Research in Education at the University of Vermont

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Mission The University of Vermont’s College of Education and Social Services strives to promote a more humane and just society, free from oppression, maximizing human potential and the quality of life for all individuals, families and communities. Our mission is to prepare outstanding professionals in education, social work, and human services; engage in policy relevant scholarship of highest quality; and provide exemplary professional service in Vermont, nationally, and globally.

The Vermont Distinction The Department of Education within the College of Education and Social Services engages in a balanced and synergistic approach to research, teaching, and service. Our faculty engage in area, state, national, and global education initiatives, and play leading roles in policy development and transformative research, teaching, and service. We actively cultivate interdisciplinary connections across fields to leverage the interconnected nature of the schools, families, and communities we serve. Our exemplary international partnerships are active in England, Finland, France, New Zealand, and Portugal. We engage actively in issues of social justice and equity in fulfilling our land-grant mission in the context of a diverse and globalized society. In the pages that follow, we invite you learn more about some of the highly accomplished faculty who engage in internationally recognized research and scholarship as well as the highest-quality teaching and nationally recognized service in: SPECIAL EDUCATION SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, & MATH (STEM) HEALTH, WELLNESS, & TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE MIDDLE LEVEL EDUCATION EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Katharine G. Shepherd, EdD Levitt Family Green and Gold Professor and Associate Dean

Dr. Shepherd is an internationally distinguished teacher-scholar with expertise in special education, collaborative consultation, and special education assessment. Her research interests and publications focus on collaboration among families and school professionals, school and life course transitions for persons with disabilities, leadership for inclusive schools, and state and school wide implementation of inclusive policies and practices, including Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). She frequently presents her work at a variety of professional settings. Her numerous publications have appeared in journals such as Exceptional Children, Teacher Education and Special Education, Journal of Special Education, Journal of Special Education Leadership, Journal of Disability Policy Studies, Rural Special Education Quarterly, and School Leadership. She previously served as President of the Higher Education Consortium on Special Education (HECSE). Shepherd served as a co-principal investigator on a number of projects, including Transformative Leadership for Special Education Administrators, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. She also collaborated on grant from the Spencer Foundation, studying teachers’ use of data for decision-making in schools using multi-tiered systems of support.

Kimberly Vannest, PhD

Michael F. Giangreco, PhD

Internationally recognized scholar and teacher, Dr. Vannest strives to enhance equity and parity in education through science and synergistic partnerships. Her areas of expertise include prevention and intervention of social, emotional, and behavioral disability, the design and analysis of singlecase experimental designs, non-parametric effect sizes, and meta-analysis. Her collaborations exceed $18 million in funding for research and outreach in public schools.

As an internationally renowned expert in special education, Dr. Giangreco’s work focuses on various aspects of education for students with developmental disabilities within general education classrooms. This includes curriculum planning and adaptation, related services decisionmaking and coordination, alternatives to overreliance on paraprofessionals, and inclusive special education service delivery.

Professor and Chair

Vannest’s publications include various books on intervention for students with emotional and behavioral disorders including the BASC Intervention Guide, books on ADHD such as The Energetic Brain, and academic strategies for improving student performance. As editor for the Encyclopedia of Special Education, her contributions to the field include numerous manuscripts, book chapters, parent guides, online progress monitoring systems in academics and behavior, and online single-case effect size calculators. Vannest is an editor, editorial board member or reviewer for leading journals and funders of education and special education research. She is president-elect for the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders, and currently serves as a co-principal investigator for an Institute of Educational Sciences grant. She also collaborates on a number of Department of Defense grants.


In 2019, Giangreco received the Distinguished Researcher Award from the Special Education Research Special Interest Group (SER-SIG) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). The award recognizes his extensive body of work researching inclusive education, especially for students with severe and multiple disabilities. Giangreco is the author of numerous professional publications on a variety of special education topics. He published a well-known series of cartoon books depicting special education issues and research findings. Some of his recent work can be found in European Journal of Special Needs Education, Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, Remedial and Special Education, and Educational Leadership. He currently serves on a number of editorial boards including the Journal of Special Education, Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, Remedial and Special Education, and Exceptional Children.

