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MTP Team

MTP Team
MyTeachingPartner was designed by an interdisciplinary team at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia. Faculty on the MTP team bring many years of experience across the domains of language development, early literacy, developmental psychology, special education, and instructional design/technology.
Principal Investigators
Dr. Robert Pianta, Developmental Psychology, Principal Investigator
Dr. Pianta is a professor of Clinical and School Psychology and holds the Novartis US Foundation Chair in Education. A former special education teacher, he is developmental, school, and clinical child psychologist whose work focuses on how chidren's experiences at home and in school affect their development. He is particularly interested in how relationships with teachers and parents, as well as classroom quality, can help improve outcomes for at-risk children and youth. He is the author of more than one hundred journal articles, chapters, and books in the areas of childhood development, school readiness, and parent-child and teacher-child relationships.
Dr. Xitao Fan, Research Design, Co-Investigator
Xitao Fan (a.k.a. "Fan") is a methodologist specializing in quantitative research methods and psychological/educational measurement for the social and behavioral sciences. His scholarly work focuses on the application of multivariate quantitative methods in social and behavioral research, validity and reliability issues in educational/psychological measurement and assessment, issues related to student and adolescent populations (e.g., achievement, problem and risk behaviors). He has wide-ranging experience and expertise in research design, data management, data analyses, statistical programming, and multivariate analysis. In particular, his expertise in quantitative techniques for longitudinal analysis of change/growth will facilitate our study of the effects of MTP.
Dr. Laura Justice, Language Development, Co-Investigator
Dr. Justice is a certified speech-language pathologist whose research focuses on early language and literacy interventions for at-risk preschoolers. Her work in this area has been funded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the International Reading Association, the National Institutes of Health, and the US Department of Education. Dr. Justice has consulted with educators across the Commonwealth of Virginia in strategies for promoting early language and literacy in young children.
Dr. Mable Kinzie, Instructional Design/Technology, Co-Investigator
Dr. Kinzie is an Associate Professor of Instructional Technology. She uses a wide range of methods, media, and technology to design effective learning activities. Her products are in use in Pre-school, K-12 and Higher Education settings, and for adult professional development and life-long learning. Her work has earned awards for instructional and Web development and for scholarship. She has also been recognized as an outstanding faculty member at the University of Virginia, winning the 1996 Harrison Outstanding Faculty Award.
Dr. John Lloyd, Special Education, Co-Investigator
Dr. Lloyd is a professor focusing on special education and related areas since 1978. He completed his graduate studies at the University of Oregon and, since coming to Curry, has conducted dozens of studies and written over 125 articles, chapters, books, and monographs. He has served in leadership positions in the Division for Research and the Division for Learning Disabilities, subgroups of the Council for Exceptional Children. He has served as a member of the steering committee for the the U.S. Department of Education's review of Reading First proposals, and he currently co-edits, a Web site devoted to disseminating trustworthy information about teaching students with learning disabilities. In addition to his academic activities, Lloyd serves as the Chief Technology Officer for the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Paige Pullen, Early Literacy, Co-Investigator
Dr. Pullen is an assistant professor in Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education and director of the Early Childhood and Developmental Risk teacher preparation program. Her research focuses on early literacy interventions for children at risk for reading disability, as well as interventions for older readers with identified reading disabilities. Dr. Pullen has extensive experience in teacher professional development. In addition to teaching graduate level courses on reading disabilities and reading instruction, she also spends a great deal of time working with schools and school districts in Virginia and in other states to design and implement professional development activities for practicing teachers.
Research Associates
Ms. Marcia Kraft-Sayre, Project Coordinator

Ms. Kraft-Sayre is the MTP Project Coordinator. Marcia has coordinated several national studies of pre-kindergarten for the National Center for Early Development and Learning (NCEDL) at the University of Virginia, including the Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten and the Study of State-Wide Early Education Programs. She has also served as the coordinator for the NCEDL Kindergarten Transition Project. Prior to her work at the Curry School of Education, she worked as a clinical social worker with children and families in mental health and medical settings.
Dr. Jason Downer

