Dr. Joan Spencer-Ernandez is Head of the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE) and a Lecturer in Special Education in the School of Education. She spent seven years as the Testing and Measurement Specialist in The Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Teacher Training (CCETT), UWI where she developed the first regional test of reading standards administered to students in Grades 1 to 3 in eight Caribbean countries. The test was based on a common set of standards published in The Caribbean Standards for Reading and Writing (2003), also developed by her. Dr. Spencer-Ernandez served as the Executive Director of The Learning Centre, Jamaica Association for Children with Learning Disabilities. She is a trained teacher who holds a B.Sc. Degree (Hons.) in Varying Exceptionalities and a Masters degree in Reading and Learning Disabilities from Teachers’ College, Columbia University, New York; and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of the West Indies, Mona.
In addition to teaching in Jamaica and the USA, Dr. Spencer-Ernandez has worked as Special Educator/Psychometrician at the Mico CARE Centre, and as a Learning and Behaviour Specialist in Grand Cayman. She also served as Executive Director of The Learning Centre, Jamaica Association for Children with Learning Disabilities. As a passionate advocate for children with exceptional needs, Dr. Spencer-Ernandez has been a past President of the Jamaica Association for the Gifted and Talented and a Member of the Task force for the Education of the Gifted and Talented (1990) and the National Task Force on Educational Reform (2004).
She is the founder of the School of Education Centre for the Assessment and Treatment of Exceptionalities (SOECATE) which is established at the UWI and offers assessment services, intervention programme development and in-service teacher training. Dr. Spencer-Ernandez is currently the Chairman of the Board for the Trench Town Polytechnic College and from 2012–2014 served as the Chairman of the Board for the Caribbean Maritime Institute.