Dr. Neal Nghia Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education at Florida Atlantic University. He has taught at several universities and public schools in Utah, Missouri, Nevada, and Florida.

Dr. Nguyen grew up in Saigon, Vietnam. After several failed attempts escaping the country by fishing boats, his family had successfully sought the long overdue freedom in the United States when he was sixteen years old. As years passed, before working as a teacher educator in Higher Education, he has taught seven years at several public elementary schools in Nevada and Florida.

He chose early childhood education as his focus because he believes children should be taught, modeled, and practiced the foundational skills across the five developmental domains and the need to embrace and cultivate the early seeds of compassion with young children. Moreover, early education was a luxury for him growing up during the Vietnam war era due to the hardships that his family has endured under the new regime after the fall of Saigon in 1975.

In 2007, Dr. Nguyen was awarded “Teacher of the Year” at Thacker Elementary School of Osceola County School District, Kissimmee, Florida. In 2015, he received the “College of Education Faculty Professional Growth Award”. Additionally, he has also served as an Honors Faculty for the Jane Stephens Honors College at his previous institution in Missouri.

His research interests include early childhood education and development, early literacy skills acquisition, neuroscience and early learning, compassion science, and instructional and collaborative practices.

Dr. Nguyen will be enrolling as a part-time graduate student (starting fall 2022) in the traditional Master of Business Administration (MBA) program with an emphasis in Operations Management in the Graduate College of Business at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida.


  • Ph.D., Early Childhood Education/Special Education
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • M.S., Early Childhood Education/Special Education
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • B.S., Early Childhood Education
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Dr. Nguyen has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in typical and atypical child development, special education, early literacy, designing & implementing a blended curriculum for all young children, positive behavioral support interventions, teacher-parent collaborative practices, and assessment for all young children. Dr. Nguyen has been teaching classes at both campuses in Boca Raton and Davie since 2016.

Dr. Nguyen has published in peer-reviewed journals. Publications from his research interests have appeared in journals such as The Reading Teacher, The Reading Professor, The Educational Forum, Teaching Exceptional Children, Young Children, Kappa Delta Pi Record, & Early Child Development and Care.

He has presented various topics regarding early childhood education, compassion science, instructional and collaborative practices, and the reading skills of young children at national, state, and local conferences over the past decade. Additionally, he has been collaborating with local public schools, principals, and reading specialists in southern Florida to assist young children with or without special needs to enhance their reading abilities.

Dr. Nguyen has been a member of several professional organizations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), International Literacy Association (ILA), Professors of Literacy and Teacher Education (PLTE), and the Division for Early Childhood (DEC). Dr. Nguyen has also served as consulting editor and manuscript/book reviewer for a few peer-reviewed journals.

His interests include reading, writing, jogging, and sightseeing. He has interests in human and educational rights, educational laws for teacher educators, public school teachers, families, and young children. He also enjoys the annual road trips with his wife and daughter and classical music.

Dr. Nguyen is a published Vietnamese poet. He is also a freelance writer and a member of the Vietnamese Writers Abroad Pen Centre from 1997-2010 (an affiliate of P.E.N. International). He writes poetry, short stories, and political commentaries for several Vietnamese literary journals in the U.S. and Canada. In 1997, Lang Van published his first book (poem collections) in Vietnamese. He has also co-authored several Vietnamese books on political commentaries and poetry collections with other established Vietnamese writers and poets abroad from 2003-2008.

Nghia (Neal) Nguyen

Dr. Nghia (Neal) Nguyen

Associate Professor
Department of Special Education

Office Phone: 954-236-1288
Office Location: ES BC52 - 218
Campus: Davie