Douglas H. Clements, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning
Douglas H. Clements is a Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning; Executive Director, Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy; and Professor at the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. He was previously a SUNY Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Buffalo, SUNY. Previously a preschool and kindergarten teacher, his present research interests are in the areas of the learning and teaching of early mathematics and computer applications. He has published over 100 research studies, 8 books, 50 chapters, and 250 additional publications. His latest books detail research-based learning trajectories in early mathematics education: Early childhood mathematics education research: Learning trajectories for young children and a companion book, Learning and teaching early math: The learning trajectories approach (Routledge). Dr. Clements has directed 20 projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Dept. of Educations, Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Currently, Dr. Clements is Principal Investigator on two large-scale randomized cluster trial projects (IES). He is also working with colleagues to study and refine learning trajectories in measurement (NSF). Dr. Clements was a member of President Bush's National Math Advisory Panel, convened to advise the administration on the best use of scientifically based research to advance the teaching and learning of mathematics and coauthor of the panel's report. He was also a member of the National Research Council's Committee on Early Mathematics and co-author of their report. He is one of the authors of NCTM's Principles and Standards in School Mathematics and Curriculum Focal Points. Dr. Clements teaches courses on early childhood mathematics, early childhood educational technology, and the cognitive foundations of early childhood education. In addition, he works with over 350 teachers in three current projects that include professional development and collaborative research.
Julie Sarama, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Technology
Julie Sarama is the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Technology and Professor at the University of Denver. She was previously a Professor of Mathematics Education at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). She conducts research on young children's development of mathematical concepts and competencies, implementation and scale-up of educational reform, professional development models and their influence on student learning, and implementation and effects of her own software environments in mathematics classrooms, published in more than 50 refereed articles, 4 books, 30 chapters, and 60 additional publications. She has been Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on five projects funded by the National Science Foundation, including Building Blocks—Foundations for Mathematical Thinking, Pre-kindergarten to Grade 2: Research-based Materials Development and Planning for Professional Development in Pre-School Mathematics: Meeting the Challenge of Standards 2000. She is co-directing two large-scale studies funded by the U.S. Education Department's Institute of Educational Studies (IES). The first is a Phase II project, Scaling Up TRIAD: Teaching Early Mathematics for Understanding with Trajectories and Technologies was just awarded by the IES. The second is Increasing the Efficacy of an Early Mathematics Curriculum with Scaffolding Designed to Promote Self-Regulation. Sarama was previously the lead co-PI at the Buffalo site on another IES-funded project, A Longitudinal study of the Effects of a Pre-Kindergarten Mathematics Curriculum on Low-Income Children's Mathematical Knowledge (IES). This is one of seven national projects conducted simultaneously at the local and national levels (combined data) as part of the IES's Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research project. Dr. Sarama has taught secondary mathematics and computer science, gifted math at the middle school level, preschool and kindergarten mathematics enrichment classes, and mathematics methods and content courses for elementary to secondary teachers. She designed and programmed over 50 published computer programs, including her version of Logo and Logo-based software activities (Turtle Math, which was awarded Technology & Learning Software of the Year award, 1995, in the category "Math").
Richard Kitchen, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Urban Education
Prior to joining the MCE faculty in the fall of 2012, Dr. Kitchen was a professor of leadership in mathematics education at the University of New Mexico (UNM) where he held a dual position in the Educational Leadership degree program and the Department of Mathematics & Statistics. At UNM, Dr. Kitchen was the co-Principal Investigator of the Center for the Mathematics Education of Latinos/as (CEMELA) that was funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF), Center for Learning and Teaching. He was also the co-Principal Investigator of the Hewlett-Packard Company funded High-Achieving Schools Initiative. He is the co-editor of three books, initiated and served as a co-editor of the TODOS: Mathematics for All Research Monograph, and has worked nationally and internationally with numerous schools. Dr. Kitchen graduated from Denver East High School, started his teaching career in the Denver Public Schools, and B.F. Kitchen Elementary in Loveland, Colorado is named after his grandfather.
Research interests: Diversity and Equity in Mathematics Education, School Reform at Urban Schools that Serve the Poor, Formative Assessment of English Language Learners, History of Education in the U.S.
Graduate Research Assistants
Heather Blizzard is a second year PhD student in the Research Methods and Statistics program. She is interested in College Access, First Generation College Students, Assessment, and Data Analysis. At the Kennedy Institute, Heather analyzes data and assesses preschool children. Currently, Heather is working on the Technology-enhanced, Research-based, Instruction, Assessment, and professional Development (TRIAD) project.
This is Courtney’s first year in the Ed.D. Curriculum and Instruction Program and she is currently working on the Evaluating the Efficacy of Learning Trajectories in Early Mathematics project. She has been teaching in an array of schools and grade levels over the past twelve years, including five years abroad: two years in Tokyo, Japan and three years in Caracas, Venezuela. Courtney holds a Masters of Science in Literacy and Reading from Fordham University. She is interested in collaborating with other professionals in education to develop curriculum that drives deep and divergent thinking and problem solving.
