Our People

Directors

Dr. Nicole Patton-Terry

Executive Director

Dr. Nicole Patton Terry

Dr. Terry’s research interests concern young children with and without learning disabilities who struggle to acquire language and literacy skills, in particular children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The overwhelming majority of that work has focused on African-American children in preschool through third grade who speak non-mainstream American English (NMAE) dialects and who live in low-income or working class households, and has included experimental, intervention and evaluation studies of reading, writing and oral language skills, instruction and professional development.
Dr. Nicole Patton Terry is the Executive Director of the Urban Child Study Center and an associate professor at Georgia State University in the Department of Educational Psychology, Special Education and Communication Disorders. Dr. Terry is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Language Section, affiliate faculty in the Educational Psychology and Communication Disorders programs, a member of the Center for Research on Atypical Development (CRADL) and the Board of Regents Initiative on Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy (RCALL) and director of the newly founded Urban Child Study Center in the College of Education & Human Development. Dr. Terry is also a research scientist at Haskins Laboratories at Yale University and a board member for the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading.

Dr. Terry completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) communication sciences and disorders with an emphasis in learning disabilities.

Dr. Gary Bingham

Associate Director

Dr. Gary Bingham

His research examines home and school factors that contribute to the academic achievement of culturally and linguistically diverse children. Specifically, his research seeks to discover how high quality adult-child interactions (i.e., emotionally and instructionally sensitive interactions) within the home and at school influence young children’s literacy and language development. His research also examines factors that contribute to these high-quality adult-child interactions, particularly with regard to writing, reading and language facilitation.
Gary E. Bingham is an associate professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Georgia State University. He received his Ph.D. in child development and family studies from Purdue University.

Bingham is the coordinator of the Ph.D. program in early and elementary education, a member of the Board of Regents Initiative on Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy (RCALL) and a founding member of the Urban Child Study Center in the College of Education & Human Development. He serves on the editorial boards of the journals Language Arts and Early Child Development and Care. His research has been published in a number of high quality early childhood and language and literacy journals including Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Early Education and Development, Reading and Writing, and Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools.

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Associate Director

Dr. Julie Washington

Dr. Washington’s work focuses on understanding cultural dialect use in African American children with a specific emphasis on language assessment, literacy attainment, and academic performance. Her work with preschoolers has focused on understanding and improving the emergent literacy skills necessary to support later reading proficiency in high risk groups, with a special focus on the needs of children growing up in poverty in urban contexts. Dr. Washington’s research program is currently addressing the following key areas: 1) the role of cultural- linguistic variation, socioeconomic status and other social risk factors on language use and development for African American students and their families, 2) the role of language in the attainment of early literacy skills by African American preschoolers through second graders, and 3) prevention of language and reading impairments in children enrolled in high poverty schools.
Julie A. Washington, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Special Education and Communication Disorders at Georgia State University, Program in Communication Disorders, as well as in the Developmental Psychology program. In addition, Dr. Washington is an affiliate faculty of Georgia State University’s Language and Literacy Initiative, a unique research initiative focused on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy.

Faculty and Researchers

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Dr. Kevin Fortner

His research interests include teacher effectiveness and persistence, the effects of peers on student outcomes and program evaluation, and his work is published in a variety of journals including Science, Educational Researcher, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. His externally funded research activities include program evaluation related to urban debate league, estimating the effectiveness of teacher training programs in North Carolina, and working with Georgia’s Bright From the Start Pre-K program to estimate future demand for student services. He actively seeks research opportunities with practical implications and the potential to influence policy.
Kevin Fortner is an assistant professor of research, measurement and statistics housed in the College of Education & Human Development’s Department of Educational Policy Studies. He teaches graduate courses in research methodology, education policy and educational evaluation.

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Dr. Hongli Li

Her primary research areas are applied measurement and quantitative methods in education. In particular, she is interested in how testing influences teaching and learning (cognitive diagnostic modeling and formative assessment), test accommodations, assessment of reading comprehension and large-scale international tests
Hongli Li is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 2011 with a Ph.D. in educational psychology specializing in educational measurement.

Her articles have appeared in refereed journals such as Applied Psychological Measurement, Applied Measurement in Education, Educational Assessment,Educational Research and Evaluation, Language Testing, and Language Assessment Quarterly.

At Georgia State University, she teaches Quantitative Methods and Analysis I, Structural Equation Modeling and Hierarchical Linear Modeling. She is a Co-investigator for the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy (CSAL) Project.

