Program Area News Roundup

Curious about what is happening in the Curry School program from which you earned your degree?  Here’s your chance to learn what’s happening across the school’s breadth of study areas.

Educational Leadership

The Educational Leadership program area is extending its reach in northern Virginia with the addition of our newest faculty member, Denny Berry, Ph.D.  She is an educator with extensive experience as a teacher, school leader, and central office leader. Most recently, she served as the Director of Cluster VI in Fairfax County Public Schools, with responsibility for over 24,000 students and 2,500 staff members. In addition, she has worked closely with the Learning Forward organization (formerly the National Staff Development Council).

In a consulting capacity, she brings her expertise in instructional coaching and leading professional learning communities to school systems nationwide.  Her depth of experience and professional stature had been a magnet for high-caliber faculty and students alike in our leadership preparation programs offered through the Falls Church Center. She is offering rigor and relevance to program design and delivery in educational leadership.

Under her direction, the redesigned Ed.D, Executive Studies in Educational Leadership (ExSEL) program, has returned to northern Virginia, in addition to open enrollment courses and an alternative license program with Fairfax County. The Curry School welcomes Dr. Berry to our faculty.

Curriculum and Instruction

The Curriculum and Instruction program is changing and growing! The program name is changing to Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning to better reflect contemporary knowledge about the learning sciences. We are also expanding by welcoming two new faculty members joining the program in January 2014. Patricia Ann (Tish) Jennings focuses her work in the areas related to the social and emotional contexts of learning and mindfulness-based practices that reduce teacher stress and burnout and improve learning environments. (She will also teach in the elementary education program.) Peter Youngs specializes in educational policy effects on teaching and learning, including how these policies influence teachers’ classroom practices and retention.

Gifted and Talented Education

In the area of Gifted and Talented education we have ventured into the arena of online courses for serving the needs of teachers seeking to earn an add-on endorsement in gifted education. The four courses that meet the state requirements in Virginia for endorsement are now all available in a format allowing teachers to take the class at any time of day or night in fall, spring, or summer sessions of the academic year. The classes are being offered at the graduate level so may also be applied to degree programs. For further information go to

Research, Statistics and Evaluation

The RSE program has two new faculty members. Vivian C. Wong is an assistant professor, whose research focuses on evaluating interventions in early childhood and K-12 systems. As a methodologist, her expertise is in improving the design, implementation and analysis of randomized experiments, regression-discontinuity, interrupted time series, and matching designs in field settings. Along with colleagues, she recently published a paper on regression-discontinuity designs when multiple assignment variables and cutoffs are available, as well as a paper that uses a regression-discontinuity design to evaluate five state pre-kindergarten programs. She is currently examining sorting issues in regression-discontinuity designs, as well as using within-study comparison designs to identify best methods for prospectively choosing comparison schools in education evaluation contexts.

Ji Hoon Ryoo, assistant professor, received his Ph.D. in quantitative methods in education at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 2010. His research interests are longitudinal/multilevel data analysis, structural equation modeling, and educational policy/program evaluation. His current research focus is on topics of measurement invariance in measures of effective teaching, latent transition analysis in bullying/victimization statuses, and multilevel structural equation modeling in the effects of school principal time-use. Since 2012, he has taught educational statistics, multilevel (or hierarchical) modeling, and structural equation modeling courses at the Curry.

Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science

The EP-ADS program is growing and expanding. A group of faculty including Joanna Lee Williams, Jennifer LoCasale-Crouch, Natalia Palacios, Sara Rimm-Kaufman, Diane Whaley, and Jessica Whittaker have been expanding and growing the master’s program.  It is a 12-month, on-Grounds program that includes courses in statistics, methods, and applied developmental science; a hands-on internship experience; a comprehensive exam; and high quality advising to help students launch their professional careers. Starting in fall 2013, Eileen Merritt joined the faculty to guide our cohort of eight students through the one-year program. The 2013-2014 cohort of students is remarkably interesting and diverse, and it’s exciting to see them engage in rich learning experiences here at UVA.

The EP-ADS doctoral program continues to thrive. The faculty includes 20 core or affiliated members. The EP-ADS students continue to be funded through the Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) program, a pre-doctoral training program funded through the Institute for Education Sciences. Currently, a diverse group of 12 doctoral students is enrolled. In addition to coursework and teaching, all doctoral students engage in research mentorship experiences at least 20 hours a week. Their research topics range broadly and include the development of executive functioning in early childhood, the coaching process as part of professional development for early childhood teachers, and the development of intercultural competence in children and adolescents. The faculty fully enjoys hearing about the work of our alumni and we welcome you all to be in touch.