Associate Professor Fulbright Scholar

Internationally respected as an expert on cultural and linguistic minority populations, inclusive practices, and family, school and community partnerships, Dr. Haines’ work on community resilience and relationships is extensive. Her research and teaching focuses on responsive practice and improving the educational system for diverse learners. Toward this goal, her nationally recognized research involves collaborative, community-based work on family-professional partnerships with refugee families and families of children with disabilities. Her work is published through various peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and professional presentations nationally and internationally. Haines’ Fulbright project in Portugal examines innovative collaborations that strengthen family, school and community relationships, as well as Azorean approaches to special education. Her experience with diverse learners and their families includes service in the Peace Corps in West Africa, teaching English language learners (ELLs) in Harlem as a New York City Teaching Fellow, and teaching and volunteering with refugee families in New England. She serves as chair and founder of the Families Research Network, and as chair of the Research and Families Committee, Division for Research, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Colby Kervick, EdD

Justin Garwood, PhD

Dr. Kervick’s areas of expertise focus on family-centered collaborative practice, dual certification teacher preparation, restorative practices implementation, and special education. Her recent research and scholarship focus on collaboration between families of children with disabilities and professionals in school and community agencies, and implementation of restorative practices within K-12 school settings.

Dr. Garwood’s nationally recognized research and teaching centers on supporting children and youth with and at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), especially through literacy development, relationshipbased pedagogy, and classroom management.

Assistant Professor

She is the co-author of a book on fostering inclusive and culturally responsive family professional practices. With numerous national peer-review presentations, her work is published in Harvard Educational Review, Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, The Teacher Educator, and the Journal of Disability Policy Studies. Kervick serves on the University of Vermont’s Interdisciplinary Restorative Practices Research Team. Her recently co-authored article published in the International Journal of Student Voice describes a unique course allowing universities to engage in service-learning opportunities for students utilizing Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) in tandem with Restorative Practices to elevate student voice. Her national service includes reviewing conference proposals for the Council for Exceptional Children. She also serves on the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education (HECSE).

Assistant Professor

His work includes numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, book reviews and program evaluation reports. He presents frequently at a variety of national conferences, including those hosted by the American Educational Research Association, Council for Exceptional Children, and Teacher Educators of Children with Behavior Disorders. As co-principal investigator of Project iShine, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, Garwood focused on interdisciplinary support of high-intensity needs in education. He currently has multiple grant proposals under review to conduct research on special educator burnout and on school safety related to active shooter events. Garwood received the 2019 Research Article of the Year Award from the American Council on Rural Special Education. In 2018, he received the Early Career Publication Award by the Council for Exceptional Children – Division of Research. He currently serves as an editorial board member for five leading journals in his field, including Behavioral Disorders and Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders.


Shana Haines, PhD

Maureen Neumann, PhD

Regina Toolin, PhD

Dr. Neumann is nationally recognized for her work to transform mathematics education and eliminate long-standing disparities in mathematics performance. Her areas of emphasis include the examination of how we develop mathematics educators to have a deeper understanding of both content and pedagogical knowledge. She also studies teacher leadership in schools, and how computational thinking informs students’ understanding of STEM content.

Dr. Toolin is a widely recognized expert in science education, project-based learning, and teacher professional learning.


Neumann’s work is available in Politics, School Improvement, and Social Justice: A Triadic Model of Teacher Leadership; TPACKing: A Constructivist Framing of TPACK to Analyze Teachers’ Construction of Knowledge; and Mathematics Teaching: Listening, Probing, Interpreting, and Responding to Children’s Thinking. She is active in national and international organizations, serving previously as program chair for the American Research Educational Association (AERA) Annual Conference Special Interest Group for Research on Women and Education. She also chaired the Research on Women in Education Special Interest Group. Currently, she reviews for the NCTM journal Mathematics Teacher, ACTE’s Journal of Teacher Education, and MLE’s Middle Grades Review.

