JumpStart 2021 Presenter Bios
About George Batsche, Ed.D., NCSP
Dr. George M. Batsche is Professor and Co-Director of the Institute for School Reform at the University of South Florida. He is Co-Director of the Florida Statewide Problem-Solving/Response to Intervention Project for the Florida Department of Education. In addition, Dr. Batsche co-directs the Student Support Services, Shared Services Network and Coordinated Student Health Projects for the Florida Department of Education. In 2018, we named the NASP Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
In the past 15 years, Dr. Batsche has received more than $30 million dollars in grants from the U.S. Department of Education, Florida Department of Education, and private foundations. Most of his work has focused on systems of implementing academic and behavior interventions for at-risk students.
Dr. Batsche's experience includes work as a university professor and researcher, school psychologist, district-level administrator, building principal and consultant to school districts and state agencies regarding implementation of problem-solving/response to intervention.
About Jennifer Freeman, Ph.D.
Dr. Jennifer Freeman is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and is a partner with the National Center on Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) and a research scientist for the Center for Behavioral Education Research (CBER) at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Freeman studies the effects of multi-tiered systems of support such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) on outcomes at the high school level for high-risk student groups including students with disabilities. She is particularly interested in improving graduation rates across and within student groups. She also studies professional development methods for improving teacher’s use of evidence based classroom management strategies. She currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the special education program. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Connecticut, she had 10 years of special education teaching experience across grades K-8 in both urban and rural school settings and had served as a K-12 district level consultant working to implement PBIS and Response to Intervention (RtI) strategies.
About Marilyn Friend, Ph.D.
Marilyn Friend, Ph.D., has been a general education teacher, special education teacher, researcher, professor, administrator, teacher educator, and staff developer. She is Professor Emerita of Education in the Department of Specialized Education Services at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Past President of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Dr. Friend has consulted with school professionals nationally and internationally as they collaborate to educate their students, through co-teaching, teaming, and other inclusive practices. She is the author or co-author of three widely used college textbooks on special education; many co-teaching materials for teachers and administrators; more than 60 articles about collaboration, inclusive practices, and co-teaching; and a video series on co-teaching and inclusive practices.
About Clara Hauth, Ph.D.
Dr. Clara Hauth joined Marymount University in 2014. Her experience includes both graduate and undergraduate instruction at George Mason University and James Madison University. Prior to coming to Marymount, she spent 10 years as a secondary special education teacher and E/BD department chair with programs for students with high incidence disabilities. She serves as a liaison with Virginia state programs supporting students with disabilities and assessment practices and is an active member of CEC. Dr. Hauth is passionate about instructing and preparing students for a career in the critical field of special education. She is involved in intervention research and promotes student engagement in the research process. She teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in the Department of Education and serves as an academic advisor for undergraduate students.
About Dorothy Jackson, Ph.D.
With 19 years of experience in education, Dr. Jackson has worked as a classroom teacher and a special educator, servicing students at the elementary level as well as in alternative settings. Dr. Jackson has also taught undergraduate composition and technical writing courses. She has facilitated staff workshops on conducting IEP meetings and classroom management. She is currently the assistant principal at Carter G. Woodson Elementary School in Crisfield, MD.
About Danielle Kovach, Ed.D.
After receiving her B.S. in special education and elementary education from Kutztown University, her childhood dream was fulfilled when she was hired as a special education teacher by the Hopatcong School District in Hopatcong, New Jersey. She currently is a third grade special education teacher at Tulsa Trail School in Hopatcong. Danielle went on to earn her first master’s degree in Special Education from East Stroudsburg University. Following that, she earned her second master’s degree in Educational Technology from New Jersey City University. In 2017, she completed her doctorate degree in special education from Walden University and is currently an adjunct professor for special education at Centenary University in Hackettstown, NJ. She is currently attending NJCU to complete her supervisor certification.
On October 6, 2010, the New Jersey State Board of Education named Danielle Kovach the 2011 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. Prior to that honor, Danielle was also named the 2011 Sussex County Teacher of the Year, as well as the 2011 Hopatcong Teacher of the Year. In 2012, Danielle was awarded a national teaching title, the National Education Association Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. Danielle was also recognized as the 2014 Council for Exceptional Children Teacher of the Year. CEC is pleased to have Danielle as our 2021 President Elect!