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Dr. Lee Branum-Martin

Lee Branum-Martin is interested in issues in psychological and educational measurement, especially those applied to language and literacy. He pursues this interest in three main ways in his research. (See under Bio)
Branum-Martin first, is interested in empirically testing a theory. If ideas about psychology, the brain and education have validity, he feels there should be a way to find measurable evidence of those theories. Such tests are most informative when weighing evidence of competing theories against each other to see which theories best describe is observed.

Second, most phenomena in education and psychology occur over time and within a social context. For example, there may be observable multiple tests per child, or multiple children per classroom. He is interested in multilevel statistical models to disentangle social and contextual effects from the typical level of observation. Often, this can entail different types of measurement and theory at each level, such as those for individual learning versus those for instructional or social groups.

Third, he is interested in language and literacy. His particular interest is in bilingualism and second language learning, where there could be interesting and potentially complex patterns of skills across languages. These patterns can be suggestive for improving instruction and student learning.

For more details, please see his Academia and Google Scholar pages:
http://gsu.academia.edu/LeeBranumMartin
http://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=XHdBo3gAAAAJ

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Dr. Debra McKeown

McKeown’s research interests include teacher preparation/quality and effective instructional practices, especially in writing. McKeown works in single-subject, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, often using mixed methods to answer research questions.
Dr. Debra McKeown is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Special Education and Communication Disorders. She is published in the top journals in her field and is Associate Editor for Journal of Early Intervention. Currently, McKeown is running two intervention research projects in school settings, a survey project, and a meta-analysis project. Prior to joining academia, McKeown was a teacher of special education for ten years in the Southern US, Kenya, and Thailand.

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Dr. Maggie Renken

Dr. Maggie Renken’s research focuses on understanding students’ scientific thinking.
Renken's Projects explore how science knowledge is acquired by considering the role of underlying mechanisms, like epistemic cognition, and their development. This work is intended to inform approaches for assessing and improving scientific thinking and learning. Her research considers the role of text-based explanations, hands-on experimentation and computer-simulated experiences in students’ disciplinary core knowledge has been recognized with an Outstanding Masters’ Thesis award from the University of Wyoming, an Outstanding Dissertation award from the Educational Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association and an Award for Outstanding Research from GSU’s Department of Educational Psychology, Special Education, and Communication Disorders.

Since her time as an NSF Graduate Fellow in K-12 STEM education with the University of Wyoming’s Science Posse, Renken has worked with K-12 educators in a variety of school settings, with researchers in ecology, mathematics, engineering, biology, physics and geosciences, and with science education researchers in eight countries outside the United States including India, Denmark, France, Italy, Greece, New Zealand, China and Canada.

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Dr. Mi-young Webb

Dr. Webb’s research interests are in the application of measurement models to language, literacy, and social-emotional development in young children.
Her research focuses on the application of latent variable models for purposes of construct validation and person-centered approaches to the assessment of differential item functioning, individual differences in response styles, and developmental changes. During her work in educational measurement methodology, she has found a substantial gap between what we know about educational measurement methods and the utilization of such methods in educational research. Her goal, as an educational measurement researcher, is to bridge the gap between developments and substantive applications of analytic methods.

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Dr. Chenyi Zhang

His recent works examine the interplay between different types of teachers’ literacy instruction and children’s early literacy skills (e.g., early decoding and writing skills).
Dr. Chenyi Zhang received training and education in the field of human development and family studies with a specialization in child development. He has been involved with a number of research projects examining preschool children’s early literacy skills in the context of professional development interventions for teachers.

Dr. Lakeisha Johnson

African American children's language and literacy development,  dialect variation, executive function
Dr. Lakeisha Johnson is a research scientist in the Urban Child Study Center, where she supports multiple research-practice partnerships, including with the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and the Rollins Center for Language & Literacy at The Atlanta Speech School. Her research and scholarly interests include language and literacy development in African American children and other high-risk populations. She is especially interested in the relations between dialect usage, executive functioning, and literacy skills. A certified speech language pathologist, Johnson has had a variety of teaching, research and leadership experiences, including participating in the Improving Language and Literacy Outcomes for Children with Disabilities in High Poverty Communities, Communication Disorders Leadership Personnel Training Grant Program as a doctoral student, serving as a postdoctoral fellow and project coordinator for the NIH Georgia Learning Disabilities Research Hub, and teaching as a part-time instructor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Special Education, and Communication Disorders at Georgia State University. Johnson received her doctoral degree from Florida State University in Communication Science and Disorders in 2012.