Dr. Downer is a Clinical-Community Psychologist. Jason has partnered extensively with Head Start centers to develop classroom curricula and promote positive teacher-parent relationships. He has clinical and research experience in the assessment of early childhood development within school, community and pediatric settings.
Dr. Andrew Mashburn
Dr. Mashburn is an applied psychologist with a master's degree in Industrial/Organizational psychology and a Ph.D. in Community psychology. Andy has worked as a research associate and consultant on various evaluations of Georgia's universal Pre-Kindegarten program. His primary research and teaching interests involve children's development, program evaluation, and statistical and research methods.
Ms. Jean Chase

Ms. Chase has a Masters degree in education and twenty five years of professional experience in the field. Prior to joining MTP, Jean developed multi-media training materials for the Children's Defense Fund, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Council for Professional Recognition. She also served as national director of PBS's Ready To Learn service and as director of Early Childhood National Programming at South Carolina Educational Television.
Dr. Carol Dudding

Dr. Dudding is a nationally certified speech language pathologist with 17 years of clinical experience; many of those years providing direct supervision to graduate students. Carol is an assistant professor at the Curry School of Education, serving as the coordinator for the distance education program in speech language pathology. Her research has focused on the use of videoconferencing technologies for supervision of graduate students during clinical training.
Ms. Grace Funk

Ms. Funk has worked as a research specialist with the National Center for Early Development and Learning at the University of Virginia and the Study of State-Wide Early Education Programs, a national study of pre-kindergarten programs. Before her work in education research, Grace completed her Master of Arts in Teaching at Colorado College and taught elementary-aged children in Colorado and Washington, DC. Her interests include identifying strategies to aid in the success of at-risk student populations.
Dr. Sarah Hadden

Dr. Hadden is a research associate at the Curry School of Education. Sarah has her Master?s and Doctoral degrees in early childhood special education. Prior to joining My Teaching Partner, Sarah was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where she taught courses in teacher education. She is a former preschool special education teacher who has worked with preschool and Head Start programs in several states. Sarah has a long-standing interest in social and educational policy designed to promote the health and development of young children.
Ms. Allison Hall

Ms. Hall is the curriculum coordinator for MyTeachingPartner. Allison is a certified speech language pathologist who has worked in the Charlottesville City schools with preschool- through elementary-aged students. She has also provided early intervention services in the home. Her special interest is early language and literacy.
Dr. Bridget Hamre

Dr. Hamre is a clinical and school psychologist. During her doctoral training, Bridget collaborated with Dr. Robert Pianta on the development of the Student, Teachers, and Relationship Success System (STARS), which includes the Banking Time component used in MyTeachingPartner. Bridget has provided therapy to young children in a variety of settings, including schools, community clinics, and inpatient hospitals. Prior to her work in clinical and school psychology, Bridget taught first grade for two years in Berkeley, California.
Web Development Team
Dr. Steve Whitaker

Dr. Whitaker has a background in secondary social studies education and holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology. He has worked with pre-service and in-service K-12 teachers across the Commonwealth of Virginia, exploring how technology can enhance the teaching and learning experience in their classrooms. His teaching and research have focused on how digital technologies can assist the needs of students in special populations.
Mr. Michael Kelley
Michael is a doctoral student in Instructional Technology at the University of Virginia. His background is in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and he has worked extensively overseas. Michael obtained a master?s degree from Michigan State University in TESOL, and a bachelor?s degree from U.C. Berkeley in psychology.
Mr. Michael Matera
Michael has a master's degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Virginia. He is an experienced web and print designer in both education and business environments. His interests are in interactive design and human computer interaction. Michael obtained a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia in Commerce with concentrations in Marketing and Management.
Ms. Kathy Neesen
Kathy has a master's degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Virginia. Her focus is learning how web-based learning tools and the Internet can be used within various educational environments. For the past three years, she has worked as a web applications developer for the Nemours Foundation, a children?s healthcare organization. Notable projects include designing a web-based asthma education and self-management tool for young children with asthma. She obtained a bachelor?s degree from the University of North Carolina in English and German.
Ms. Kristan Sturgyleski
Kristan obtained a Business degree from the University of Minnesota with concentrations in Management and Spanish. For the past four years, she has worked in business management for the Target Corporation.
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