Laura Dietert is a Graduate Research Assistant for the Kennedy Institute, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Denver, Morgridge College of Education. She is focusing on the learning, teaching, and assessment of mathematics curriculum in her studies. Laura came to DU with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and a M.Ed. in Mathematics from Texas State University. Laura taught middle and high school mathematics in a large urban school for several years before becoming an instructional coach for math and science teachers. At the Kennedy Institute, she is a coach for pre-k teachers implementing the interdisciplinary Connect4Learning curriculum, collects data and from these actions, and suggests revisions to the curriculum.
Ron Dolgin is a second year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Denver. His research focuses on group psychotherapy, training of group therapy facilitators, and physiological measures of group development and cohesion. His other interests include health psychology and body-centered psychotherapy. At the Kennedy Institute, Ron currently works on the CREMAT Project. Specifically, Ron is involved in field testing potential assessments with students from pre-K to 3rd grade. Ron previously assisted on the EMERGE grant, through the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy, which evaluated behaviors of professional development coaches for teachers recruited for the study. His research group recently presented their work, entitled: “School Psychologists as Coaches/Consultants in Curriculum Implementation,” at the 2014 Fall Conference for the Colorado Society of School Psychologists.
John GanzarJohn Ganzar is a second year Ed.D student. He also teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) to adult language learners. John's research is focused on Higher Education Policy and Law in addition to Language Acquisition theories and frameworks to aid his instructional strategies and learning outcomes. As a Denver native, he enjoys riding his bike to class and work. At the Marsico Institute, he is currently working on the Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories (LT2) project to update the Building Blocks Learning Trajectories (BBLT), an existing web application that constitutes a research-based teacher preparation and professional development tool for educators who teach young children mathematics.
Aaron Hudyma is a fourth year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program. His clinical experience includes college counseling centers, forensic populations, and neuropsychological assessment with children and adolescents. His main areas of research are college student mental health and well-being, career decision making, and mindfulness and acceptance based therapies. Aaron is currently working for the Kennedy Institute on Creating Better, Smarter Assessments: The CREMAT Project. To support this work he conducts field interviews in elementary schools and prepares data for analysis.
Kayanne KlipkaKayanne Klipka is a first-year Master’s candidate in the Library and Information Sciences program. Before starting her studies at the University of Denver, she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Seattle Pacific University and worked within the education and non-profit sectors. Kayanne is assisting with the Evaluating the Efficacy of Learning Trajectories in Early Mathematics grant in the Kennedy Institute. Her work at Kennedy mostly consists of fieldwork within early childhood education classrooms
Ksenia Kuskova-Burns is a Ph.D. candidate in the Research Methods and Statistics degree program at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education. She serves as a data analyst for Kennedy Institute working on projects that include Connect4Learning (C4L) and the Technology-enhanced, Research-based, Instruction, Assessment, and professional Development (TRIAD). She is currently applying her skills to collaborate on journal articles related to her research on mathematics learning. Previously, Ms. Kuskova-Burns has worked on a grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation conducting statistical analyses to inform student math outcomes in middle schools and high schools. She has experience in quantitative and qualitative methods that include hierarchical linear modeling, multiple regression, and field interviews. Her interests include using advanced research methods in program evaluation, statistics, and survey design.
Theresa "Trez" MalatestaTrez Malatesta is a first year graduate student in the Higher Education program. She completed her undergrad at Penn State with a B.A. in Telecommunications. Trez gained her skills from working with media production and radio while attending Penn State. She also was a student leader by being involved in student government, creating diverse organizations and programs on her campus and participating in writing policies to update Pennsylvania's anti-bullying laws. Along with being passionate about telecommunications and social media, Trez is also passionate about student leadership, inclusive excellence, policy and student affairs. Trez is the Graduate Student Research Administrator of Marketing and Web for the Marsico Institute and the Kennedy Institute. She helps to maintain and further develop both Marsico and Kennedy Institutes' website, adding new content while expanding Marsico and Kennedy's social media presence.
Tara Meister, a second-year PhD candidate in the Curriculum and Instruction program, supports the Kennedy Institute’s Connect4Learning: Early Childhood Education in the Context of Mathematics, Science, and Literacy, an inquiry-based, integrated preschool curriculum. She has also participated in work with New York City’s Pre-K For All implementation of the Building Blocks curriculum and has supported professional development in the area of early childhood math. Tara taught secondary English in Denver-area schools for 7 years and obtained a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction through the Boettcher Teachers’ Program. During her time as a teacher, Tara worked to implement culturally responsive pedagogy, develop curricula, and reflect on her practice and the role of her and her students’ identities. She has taught courses in DU's Teacher Education Program on teaching English Language Learners and has worked on a research project for effective teacher evaluation and equitable teaching practices. She previously coached high school sports, and seeks to research and utilize lessons from coaching in education. Tara’s research interests include educational equity, discourse, critical race theory, identity development, and culturally responsive pedagogy.
