Jade Wexler, Ph.D.
Dr. Jade Wexler is an associate professor of special education at the University of Maryland. Her current research interests include developing and testing reading interventions to support adolescents with reading difficulties and disabilities in the content areas and in supplemental intensive interventions. Her research also focuses on designing and evaluating professional development, literacy coaching, and schoolwide service delivery models to support teachers’ implementation of evidence-based literacy practices at the secondary level. Dr. Wexler has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several federally funded adolescent literacy grants. She has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and is the co-author of three books about adolescent literacy. As a former high school special education and reading teacher, Dr. Wexler brings her practical experience in the field to her research. She greatly values the partnerships she forms with school district administrators and teachers to do this work.
Elizabeth Swanson, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator of IES:
For the past 22 years, Dr. Elizabeth Swanson has served the field of education as a special education teacher, college instructor, researcher, public speaker, and writer. Dr. Swanson’s consistent focus has been on improving educational opportunities for struggling readers and students with learning disabilities. She is currently a research associate professor with a dual appointment in the Department of Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin and The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER). Dr. Swanson has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on federally and state-funded projects exceeding $30 million to date. She has published more than 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals focused on literacy instruction in kindergarten to grade 8. As a former elementary school special education math and reading teacher, Dr. Swanson remembers the critical need for research to be made accessible to teachers. For this reason, she particularly enjoys collaborating with teachers to design interventions for their students.
Colleen Reutebuch, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator of OSEP:
Dr. Colleen Reutebuch is a senior project manager, researcher, and Reading Institute co-director at MCPER. Dr. Reutebuch has experience managing large-scale intervention, evaluation, and professional development projects and teams. She has served as co-principal investigator and project director on multiple projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. She has directed and provided technical assistance and professional development to support projects funded by the Texas Education Agency. Dr. Reutebuch currently serves as external evaluator and co-principal investigator on Office of Special Education Programs-funded technical assistance and development grants, principal investigator of the external evaluation of the Lead for Literacy Center, and co-principal investigator on an Institute of Education Sciences Goal 2 grant. Dr. Reutebuch serves as a reviewer for Learning Disabilities Quarterly and has published articles and book chapters on reading and learning. She is a certified reading specialist and special education teacher in Texas, having taught in public schools and at the university level. Her research interests include instructional enhancements and teaching and coaching strategies.
Alexandra Shelton, Ph.D.
Dr. Alexandra Shelton is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Johns Hopkins University School of Education. She is also a former Faculty Specialist of Special Education in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education at the University of Maryland. Dr. Shelton’s work focuses on improving literacy instruction and intervention for secondary students with reading difficulties and disabilities via intensive intervention and teacher professional development and coaching. Given these research interests, Dr. Shelton currently directs both the IES and OSEP AIM Coaching projects. As a former high school special education teacher, she served students in the general and special education settings in English language arts, reading, math, and science.
Dr. Erin Hogan is a postdoctoral fellow at The University of Texas at Austin. She is a former classroom teacher who is committed to challenging persistent achievement patterns by preparing teachers who recognize and respond to inequities in curriculum, assessment, and classroom management through the use of evidence-based, culturally responsive instruction.
Blair Payne, BCBA
Graduate Research Assistant
Blair Payne is a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin and a graduate research assistant for MCPER. Before starting the doctoral program, Payne taught high school special education for 5 years. Her research interests include evidence-based practice implementation in general education, universal Tier 1 models, sustainable multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) practices, and academic and behavioral interventions for middle and high school students with comorbid disabilities.
Graduate Research Assistant
Rebecca Fisk is a first-year doctoral student at the University of Maryland. She is a certified and licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and continues to work with clients with disabilities, in particular to improve communication and social skills in schools and at home. Her research interests include coaching teachers and practitioners to implement developmentally appropriate and positive behavior support strategies in classrooms and group settings. She is also interested in early screening and identification of autism spectrum disorder in young children.
Tara Burke Johnston
Graduate Research Assistant
Tara Burke Johnston is a doctoral candidate in literacy education at the University of Maryland with teaching experience in elementary and college classrooms. She is a certified reading specialist and has experience with literacy coaching, reading intervention, and curriculum writing. Her dissertation focuses on the vocabulary knowledge and practices of kindergarten teachers.
Dr. Robin Sayers is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland. She recently completed a Ph.D. in educational psychology at The Ohio State University. Her primary research interests focus on young children’s relationships with teachers and peers and understanding individual differences in teacher relationships both in what affects their formation and their effects on learning and development. Additionally, Dr. Sayers’s work focuses on conducting practical and applicable research that supports educators in understanding and applying evidence-based practices in the classroom. Dr. Sayers is a former elementary teacher with experience teaching third and fifth grades and is passionate about supporting educators.
Dr. Kristabel Stark is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Maryland. Her research explores the working conditions and affective experiences of special educators. Through her research, Dr. Stark aims to identify the types of targeted training and support that special educators need to equitably and sustainably meet their students’ individualized goals.
Michelle Lambert-Yuhasz, M.Ed.
Project Coordinator: AIM Coaching OSEP Texas
Michelle Lambert-Yuhasz is a senior field trainer/analyst with MCPER. She has provided high-quality professional development and technical assistance at the state, district, and campus levels in assessment, response to intervention, leadership, and evidence-based literacy practices. With more than 23 years of experience in the field, she has worked closely with directors, administrators, instructional coaches, and teachers to build sustainability with literacy and overall instructional practices. She holds an M.Ed. in educational leadership and a B.S. in special education. Prior to her work with MCPER, she was a special education teacher and new-teacher mentor. Her commitment is to meet educators where they are and inspire and move them to grow in their instructional practices.
Research Advisory Council
Mary Brownell, Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform Center
The University of Florida
Greg Roberts, Ph.D.
Executive Director, the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts (VGC)
Associate Director, The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER)
Director, MCPER Dropout Prevention Institute
The University of Texas at Austin
Sharon Vaughn, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Special Education
Executive Director, MCPER and VGC
Manuel J. Justiz Endowed Chair in Math, Science, and Technology in Teacher Education
The University of Texas at Austin
Instructional Coach Advisory Board
Whitney Stuart Anderson, M.Ed.
Reading Specialist, Washington, DC
Katryna Andrusik, Ph.D.
Instructional Coach and Curriculum Coordinator, Washington, DC
Scott Carpenter, M.Ed.
Assistant Principal, Austin, TX
Katherine A.N. Gillies, M.A., M.Ed.
Reading Specialist, ELA Teacher and Education Author, Evanston, IL
Andrea Rashbaum, M.Ed.
Academic Consultant, Newark, DE
Sandra Salazar, M.Ed.
Active Learning Leader, El Paso, TX
Julie Soskolne, M.Ed.
Master Reading Teacher and Reading Specialist, IDEA Austin Regional Literacy Coach, Austin, TX