Dr. Gunsalus grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and went to college at Asbury College. While at Asbury, she majored in Physical Education and played intercollegiate field hockey. After graduating, she was hired to teach in a special education class (a junior high class for students with emotional/behavioral disabilities) in Lexington, Kentucky. God was leading her in that new classroom before she was even aware of where his plan would take her. It was there in her first job in Lexington that her passion for teaching “the least of these” was in progress. Fayette County (the school system that she was teaching for in Lexington) sent her to the University of Kentucky to get certified for teaching students with mild disabilities. It was also there that she met her husband more than 20 years ago. Then they relocated to Alexandria, Virginia, where she took a job in Fairfax County as a junior high resource teacher, teaching students with learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities, communication disabilities and emotional disabilities.
They then moved to Anderson, Indiana. It was there that she finished her Master of Education at Ball State University, and continued to complete her Ed.D. in Special Education, with a cognate of Teacher Education in Secondary Education. The focus of her dissertation was using choice as a means to keep students with mild disabilities on task.
Exploring strategies for preparing first-year teachers to understand and integrate the demands of No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004. It is particularly interesting to her to look at points of conflict and confluence between these two laws and their conflicting ideals. Other areas of research and scholarship that interest her are differentiated instruction and issues of diverse student populations.