Associate Professor

She is the principal investigator of the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, which trains STEM professionals to become mathematics, science and computer science teachers in secondary education. Toolin is also collaborator on a new interdisciplinary, four-year NSF grant, Leveraging Intelligent Informatics and Smart Data for Improved Understanding of Northern Forest Ecosystem Resiliency (INSPIRES), examining the impact of professional development on secondary educators participating in the project. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Educations, Toolin directs the Champlain Research Experience for Secondary Teachers (CREST) Program. The cross-disciplinary program immerses educators in place-based and project-based science, equipped with research skills, to make their teaching more authentic and aligned with real world science. Toolin’s work is published in The Science Teacher, Science Education, International Journal of Science Education, and the Journal of Science Education and Technology. She is an editorial board member for the Journal of Science Education and Technology, and serves as director of the Northeast Association for Science Teacher Education.

Carmen Petrick Smith, PhD

Simon Jorgenson, PhD

Dr. Walls is nationally recognized for his work in race and racism within STEM education.

Internationally recognized as an academic innovator, Dr. Smith’s research and teaching focuses on teaching and learning in mathematics. She distinguishes herself intellectually and academically through her work using embodied cognition theory to inform the design of mathematics learning activities and technologysupported learning environments. She also conducts research on the use of proficiency-based learning in mathematics.

Dr. Jorgenson’s innovative research and scholarship focuses on the convergence between K-12 STEM and environmental education in the context of complex problems such as climate change. His research also examines placebased education, project-based learning, and teachers’ lived experiences in schools and classrooms, including how they understand and enact educational policies.

Consistently publishing her work across a range of disciplines, Smith presents her research and scholarship in the most relevant national settings. She is the author of peer-reviewed journal articles in publications such as the Journal of the Learning Sciences, International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, Journal of Mathematical Behavior, Journal of Interactive Learning Research, School Science and Mathematics, and Mathematics Teacher Education and Development.

His work is published in a variety of national and international outlets, including the Journal of Public Child Welfare, Journal of Environmental Education, Elementary School Journal, Social Studies and the Young Learner, Environmental Education Research, Australian Journal of Environmental Education, and others.

Associate Professor

Utilizing the nature of science (NOS) and Critical Race Theory (CRT) research frameworks, Walls explores how very young children, including children of color, conceive of and understand the practice of science and the role of scientists. Research strongly suggests that possessing an accurate understanding of NOS is an important factor in determining whether students achieve science literacy. Walls currently serves as lead co-chair of the Elections Committee for the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), and as a reviewer for Teaching and Teacher Education, Science Education, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, International Journal of Science Teacher Education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program. He also serves as Tournament Director for the Vermont Science Olympiad, an annual science competition for middle and high school students across Vermont.

Associate Professor

Smith is also co-principal investigator of UVM’s Robert Noyce Scholarship Program funded by the National Science Foundation, which educates talented STEM professionals to become mathematics, science and computer science teachers in secondary education.

Assistant Professor

Jorgenson’s national leadership includes service as president of the Society for the Study of Curriculum History, and manuscript reviewer for Curriculum History and Environmental Education Research. Previously, he served as manuscript reviewer for the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences and Critical Education, and as proposal reviewer for the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Environmental Education Special Interest Group.


Leon Walls, PhD


Jessica Strolin-Goltzman, PhD, LMSW

Bernice Garnett, ScD


Adam and Abigail Burack Green and Gold Associate Professor

Dr. Strolin-Goltzman is an expert in child and family well-being, trauma-informed systems, resiliency, and communityengaged research with schools and human service agencies. Her scholarship includes intervention and implementation research in child welfare, mental health, and school-based services. She develops new interdisciplinary, resiliency-based approaches for families, schools, and communities, including socialemotional learning (SEL), trauma-responsive schools, restorative approaches, and positive organizational climates.