Brianna MestasBrianna Mestas is a first-year PhD candidate in the Curriculum and Instruction program. Brianna received her BA in Ethnic Studies from CU Boulder and her MA in Instruction and Curriculum with a focus in Urban Education with the Boettcher Teacher Program at DU. She taught ESL, Kindergarten, 1st, and 4th grade in Title I schools for five years in the Denver Metro area, and spent the last two years teaching 3rd grade overseas at the International School of Panama. Brianna is passionate about working with linguistically and culturally diverse students and families. As a GRA with the Marsico Institute, Brianna will be working on the Evaluating the Efficacy of Learning Trajectories in Early Mathematics project.
Bruce G. Miller is a first-year Doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Denver. He has his Colorado Teaching Certificate and is currently interested in teaching at
the University level. Bruce has a BA from University of Northern Colorado and a MA from Lesley University in Massachusetts. He has been a public school teacher for over thirty-one years with: Grand County in Utah, Adams County 50 in Denver, and Jefferson County also in Denver. Bruce's Assistantship is with the Evaluating the Efficacy of Learning Trajectories in Early Mathematics Project. He plans to learn the newest techniques and advancements in the Educational field so he can pass these on to current and future teachers.
Emma Mooso is just beginning her journey in the Higher Education program at University of Denver. She is interested in student affairs and the aspects of higher education that shape a student’s experience outside of the classroom. Emma is assisting with the new Evaluating the Efficacy of Learning Trajectories in Early Mathematics research project.
Jessica Morganfield is a first-year Research Methods and Statistics Master’s student. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Communication with a concentration in Rhetorical Theory from the University of Denver. She is working on the Evaluating the Efficacy of Learning Trajectories in Early Mathematics project. Working on the Kennedy Institute project is a valuable opportunity that will enable Jessica to put the theories and concepts from the RMS program into practice.
Becky Myrold is a first year graduate student in the Library and Information Science program. Past focus areas have included youth physical activity and the sustainability of that activity, bike safety programs, and the prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral challenges within the population. To this end she completed her first master’s degree in prevention science from Washington State University with a thesis evaluating a local bike safety program for young children. Her current focus is to explore the information industry to better allow access to all populations in a variety of settings. At the Marsico Institute, she is currently working on the Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories (LT2) project to update the Building Blocks Learning Trajectories (BBLT), an existing web application that constitutes a research-based teacher preparation and professional development tool for educators who teach young children mathematics.
Aleis Pugia is a first year M.A. student in the Counseling Psychology program. She is interested in working with at-risk children and families and providing greater access to multicultural therapy for diverse, low income families. Aleis worked in education for five years prior to coming to DU, teaching middle school and coaching first and second year teachers. She also has her M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Arizona State University. At the Marsico Institute, she is currently working on the Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories (LT2) project to update the Building Blocks Learning Trajectories (BBLT), an existing web application that constitutes a research-based teacher preparation and professional development tool for educators who teach young children mathematics. To support this work, she uses her experience in education to use technology to document the use of the learning trajectories for teachers and parents.
Dan Riordan, Jr.
Dan is a first year Ed.D. student in the Curriculum and Instruction program. Before enrolling at DU, he taught middle school and high school English in Minnesota and Wisconsin. During his teaching career, he has also been a boys' and girls' high school basketball coach. He has a BA in English from Saint Mary's University and an MST from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His research interests include studying how teachers cope with stress as well as the effectiveness of novice teacher support and induction programs. At the Kennedy Institute, he is currently working on the Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories (LT2) project to update the Building Blocks Learning Trajectories (BBLT) website.
Marisa Simoni is a first year Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) candidate in the Child, Family, and School Psychology program with a concentration in Early Childhood. Marisa has previously worked with school psychologists in the Wyoming School District, where her work in assessment and data analysis focused on early childhood and middle school students. Her interests involve working with students who have autism spectrum disorder, students with behavior/emotional impairments, and underprivileged populations, specifically in early education. Marisa is currently working on the Development and Research in Early Mathematics and Education (DREME) Network grant. She works on projects focused on developing early childhood activities that support the development of math and executive function, as well as those examining the relationship between district and schools efforts to support continuity and coherence of early learning opportunities and student experiences related to mathematics.
Kristine Zytka is a first-year Doctoral candidate in the Child, Family, and School Psychology PhD Pathways program at the University of Denver. She recently earned an Education Specialist degree in School Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst upon completion of a 10-month School Psychology internship in a Connecticut school district. While completing this internship Kristine also spent three months working as a temporary School Psychologist for one elementary school and the district preschool program. Some of Kristine’s interests include data-based decision making, social-emotional knowledge in early childhood, and the use of cognitive behavioral strategies for addressing anger in children. At the Kennedy Institute, Kristine is assisting with an IES-funded project, “Evaluating the Efficacy of Learning Trajectories in Early Mathematics”. The proposed project will evaluate the use of learning trajectories with training experiments in preschool classrooms.