The reading program area at Curry is known for teaching, research, and service, the three pillars of academia.  It operates the oldest reading clinic in the country (McGuffey Reading Center) and is the home of the state’s Early Literacy Assessment, PALS.  Last spring Latisha Hayes, assistant professor, was named director of the McGuffey Reading Center.  She operated the successful summer camps for preschoolers in our clinic for the second summer, in addition to the regular summer intervention tutoring.  This year she and our America Reads coordinator, Donna Lewis-Wagner, are directing intervention clinics in local elementary schools by contract.

Also last spring, Marcia Invernizzi, Henderson Professor of Education, was awarded a second large grant from the Institute for Education Sciences to continue her work with the development of PALS español.  At about the same time, Invernizzi was named U.Va.’s Innovator of the Year, the first Curry faculty member to receive this honor.

In addition to clinical services and research, the reading program area outreach faculty has developed and manages the largest outreach effort of the school—teaching 20 graduate classes each semester that serve teachers across the state and beyond.  They are currently enrolling on-line students for the new Reading Specialist certificate program, geared for teachers who already hold the master’s degree and who want to add the K12 reading endorsement to their teaching licenses.

Special Education

Members of the faculty in special education have been active on many fronts. Paige C. Pullen, who recently received a joint appointment in U.Va.’s School of Medicine, has been pursuing a special project helping young children with disabilities in Zambia gain access to basic educational services and health care. Tina Stanton-Chapman received notice during the summer that she, Stan Trent, and LaVae Hoffman were awarded a doctoral training grant to promote the preparation of doctoral students specializing in early intervention, early childhood education, and multicultural education for young children with disabilities.

Meanwhile, Curry’s newest special education faculty member, Michael Kennedy, has been working apace on his specialty, Content Acquisition Podcasts (CAPs). He received an early career grant to support his work. He and Paige Pullen (along with a host of graduate students and colleagues from other institutions) received the 2013 Outstanding Publication Award from the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children for one of their experiments in this series of studies.

Teacher and student teacherTeacher Education

Students accepted into the dual degree Teacher Education program at Curry (TEd@Curry) begin active learning experiences from day one. At any given moment in the academic year, over 300 Curry students are out in community schools tutoring struggling readers and English language learner students, working in AVID classrooms (a college readiness program), and volunteering their time in other meaningful ways (coaching or one-on-one mentoring).

A foundational belief of TEd@Curry is that while in our program, our students should always be in schools, working with preK-12 students, being mentored by classroom teachers, and receiving ongoing feedback from faculty.  Internships are offered locally as well as through urban charter schools in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, OH, and Houston, TX and global experiences in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Cambridge, England.

TEd@Curry faculty members are assessing a new model of fieldwork oversight that allows a supervisor to coach a student through a video-recorded lesson delivered in real-time.  Through an online format, students are immersed in researched-based terminology to describe what works by using their own experiences.  This modality will enable us to explore expanding our global reach to Australia and other continents.

Secondary Education

The Secondary Education Group welcomes three new professors this fall. Frackson Mumba, associate professor, our new Science educator, comes to us from Southern Illinois University and has already revived connections with the science departments across Grounds.  An expert in problem-based and inquiry science teaching, Professor Mumba’s extensive research incorporates technological applications into science pedagogy.

Vivien Chabalengula, associate professor, whose expertise runs across both elementary and secondary science settings, is currently working with the elementary science program and the Lab School project at Buford Middle School.  Her extensive research looks at both preservice and in-service teachers’ attitudes and scientific understandings.

As a recent Curry Ph.D., Natasha Heny, assistant professor, is a knowledgeable addition and is working with teaching associates and University Supervisors and is preparing for the spring methods class.

As our secondary group works on program development and alignment, the contributions of Professors Mumba, Chabalengula, and Heny are evident and support the cross-disciplinary problem solving we do together.

Elementary Education

Two new faculty members are coming on board in the coming year. Dr. Jennings comes to Curry from Pennsylvania State University and will join our faculty in spring 2014 (she will also teach in the Curriculum, Teaching, & Learning program). She will have a dual appointment with the newly formed U.Va. Contemplative Sciences Center. Dr. Julie Cohen recently earned her doctorate from Stanford University and will join our faculty in fall 2014.

Education Policy

The Education Policy program is expanding.  Ben Castleman, assistant professor, joined the program after completing his doctoral degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  His research focuses on the use of behavioral nudges to improve education attainment.  For example, in one project students are sent personalized text messages providing them with reminders and advise about preparing for college. Dr. Castleman has received funding and recognition for this work from a variety of sources, including a recent grant from the Kresge Foundation.  He is a recipient of a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship and a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. He is a Lumina Foundation/Institute for Higher Education Policy Academic Fellow, and is a recipient of the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders award, given annually by The Association of American Colleges and Universities. His research has been featured on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, as well as in Time Magazine, USA Today, and the Huffington Post.

