Our People


Dr. Gary Bingham

Executive 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.

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.


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:

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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.


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.


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.

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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.


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. 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 was formerly the project director for the Quality Rated Improvement System Evaluation Project and now leads the Hearst Cox Campus Evaluation and L4 DOE projects 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.

Dr. DaShaunda Patterson

Preparation and retention  of highly qualified special educators, Academic strategies for students with behavior disorders,  Culturally relevant pedagogy,  and Positive academic and behavior interventions and supports
Dr. Patterson is dedicated to developing a strong teacher workforce in order to achieve positive learning outcomes for all learners. To this end, she works with pre-service and in-service teachers in the ESC department. She also serves as the Project Director for a USDOE Teacher Quality Partnership grant called the Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality (NET-Q).

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.


Dr. Susan Ogletree

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.


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.

Katelyn Caton

Educational Policy Studies (Research, Measurement, and Statistics)

Caton's research interests include program evaluation, measurement issues, and item response theory.


Shaneeka Favors-Welch

Middle and Secondary Education Teacher and Teacher Education

Favors-Welch's research interests include urban education, teacher education, social justice, international comparative education, and critical quantitive methods.


Xiao Zhang

Early Childhood and Elementary Education

Zhang's research interests include early literacy, early writing, duel language learning.

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Francheska Starks

Early Childhood and Elementary Education (Elementary Education)

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


Jarrett Burgess

Kinesiology & Health/Public Health

Burgess' research interests include adolescent obesity.

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Bryan K. Murray

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

Murray's research interests include cognition, language development, and literacy in linguistically diverse populations and vulnerable communities (adoption| foster care).

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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.

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.


Glenda Chisholm

Middle and Secondary Education (Teacher and Teacher Education)

Chisholm's research interests include transformative pedagogies in pre-service teacher preparation, transformative experiences in teacher education and education policy.

Janelle Clay

Educational Policy Studies (Research, Measurement, and Statistics)

Clay's research interests include program evaluation, mixed-methods research and research-practice partnerships .


Mario Pickens

Early Childhood and Elementary Education (Elementary Education)

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

Valery Limia

Developmental Psychology

Limia's research interests include program evaluation and examining the role of gesture in bilingual children's spatial vocabulary use -- an important predictor of school achievement.


Tinh "Ethan" Trinh

Middle and Secondary Education

Trinh’ research interests include language and literacy and  opportunities for transnational students of color.




Students affiliated with the Urban Child Study Center pose in front of a playground shaped like the letters, "ATL"

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

  • Project Director
  • Urban Child Study Center

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Dr. Jackie Towson

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

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Dr. Katherine Rhodes

  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Psychology
  • Ohio State University

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Dr. Millicent Carmouche

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

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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

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Dr. Brandy Gatlin

  • Assistant Professor
  • School of Education
  • University of California, Irvine

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Dr. Margaret Quinn

  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Child and Family Studies
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Dr. Erin FitzPatrick

  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Special Education and Child Development
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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Dr. Ryan Lee James

  • Assistant Professor
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Aldephi University

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Dr. Erica Edwards

  • Assistant Professor
  • Wayne State University

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Dr. Nicole Venuto

  • Assistant Professor
  • Utah Valley State University

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Dr. Chaehyun Lim

Dr. Johari Harris-Ward

  • Postdoctoral Fellow
  • University of Virginia