Deborah Rooks-Ellis

Deborah Rooks-Ellis

Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education

Phone: 843-349-6983 Email: Office Hours:

Office Hours: By appointment.



Deborah Rooks-Ellis joined Coastal Carolina University in 2022 as an associate professor of early childhood education. Rooks-Ellis has worked primarily in the early childhood field as an educator, a teacher of the visually impaired, and as a professional development provider. Due to these experiences, her professional interests and research focus on developmentally appropriate experiences for young children and their families who are participating in early childhood services and systems. She examines pre-service preparation, professional development and teacher well-being through qualitative and mixed methods research. She has conducted studies examining early interventionists' use of strategies to support families experiencing vulnerable circumstances, teacher well-being, and the language used to describe families, including implicit biases. Deborah is a technical assistant with the federally funded Early Childhood Personnel Center and supports states to implement comprehensive systems of personnel development and higher education programs to implement professional standards. Rooks-Ellis is active in professional organizations, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Division of Early Childhood.

Deborah Rooks-Ellis, Ph.D., and Rhonda Miller, Ph.D. received a five-year grant, totaling nearly $1.25 million, for a teacher preparation project to prepare early childhood and special education teachers for the workforce. Learn more about Project BICYCLES.

Research Interests

Teacher education, family-school partnerships, and how instructional strategies are implemented within the complexities of classrooms.

Teaching Areas

Child development, early childhood curriculum, educational professionalism and ethics.

Recent Publications

Spence, C. M., Rooks-Ellis, D. L., Brown Ruiz, A., Fish, L. A., Jones-Banahan, B., O’Grady C.E., & Sulinski, E. (2023). How early interventionists support families experiencing vulnerable circumstances: A closer look at family-centered practice. Children and Youth Services Review, 144-155.

Howorth, S., Rooks-Ellis, D. L., Jones, B., & Sulinski., E. (2023). Effect of PEERS® class on conversational skills of adults with autism in college. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disabilities, 35(4), 273-288.

Rooks-Ellis, D.L. & Achey, N. (2023). Sexuality education for parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In B. Taverner (Ed.), Sex education research: A look between the sheets.

Interesting Facts

Deborah enjoys spending time outside with her family camping at state and national parks, exploring hiking trails and walking and playing at the beach. She is a Phish fan and can often be spotted wearing donut socks.