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Dr. Brandy Gatlin

language and literacy, writing, quantitative methods
Dr. Brandy Gatlin is a postdoctoral fellow in the Urban Child Study Center, where she conducts research and provides leadership on the Educare Atlanta Local Evaluation Partnership team. Her research interests include basic and applied research on the relations between language and literacy development for children from culturally and linguistically diverse groups. She is particularly interested in early literacy instruction and intervention for students with reading difficulties and disabilities, especially those from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds. A former special education teacher, Gatlin has had a variety of teaching and research experiences, including serving as a doctoral student scholar for the Council of Exceptional Children’s Division for Research, participating in the Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training(PIRT) Fellowship Program as a doctoral student, and completing postdoctoral study in the NIH Multidisciplinary Learning Disabilities Center at the Florida Center for Reading Research. Gatlin received her doctoral degree from Florida State University in curriculum and instruction—special education in 2015.

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Dr. Rihana Mason

vocabulary acquisition, reading comprehension, assessment of vocabulary and literacy in diverse populations
Dr. Rihana Mason received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology with an emphasis in cognitive psychology from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC in 2004. She served as an associate professor in psychology at Emmanuel College for several years where she helped to expand the undergraduate curriculum to include courses which emphasized research and writing in psychology. She was awarded the Firebaugh Memorial Faculty Award from Emmanuel College in 2015. She is now the project director for the Quality Rated Improvement System Evaluation Project at the Urban Child Study Center at Georgia State University and an adjunct faculty member at Spelman College, her undergraduate alma mater. Her primary research interests include vocabulary acquisition, reading comprehension, and the assessment of language and literacy in diverse populations.

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Dr. Christa Haring

Language and literacy interventions in high poverty communities, home-based literacy programs, school-based interventions in language, vocabulary, phonological awareness, and assessment
Dr. Haring worked as a special educator for six years before receiving her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Florida State University with a concentration in language and literacy. After graduating, she worked as an SLP for two years before moving to Texas to complete a Ph.D. in Special Education with concentrations in Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders from UT Austin. Since graduating in 2013, she has created and implemented reading interventions as part of more than a dozen IES funded grants for struggling students in Pre-K through high school. She continues to work with home and community messaging to improve language and literacy outcomes for young children through her work with HIPPY USA, the Urban Child Study Center, and the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy at the Atlanta Speech School.

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Dr. Gwendolyn Benson

  • Associate Dean for School, Community and International Partnerships
  • gbenson@gsu.edu
P-12 Schools Partnership Development, International Partnership Development, Grant Writing, Special Education Teacher Preparation, Leadership and Program Implementation in Public Schools, Urban Education/High Needs Schools

Gwendolyn Benson serves as the associate dean for school, community and international partnerships in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University. She previously served as coordinator of the Low Incidence Disabilities Unit of the Division for Exceptional Students in the Georgia Department of Education; director of educator preparation for the Georgia Professional Standards Commission; and director of the Program for Exceptional Children with the Atlanta Public Schools. She was an associate professor at Southern University at Baton Rouge, La., assistant professor at Louisiana State University and has taught graduate courses at Clark-Atlanta University as an adjunct professor.

Benson earned her bachelor’s degree at Alabama State University, her M.Ed. at Auburn University and her Ph.D. at the University of Kansas.

She currently serves as the principal investigator for the Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality (NET-Q), a collection of projects funded by a $13.5 million Teacher Quality Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education designed to prepare teachers for the demands of teaching high-need subjects in high-need schools.

She also works to sustain the CEHD’s professional development school network, facilitates international outreach and partnerships and works closely with the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence.

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Dr. Susan Olgetree

Professional Development School Implementation- National and International, Partnerships – National and International, Program Evaluation, Mixed Methods Research Methodologies
Susan Ogletree is currently Director of the Educational Research Bureau in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University. Ogletree received her Bachelor of Music Ed., Masters of Elementary Education and Specialist in Educational Leadership from West Georgia College – Carrollton, GA. At Georgia State University – Atlanta, GA, she received her Masters of Professional Counseling and her Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies with a concentration in Research, Measurement and Statistics where she received the Educational Policy Studies Dissertation of the Year Award. During her work in k-12, Ogletree served as principal for twenty years directing schools that included 3 year pre-kindergarten programs and state funded lottery 4 year programs. In her job as Director of the Educational Research Bureau, her office is responsible for overseeing $17,000,000 in external funding for national and international programs. She also works with faculty to identify potential partners both national and international grant initiatives.

Ogletree currently serves as Co-Project Investigator for the Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality (NET-Q) grant. This partnership includes the six major school systems in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area as well as twelve rural districts in the South Georgia Area. She is also interested in working with the Professional Development School Model in South Africa where she has worked in partnership with the Durban University of Technology around school leadership and research methodology. Her primary research interests include Professional Development Schools, both nationally and internationally, and their impact on academic achievement in high needs urban schools.