Allison Atteberry joined the Education Policy program as a Research Assistant Professor.  She received her Ph.D. from Stanford and was an IES-sponsored Post-Doctoral Fellow at U.Va. before her current appointment.  Dr. Atteberry is engaged in a number of research projects, including in-depth analyses of Teacher Incentive Fund grants to Henrico County Public Schools and Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia.  She was recently designated as an Emerging Education Policy Scholar by the Thomas Fordham Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

Social Foundations of Education

In Social Foundations, a new community-based, student-run journal will be launched in spring 2014. To be named Cypher: A Journal for the Social Foundations of Education, the journal is the first of its kind in the field of Social Foundations and will be targeted to and written by educators, poets, artists, and humanists.

The inaugural issue will be devoted to social movements that highlight education as a vehicle for social change. The second issue will invite submissions that respond to an open-ended question: What is the most pressing issue in the field of K-12 and/or higher education, locally, nationally, or internationally?

Each issue will be devoted to a particular topic or theme pre-selected by the editors and included in the call for submissions. For more information, contact Chrissie Monaghan at cem6k at

Communication Disorders

LaVae Hoffman was promoted to associate professor this past year. LaVae teaches Phonetics, Language Disorders I and Cognitive/Linguistic Development courses. She regu­larly publishes her research on specific-language impairment, psychometric measurement, and clinical interventions. Indeed, LaVae is a national leader in our scientific discipline and in our clinical profession.

The entire Communication Disorders faculty is an integrated team, and together we have accom­plished many large and significant goals. As for the development of our program, we now receive 300 applicants to our masters program each year, and their credentials are outstanding. For instance, it is now common to receive a handful of applicants who already hold a master’s degree in another field.

The undergraduate program continues to grow in accordance with our strategic plan. The undergraduate census is at 60-plus, and the plan is to grow to 80 in the next three years. Furthermore, the program continues to develop new undergrad courses and market those new offerings accordingly.

Clinical & School Psychology

Edith “Winx” Lawrence has been awarded two new grants this fall to support a new initiative in the Young Women Leaders Program and to research the program’s effectiveness. A $25,000 grant from Alcoa will fund a technology initiative that brings together the Curry School, the U.Va. School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Charlottesville City and Albemarle County Schools. The YWLP Tech initiative will pilot curriculum that allows girls and their college student mentors the hands-on opportunity to plan, develop, and market engineered-designed products using advanced manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing.

Lawrence and a team of Curry colleagues will receive $300,000 over three years from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to conduct a long-term follow up study on adolescent girls’ social and emotional outcomes from YWLP.  Previously, this team received a $500,000 Department of Education grant to research the effects of YWLP immediately after the mentees completed the program in seventh grade. Now, they will look at these same girls five years later, when they are seniors in high school, and compare them to a control group of girls who have not completed the program.

Counselor Education

The leadership of the Counselor Education program by Antoinette Thomas, associate professor, over the past year has continued to solidify the program’s focus on school counseling, career counseling, and promoting educational equity. Dr. Thomas clearly defined initiatives and streamlined course offerings, while maintaining the program’s extensive history of national accreditation through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

An annual school counseling summit at the Curry School has been established with Dr. Thomas’ support and the creativity and initiative of Paul Harris, assistant professor. The purpose of the summit, which will be held on Nov. 4 from 12-3 p.m. in Bavaro Hall, is to promote educational equity, access, and social justice in schools.

Dr. Thomas turned over the leadership of the program to Derick Williams, assistant professor, in July 2013. As program area director, he works to continue the program’s mission, which is now expressed by a newly adopted motto, “Inspire, Create, Transform.”


This fall the U.Va. Board of Visitors approved a new Department of Kinesiology within the Curry School, adding a fourth department to the school’s structure that last changed in 1996. Arthur L. Weltman, professor of exercise physiology, was named the inaugural depart­ment chair.

Departmental status enables academic and research offerings in the field of kinesiology to thrive and grow, increases visibility and external recognition, and enables the faculty and staff to plan future growth. It also enables faculty to engage more fluidly in the kind of cross-unit, interdisciplinary research that further advances the aims of the school and University.

One of the immediate goals for the department is to review and further enhance the under­graduate and graduate programs in kinesiology. The faculty will undertake both an internal and external review to help in identifying the resources needed to maintain our stature as one of the top kinesiology programs in the country.

More Curry news and program area information.

Photo by Tamara Reynolds.