Widely respected on a national level, Dr. Garnett is a public health prevention scientist. A central focus of her work is school based health promotion and community strategies to promote health and wellness. She has expertise in community and social systems; bullying, discrimination and harassment prevention; diversity, access, and equity; childhood obesity; food access and food security; youth health disparities; community based participatory research; school climate and transformation; and restorative justice.

Strolin-Goltzman is the recipient of more than $13 million in external funding. As principal investigator for the Placement Stability Project (PSP), she works to improve placement stability and social-emotional well-being for children and youth in foster care. The six-year project is funded by a $2.5 million grant from the Administration for Children and Families under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The project includes implementation of trauma-informed workforce and caregiver development and training.

Garnett’s work includes numerous peer-reviewed journal articles in publications such as Harvard Educational Review, Health Promotion Practice, International Journal of Research and Method in Education, Social Science and Medicine, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Journal of Interpersonal Violence. She has also published a variety of manuscripts, commissioned reports, conference papers, presentations, and grant funded projects.

Her research appears in numerous publications, including Children and Youth Services Review, Journal of School Health, Social Work, Journal of Public Child Welfare, and Young Exceptional Children. She serves on the National Advisory Board of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, and previously received an award for the top publication from the American Academy of Pediatrics for research on school-based health.

Garnett strives to integrate interdisciplinary public health training in education and social service disciplines. She is a faculty member of the Food Systems Initiative, and has a secondary appointment in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Vermont. She is also a member of the Vermont Hazing, Harassment and Bullying Prevention Advisory Council.

Haley Woodside-Jiron, PhD Associate Professor

The purpose of Dr. WoodsideJiron’s internationally recognized research and scholarship is to allow children to access their full potential, and to examining how stress, trauma, and poverty affect a child’s ability to learn. Her research brings educators, families, healthcare and social service providers together, synergizing their efforts to meet the needs of the whole child. Woodside-Jiron was instrumental in developing The Academy for Trauma Informed Practice, which increases the number of professionals across child welfare, mental health, and education systems who are prepared to effectively support the strengths and complex needs of children, youth, and families adversely touched by trauma. Results and findings of this work appear in a special issue of the Journal of Public Child Welfare. She also collaborates with the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion on an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) grant focused on students with emotional and behavioral challenges. Specifically, she examines self-efficacy and self-determination in learning, school success, and positive decision-making skills. Woodside-Jiron presents her work at various national and international settings, and currently serves as chair of the Social Emotional Learning Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association (AREA).

Cynthia Reyes, PhD

Jessica DeMink-Carthew, PhD

An internationally recognized innovator and award-winning scholar, Dr. Bishop engages in research on schooling for young adolescents and personalized learning. As founding director of the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education, she served as principal investigator on numerous grants, bringing over $13 million dollars to Vermont schools to improve the learning and lives of middle grades students.

Dr. Cynthia Reyes’ research and scholarship focuses on literacy with refugee and immigrant families, multimodal literacy, and educational policy for students who are English learners. As a model for colleagues in the field, her transformative approach cultivates relationshipbuilding that builds successful school, family and community partnerships.

Dr. DeMink-Carthew’s research centers on supporting middle school teachers in advocating for and creating developmentally responsive learning environments for young adolescents. Her research focuses on social justice education, personalized learning, and proficiency-based learning as liberatory practices that can promote equity.

Professor and Associate Dean

A former middle level English and Social Studies teacher, Bishop served as chair of the Association for Middle Level Education’s Research Advisory Board, and also as chair of the American Educational Research Association’s group on Middle Level Education Research. She is the co-author of six books on effective middle grades practice, the latest of which is Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades, published by Harvard Education Press. She frequently publishes her work in leading journals, and regularly presents at prominent venues nationally and internationally. Bishop previously served as policy advisor on fellowship to the New Zealand Ministry of Education, providing input and research on effective schooling policies for students in the middle years.

