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.
Douglas W. Van Dine, Project Director
Douglas W. Van Dine has worked for 18 years in public education, 15 as a middle and high school mathematics teacher and 3 as a building administrator. He recently completed his dissertation on the development and evaluation of a learning trajectory for volume measurement in young children. Dr. Van Dine is currently on staff at the University of Denver in the role of Project Director for two, NSF-funded projects and oversees the work of approximately 20 Graduate Research Assistants. Previously, he served three years as project director at the University at Buffalo, SUNY for an NSF-funded longitudinal study of learning trajectories for length, area, and volume measurement. He has presented at numerous national conferences on learning trajectories for geometric measurement and has provided professional development for teachers on mathematics learning trajectories to primary and elementary teachers and administrators across the country, including Portland (ME), Des Moines (IA), Diboll (TX), Denver (CO), Buffalo (NY), and New York (NY).
Sandy Burke, Office Administrator
Sandy Burke graduated from the University of Denver in 2001 and received a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Literacy. She is endorsed in Elementary Education K-6, and during the last 11 years taught, co-taught, and worked as a para-professional in a variety of learning environments--ranging from a Head Start, Play-Based Pre-School to a private International Baccalaureate (IB) school for gifted children. Her experiences, in both public and private education, have been amazing; however, at this point in her career she transitioned out of the classroom to enter into a more administrative role, while still being actively involved in the educational community. Sandy is the Office Administrator for the Kennedy Institute. In this role, she provides administrative support to the directors, staff, and students. Sandy is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the office, which include but are not limited to the following: updating manuals, processing direct pays, managing multiple p-cards, ordering technology, print purchases, and troubleshooting issues surrounding technology. Her passion for education makes this an ideal working environment, as she is a part of supporting the research that identifies a cost-effective approach for promoting and sustaining the educational success of vulnerable children from early childhood through post-secondary education.
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.
Danielle Brown is a senior at the University of Denver pursuing a degree in Art History and Italian. She formerly worked as a teacher's assistant at the Fisher Early Learning Center. She has recently completed the first summer of Assistants to Infancy training at The Montessori Institute in Denver. In addition, Danielle is also an aspiring opera singer and, before majoring in Art History and Italian, attended the Lamont School of Music for Vocal Performance. At the Marsico Institute, Danielle will be concentrating on the construction of Connect 4 Learning (C4L) materials and assisting in other daily tasks.
Lilian Chimuma received a B.S. in Statistics from the University of Nairobi, Kenya and an MAT in Integrated Mathematics from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. As a second-year PhD student in Research Methods and Statistics, Lilian hopes to utilize her expertise and training to contribute to research and evaluation using mixed methods in education, in the U.S., in East and Central Africa, and in other developing countries with the main aim of improving the learning and teaching of mathematics in relation to the STEM field and literacy in K-12 classrooms. Besides working with students from diverse backgrounds, both in Kenya and the U.S., Lilian student taught both High School and Middle School Mathematics in two Urban School Districts in Ohio. She further tutored student athletes from diverse backgrounds in various mathematics subjects at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. At the Marsico Institute, Lilian worked on a video coding project aimed at revising the Building Blocks Learning Trajectories Website on the Heising-Simons project. She is currently working on the Kennedy Institute’s Children’s Measurement project. Lilian has reviewed articles for the Northern Rocky Mountain Educational Research Association (NRMERA) 2015 Conference.
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.
Camille Driver is a recent graduate from The University of Alabama. She received her B.S. in human development and her B.A. in public relations. During her undergraduate career, Camille worked in the Community Service Center as the student director for one year and as an assistant student director for two years. In these leadership roles, she implemented large-scale events as well as mentored elementary children in school settings. Camille is a first-year Educational Specialist candidate in the Child, Family, and School Psychology program with a concentration in Early Childhood. She is interested in early intervention strategies, diagnosing, and mental health education and inequality. Camille is working on the Kennedy Institute’s Children’s Measurement grant.
John 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.
Paul Grimsley is a second-year doctoral candidate Counseling Psychology program. He has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and is a Licensed Addictions Counselor. Paul is interested in working with veterans, at-risk youth, and children with neurodevelopment disorders. At the Kennedy Institute, Paul is assisting with the Creating Better, Smarter Assessments: The CREMAT Project. His experience with psychological and cognitive assessments supports his work doing field testing with elementary school students.
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 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.
Kim MahovskyKim Mahovsky is currently pursuing her educational doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on mathematics education. She is also the director of the Comprehensive Research-Based Early Math Ability Test (CREMAT) project, under the supervision of Douglas Clements and Julie Sarama. Previously, a 2nd and 3rd grade teacher, for 10 years in Georgia and Virginia, she has always had a passion for math education for those students pursuing a degree in elementary education. The research conducted under the CREMAT project allows Kim to profile children’s understanding of early mathematical ideas, including counting, arithmetic, measurement, geometry, and algebraic thinking. As project director, Kim is in charge of collaboration, revision, and integration of the work and results of the three main groups working on the project. She has submitted publications to AACT and looks forward to presenting at several conferences in the future around her research with CREMAT.
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.
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.
Anne van Gondelle
Anne van Grondelle is a second year Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) candidate in the Child, Family, and School Psychology program with a concentration in Early Childhood. Anne received a M.S. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. in Economics from Wellesley College. Her interests include: the development of executive function skills in both early childhood and adolescence, the relationship between mental health and executive function, inclusion models for individuals with a disability, and school-family partnering that is supportive of students who have experienced chronic life stress. Prior to pursing her degree at the University of Denver, Anne worked in research labs studying protective and risk factors for the development of child psychopathology such as temperament, empathy, and trauma. She also worked in inclusive programming through the Madison, WI school district. At the Marsico Institute, Anne is assisting on projects through the Development and Research in Early Mathematics and Education (DREME) Network, with a focus on early childhood instructional activities that support the development of mathematics and executive functions, and continuity between early childhood and early elementary learning experiences.
Gabrielle Witherill is a second year Educational Specialist candidate in the Child, Family, and School Psychology program with a concentration in Early Childhood. Gabrielle is interested in working with students and families of diverse cultural backgrounds within the early childhood setting, specifically about the importance of mental health. Her other interest include working and supporting students and families of those who have experienced trauma. As a Graduate Research Assistant, Gabrielle has been involved in preschool assessment, materials management, and data analysis.
Nanxi is a third year M.A. candidate in Counseling Psychology program. Her research interests are children’s social-emotional development and intervention methods. At Kennedy Institute, Nanxi is assisting with the Children’s Measurement Project to better understanding the learning trajectories from pre-K to middle school.
Keaton Zucker is a fourth year Counseling Psychology doctoral candidate. She has clinical experience providing therapy to diverse adolescent and adult populations at college counseling and community mental health centers, and neuropsychological assessment with children and adolescents. Keaton’s research interests include the impact of social class on career development and psychological processes, the impact of relationships on athletic satisfaction and performance, college-to-career transition, and suicide prevention. She has presented some of these topics at national conferences. At the Kennedy Institute, Keaton works on the CREMAT grant and is responsible for field testing math assessments to elementary school students, and assisting with data entry and data video verification.
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.