Robert C. Pianta, Ph.D., is Dean of the Curry School of Education, Director of the Center for Advanced Study in Teaching and Learning and Novartis U.S. Foundation Professor of Education at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. A former special education teacher, Dr. Pianta is a developmental, school, and clinical child psychologist whose work focuses on assessment and improvement of teacher-student interactions and their role in fostering children's learning and development.
Dr. Pianta is a principal investigator on several major grants including the National Center for Research in Early Childhood Education and the Virginia Education Sciences Training Program, and he has worked closely with the Gates Foundation-funded Measure of Effective Teaching project.
He is the author of more than 250 journal articles, chapters, and books in the areas of early childhood education, teacher performance assessment, professional development, and teacher child relationships, and he consults regularly with federal agencies, foundations and universities.
Karen M. La Paro, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. La Paro teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in theory and research as well as supervises practicum students in early childhood classrooms. Her areas of research relate to issues of quality in early childhood classrooms and the development of effective teachers. This work addresses critical needs in supervision, support, and reflection of preservice teacher development, and she has authored several peer-reviewed manuscripts in these areas. Dr. La Paro works on both research and community projects focused on professional development for both in-service and preservice teachers utilizing innovative strategies for supervision, coaching, and mentoring. She spent several years as research faculty with The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care as well as the National Center for Early Development and Learning at the University of Virginia.
Bridget K. Hamre, Ph.D., is Research Associate Professor in the Curry School of Education and Associate Director of University of Virginiaa s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). Dr. Hamrea s areas of expertise include student teacher relationships and classroom processes that promote positive academic and social development for young children, and she has authored numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts on these topics. This work documents the ways in which early teacher child relationships are predictive of later academic and social development and the ways in which exposure to high-quality classroom social and instructional interactions may help close the achievement gap for students at risk of school failure.
Dr. Hamre leads efforts to use the CLASS tool as an assessment, accountability, and professional development tool in early childhood and other educational settings. Most recently, she was engaged in the development and testing of interventions designed to improve the quality of teachersa interactions with students, including MyTeachingPartner and a 14-week course developed for early childhood teachers. Dr. Hamre received her bachelora s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her mastera s degree and doctorate in clinical and school psychology from the University of Virginia.
Jennifer LoCasale-Crouch, Ph.D. is a research assistant professor at the University of Virginia's Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). Her areas of expertise in which she has authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts include classroom observation, supporting children's successful transition to kindergarten, professional development that supports teachers' effective classroom interactions and ways to implement such supports with high degrees of fidelity.
Dr. LoCasale-Crouch has worked with the Office of Head Start in training staff to implement the roll out of CLASS, and also has worked with multiple Head Start grantees across the country in their kindergarten transition planning development. Dr. LoCasale-Crouch is also a co-investigator on three recently funded IES grants designed to enhance the supportive ways teachers interact with children, particularly those at-risk. Dr. LoCasale-Crouch received her bachelor and master's degrees from the Florida State University, and her doctorate in risk and prevention in education sciences from the University of Virginia.
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