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Dr. Robert Hendrick

Robert C. Hendrick, Ph.D., is on the evaluation team for two federal Teacher Quality Partnership grants: Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality and Collaborations and Resources for Encouraging and Supporting Transformations in Education. Currently, he provides research services for faculty in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University.

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Dr. William S. Boozer

Dr. William S Boozer joined the Center in 2015 after working for many years in the College of Education & Human Development in a variety of capacities, including grant administration support, teacher certification monitoring, and accreditation preparation. His primary research interests are in how society constructs adolescence and how adolescents negotiate with that construction. He received his doctorate in Educational Policy Studies from Georgia State University in 2007.

Doctoral Students

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Jingxuan Liu

Educational Policy Studies (Research, Measurement, and Statistics)

Liu's research interests include educational measurement issues, issues of testing validity, item response theory, research methodology and database design.

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Erica Edwards

Educational Policy Studies (Social Foundations of Education)

Edwards' research interests include racial disparity in public education, public-private partnerships in public education, and qualitative research methods.

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Margaret Ferguson Quinn

Early Childhood and Elementary Education (Birth to 5)

Quinn's research interests include emergent literacy, emergent writing, writing pedagogy, digital literacy.

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Tianna Floyd

Educational Policy Studies (Research, Measurement, and Statistics)

Floyd's research interests include multidimensional item response theory, measurement issues in assessing teacher quality, differential item function.

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Bryan K. Murray

Educational Psychology, Special Education, and Communication Disorders (Educational Psychology)

Murray's research interests include urban education, adoption, high-incidence disabilities, adolescents, co-teaching, and teacher preparation.

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Page Carriveau Pattermann

Educational Psychology, Special Education, and Communication Disorders (Education of Students with Exceptionalities: Communication Disorders)

Pattermann's research interests include self-regulation, language development, communicative competence, child behavior and school readiness in vulnerable populations.

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Kristy Girardeau

Early Childhood and Elementary Education (Elementary Education)

Girardeau's research interests include cultural relevant pedagogy and literacy.

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Nicole Venuto

Early Childhood and Elementary Education (Elementary Education)

Venuto's research interests include mathematics and teacher development.

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Chaehyun Lim

Early Childhood and Elementary Education (Early Childhood Education)

Lim's research interests include teacher-child relationships, classroom quality.

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Glenda Chisholm

Middle and Secondary Education (Teacher and Teacher Education)

Chisholm's research interests include social justice, education and teacher education.

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Mario Pickens

Early Childhood and Elementary Education (Elementary Education)

Pickens' research interests include urban education, STEAM education and emergent writing.

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Rebecca Barria

Middle and Secondary Education (Language and Literacy)

Barria's research interests include play and literacy practices, academic identities and classroom discourse.

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Adrian Neely

Middle and Secondary Education (Teacher and Teacher Education)

Neely's research interests include urban education, education and health policy, teacher preparation and program evaluation.

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Ryan Lee

Educational Psychology, Special Education, and Communication Disorders (Education of Students with Exceptionalities: Communication Disorders)

Lee's research interests include language variation in the context of language disorders and literacy, measurement challenges and methods in linguistically diverse populations and multicultural curriculum for COMD graduate programs.

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Francheska Starks

Early Childhood and Elementary Education (Elementary Education)

Starks' research interests include teacher attitudes and practice toward criticality and social justice in urban educational settings; racial identity and policy.
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Amber Mason

Educational Policy Studies (Research, Measurement and Statistics)

Mason's research interests include culturally responsive program evaluation, mixed methods research methodology and database design.
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Our M.Ed. Students

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Dr. Taneisha Lee

  • Lead Evaluator
  • Sage Fox Consulting Group

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Dr. Kizzy Albritton

  • Assistant Professor
  • School Psychology
  • Kent State University

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Dr. Meghan Pendergast Dean

  • Researcher
  • Department of Early Care and Learning

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Dr. Jackie Towson

  • Assistant Professor
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • University of Central Florida

Dr. Katherine Rhodes

  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Psychology
  • Ohio State University

Dr. Millicent Carmouche

  • Assistant Professor
  • Special Education
  • Alabama A&M University

Dr. Souraya Mansour

  • Senior Research Associate
  • Institutional Effectiveness
  • University of Houston-Downtown

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Dr. Adrienne Stuckey

  • Assistant Professor
  • Special Education
  • Western Carolina University