About Erica Lembke, Ph.D.
Erica Lembke is the Interim Dean of the MU College of Education, a Senior Advisor for the National Center on Intensive Intervention, past-president of the national board of the Division for Learning Disabilities, and editor of the journal Assessment for Effective Intervention.
Her research interests include helping support teachers in data-based decision making through designing and implementing Curriculum-Based Measures in elementary and secondary grades and developing strategies to improve elementary students’ literacy and mathematics performance. She is currently completing a Goal 2 IES grant to study early writing assessment and intervention. Prior to that, she has served as Co-PI on a federally funded Goal 5 IES grant, as well as garnering several smaller subcontracts and institutional grants.
About Catherine Creighton Martin, Ph.D.
Catherine Creighton Martin, Ph.D. is an experienced Special Education Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the public schools and universities. She is passionate about advocating for the needs of students with disabilities and their families, collaborating with community services and schools to enhance the inclusion of people with disabilities in society, sharing evidence-based practices with teachers and families, and participating in research that informs best practice. Skilled in teaching students with disabilities and managing behaviors, university teaching (including online classes), professional development, educational technology, instructional design, educational research, and advocacy. Dr. Creighton Martin is a strong education professional with a Ph. D. focused on Special Education, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Research Methods from George Mason University where she worked in an Institutes for Education Sciences Research grant investigating the effects of a Self-Regulated Strategy Development POW+TREE strategy on the writing skills of students with emotional disabilities. She was the recipient of a Special Education Doctoral Leadership Fellowship, Dr. Lucille G. Shandloff Memorial Endowed Scholarship, and McLean Women’s Club Scholarship
About Eric Rossen, Ph.D., NCSP
Dr. Rossen is a nationally certified school psychologist and licensed psychologist in Maryland. He has experience working in public schools as well as in independent practice, and is currently the director of professional development and standards for the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Dr. Rossen has published numerous manuscripts, three books, and presented nationally on issues related to school psychological practices, trauma, mental health, and school safety. He also has served as a college instructor and adjunct faculty at the University of Missouri and Prince George’s Community College in Maryland.
He has presented across the US and internationally, and published dozens of articles and book chapters related to school psychology, school safety, and trauma. He is most recently the editor of Supporting and Educating Traumatized Students: A Guide for School-Based Professionals, 2nd Edition, and co-author of the book Applying a Trauma- Informed Framework to The IEP Process: From Referral to Development.
About Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach, Ph.D.
Kelly Vaillancourt, Ph.D. is the Director of Government Relations for the National Association of School Psychologists, where she works collaboratively with public policy makers, educational and health professionals, and elected officials to advocate for the importance and value of school psychology, school psychologists and school psychological services. She also represents NASP on a number of coalitions working to advocate for public policies and practices that support NASP’s mission. Prior to joining the NASP staff in 2011, Kelly spent seven years practicing as a school psychologist in Loudoun County Public Schools (VA). Dr. Strobach has developed, authored, and coauthored numerous articles and resources, including NASP's Framework for Safe and Successful Schools and has presented nationally on issues related to school safety, school mental health, effective discipline policies, and the relationship between education policy and school practices.
Kareem L. Thompson, Ed.D
For over nineteen years, Kareem has served as an educator of students of all ages and with a wide range of unique abilities. He currently serves full time as a middle school assistant principal in Boynton Beach, Florida, overseeing school wide curriculum, professional development, science and exceptional student education (ASD & InD Units).
In addition to his K-12 commitments, Dr. Thompson serves as adjunct professor for the last 13 years at Palm Beach State College and last 4 years at Lynn University and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).
Mitchell Yell, Ph.D.
Mitchell Yell earned his Ph.D. in Education Psychology from the University of Minnesota. He is currently the Fred and Francis Lester Palmetto Chair in Teacher Education at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Yell has extensive experience teaching students with mild disabilities using evidence-based practices, special education law, progress monitoring, IEP development, classroom management. His primary area of research and writing is on IEP development, legal issues in special education, classroom management, progress monitoring, and evidence-based practices in special education. He also serves as a state review officer in South Carolina, where he reviews appeals of rulings by due process hearing officers and frequently serves as an expert witness in special education cases. Dr. Yell is a current Board of Directors member for the Council for Exceptional Children.