Associate Professor

She is co-principal investigator for a study that aims to improve student achievement and issues of inequity through family professional partnerships between families and schools. Reyes also collaborates on an interdisciplinary project that focuses on refugees and families whose children have intensive support needs as they navigate complex medical and educational systems. Her upcoming book intends to address and humanize the methods and processes directed by federal guidelines in working with vulnerable populations. Reyes’ research is published in leading journals such as the Research in the Teaching of English, Journal of Visual Literacy, Qualitative Report, and the International Journal of Teaching and Teacher Education, and Middle School Journal.

Assistant Professor

An experienced middle grades educator who has taught in France, Michigan, and Hawaii, DeMink-Carthew is an active advocate for middle grades education locally and nationally through her various roles as researcher, teacher educator, and community partner. Her research can be found in Middle School Journal, Research in Middle Level Education Online, Middle Grades Research Journal, Middle Grades Review, Studying Teacher Education, and AMLE Magazine, among others. DeMink-Carthew serves on the Association for Middle Level Education Research Advisory Council, and is an elected official on the executive council of the AERA Middle Level Education Research Special Interest Group.


Penny Bishop, EdD


Jennifer Hurley, PhD

Lori Meyer, PhD

Kaitlin Northey, PhD

An expert in early intervention, early childhood special education, cultural and linguistic diversity, homelessness and poverty, Dr. Hurley is nationally respected scholar in her field, frequently presenting her work at a variety of professional venues.

Dr. Meyer’s areas of expertise include curriculum and instruction, disability and inclusion, early childhood education, and special education. Her research focuses on young children with disabilities and their families within the context of pre-kindergarten and early elementary experiences.

Dr. Northey’s widely published research focuses on policy implementation and leadership in early childhood education, as well as issues related to the early education workforce. She is a frequent presenter at national conferences and other professional settings.

Associate Professor

Her recent research focuses on early intervention for children and families experiencing neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a postnatal drug withdrawal syndrome that can occur after intrauterine opioid exposure. Hurley also studies early intervention and early childhood special education for children and families who are refugees, as well as the provision of early intervention services for infants, toddlers and their families who are experiencing homelessness. Another facet of her research examines the impact of teacher preparation program activities, assessing the skills and knowledge of early intervention and early childhood special education teacher candidates. Hurley is the principal investigator on a U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs grant designed to alleviate professional shortages and increase the availability and quality of services for children with disabilities. The Interprofessional Education (IPE) Project leads the interdisciplinary preparation and certification of master’s level professionals across the two disciplines of Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education and SpeechLanguage Pathology.

Assistant Professor

As a nationally recognized scholar, she is interested in contemporary classroom environments and processes used by administrators and teachers to meet the social emotional needs of young children with delays or disabilities. With previous experience as an inclusive early childhood teacher, Meyer’s passion is increasing the use of evidence-based practices in the field of early childhood intervention, and translating research into practice. A variety of national journals are home to her work, such as Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, Young Exceptional Children, International Journal of Inclusive Education, and the Journal of Early Intervention. She presents regularly at national and international professional conferences. Meyer also serves on the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Publications and Products Advisory Committee, and the DEC Recommended Practices Committee.

Assistant Professor

Her article, “What Guides PreK Programs?” received recognition as one of the most viewed articles of 2018, according to Teachers College Record. Northey has research published in Early Years: An International Research Journal, and Contemporary and Critical Perspectives on ECE in the United States, as well as a book chapter in Handbook of Play and Learning in Early Childhood. As the principal investigator of Exploring How Teachers and Administrators Use the VELS, Northey examines how Vermont Early Learning Standards are utilized across a variety of educational settings. She previously served as research project coordinator for the National Institute for Early Education Research.

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