., Hilsmier, A.S., & Owusu-Ansah, A. (2013). Current practices in multicultural education: Curriculum reform in the elementary classroom. Educational Collaborative, 3.
  • Bell, C. C., Hilsmier, A.S., Finn, D.M., & Stone, G. A. (2013). The impact of  response to intervention on minority and non-minority special education referrals in a K–5 setting. Educational Collaborative, 3.


  • Hilsmier, A. S. & Finn, D. M. (2015, April). Training Teachers on Writing IEPs Using Collaborative Groups. International Council for Exceptional Children Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Hilsmier, A.S. & Christian, N.B. (2015, April). Function-Based Thinking in the Secondary Classroom. International Council for Exceptional Children Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Hilsmier, A.S. (2014, October). Pathway to Graduation: The Importance of Reading Intervention on Behavior and Future Outcomes. Samford University Shop Talk, Birmingham, AL.
  • Hilsmier, A.S. (2014, June). Function-Based Thinking: Ways to Reflect on and Manage Individualized Challenging Behaviors in the Classroom. Samford Summer Teacher Education Conference, Birmingham, AL.
  • Hilsmier, A. S. (2014, March). Pathway to Graduation: A Pilot Summer Reading Program for Struggling Readers. Transition Conference, Auburn, AL