Early Learning

Susan Washburn

Email Susan Washburn

Descriptors (Bodies of Work): 

Photo: 

Susan Washburn

First name: 

Susan

Last name: 

Washburn

Bio: 

Susan Washburn designs and delivers research-based professional learning that raises the bar for early childhood teachers and positively impacts child outcomes, particularly for young children at-risk for educational failure. She directs two projects in Rhode Island: the Center for Early Learning Professionals, Rhode Island’s training and technical assistance system for early childhood educators, and the State PreK PD/TA Project, the Rhode Island Department of Education’s Preschool Development Grant program. Washburn leads the effort to create a high-quality professional development system that aligns with related state initiatives and enhances educators’ instructional practices, leading to improved outcomes for children.

Previously, Washburn was Director of the Rhode Island and Maine Training and Technical Assistance Projects, part of the Head Start national network. In this role she built the capacities of Head Start, child care, public school pre-K programs, and statewide stakeholder groups in the areas of supervision, professional development, child assessment, and early literacy, including supporting dual language learners. She also served as EDC’s liaison to the Office of Head Start for these projects.

Washburn led three projects for the U.S. Department of Education Early Reading First initiative, implementing comprehensive systems change to support public schools, Head Start, and child care programs to advance their early learning and literacy practices. She is lead curriculum developer for EDC’s research-based, credit-bearing Excellence in Teaching (EIT) professional development program for early childhood teachers and supervisors. She co-developed and teaches EIT’s Literacy Environment Enrichment Program (LEEP) and Supporting Preschoolers with Language Differences (SPLD). She was principal developer of the supervisor strand of LEEP.

Washburn co-developed and teaches the two-credit, online course Foundations of Supervision for Early Childhood Managers, which provides child care, Head Start, and pre-K program directors and supervisors with effective techniques that improve early education.

She is coauthor of “Instructional Coaching: Helping Preschool Teachers Reach Their Full Potential,” a synthesis of effective coaching strategies based on EDC’s experiences in six Early Reading First projects across the country. She is a contributing author of “Supporting English Learners in Preschool Classrooms,” a research article detailing the implementation and evaluation of a professional development intervention designed to build teachers’ capacity to promote the language and literacy development of young English learners.

Before joining EDC, Washburn was a teacher, supervisor, and education manager in local Head Start programs and a consultant for the Region I Administration for Children and Families.

Washburn received her BS in Child Development and Family Relations from the University of Rhode Island.

Staff: 

Non-Staff Profile

Job title: 

Project Director II

Program: 

Early Learning and Development

Mailing Address: 

535 Centerville Road, Suite 201
Warwick, RI 02886

Telephone: 

401-734-1286

Diane Schilder

Email Diane Schilder

Descriptors (Bodies of Work): 

Photo: 

Diane Schilder

First name: 

Diane

Last name: 

Schilder

Bio: 

Diane Schilder leads research, evaluation, and policy analysis initiatives that advance knowledge of innovative, effective approaches to promoting young children’s school readiness and success. Her work focuses on child care, early education, and K–12 education programs and policies, with a special emphasis on closing opportunity gaps for children and youth, especially racial and ethnic minorities, children who are dual-language learners, and those living in low-income families.

Schilder currently serves as a senior technical assistance specialist for the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes. In this role, she works closely with state education agencies and U.S. Department of Education-funded technical assistance providers to support actions that will enhance early learning outcomes. She also serves as Principal Investigator for EDC’s Child Care Quality and Collaboration study.

As an EDC Principal Investigator, Schilder has led dozens of research and evaluation studies including the recently completed Illinois Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge Evaluation and the Washington Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Evaluation funded by the BUILD Initiative. Previously, she served as Principal Investigator of the Pre-Kindergarten Impact Study, numerous longitudinal studies of child care/Head Start/Pre-Kindergarten partnerships, an evaluation of an Early Reading First project, and a number of evaluations of the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) that resulted in publications including a report of findings from the pilot evaluation, a standards study, and a review of research on quality child care. Dr. Schilder previously served as senior advisor to the Rwanda Language, Literacy and Early Learning project.

Schilder is the author and co-author of chapters, articles, reports, and briefs focused on the effectiveness of early childhood policies and programs. A few of her recent publications include Early Childhood Teacher Education Policies: Research Review and State TrendsQuality Rating and Improvement Systems: Stakeholder Theories of Change and Models of Practice, "Head Start/Child Care Partnerships: Program Characteristics and Classroom Quality" (Early Childhood Education Journal), and Perspectives on the Impact of Pre-K Expansion. In 2016, she contributed a chapter on accountability in early childhood education to the SAGE Encyclopedia of Contemporary Early Childhood Education.

Before joining EDC, Schilder was a Senior Policy Analyst at the Harvard Family Research Project and served as a Senior Evaluator at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, leading evaluations of education programs including studies of elementary and secondary interventions.

Schilder received a BA from Ohio State University, an MA in Education and Human Development, and an EdD in Education Administration and Policy Studies from George Washington University.

 

Staff: 

Staff Profile

Job title: 

Principal Research Scientist

Program: 

Early Learning and Development

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313

Telephone: 

617-618-2757

Steven Shuman

Email Steven Shuman

Descriptors (Bodies of Work): 

Photo: 

Steven Shuman

First name: 

Steven

Last name: 

Shuman

Bio: 

Steven Shuman, an expert in child development, health, and technical assistance, supports program leaders in ensuring young children's well-being and school readiness. For decades, he has worked to improve early childhood education and public health, led community and state level programs, trained educators, created materials, developed policy, and helped child-and-family focused agencies reach levels of excellence.

Shuman serves as a Training and Technical Assistance Specialist for the Head Start National Center on Health and Wellness (NCECHW), a partnership between EDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Georgetown University, Child Care Aware of America, Nemours, and University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management. Prior to working in NCH, Shuman was part of the Project LAUNCH TA team—assisting Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)-funded grantees in improving mental health care for children birth to age eight.

A frequent presenter at national early childhood conferences, Shuman is the coauthor of Growing Up Healthy; Relationships, Resiliency, and Readiness: Building a System of Early Care and Education Mental Health Services; and "Preventing Challenging Behaviors Targeting LGBT Children and Their Families.

Shuman is the Co-Facilitator of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interest Forum of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and a reviewer for the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care. He has served on the boards of the Boston, New England, and Massachusetts Associations for the Education of Young Children; as an advisor to the Committee on Health & Safety Practices at the Schott Fellowship in Early Care & Education and National Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultants; and as a member of the Breastfeeding Expert Work Group, Early Head Start National Resource Center.

Before joining EDC, Shuman was a Health Content Expert for the Region I Head Start Quality Initiative at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. Previously, he worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where he led many child health initiatives and was instrumental in collaborations throughout New England.

Shuman received the Abigail Eliot Distinguished Leadership Award from the Boston Association for the Education of Young Children, the David Giveans Award from the LGBT Interest Forum of NAEYC, and the first Steve Shuman Support of Men In Early Education and Care Award from the New England Association for the Education of Young Children.

He received his BA from Emerson College and has studied at Colby College, Wheelock College graduate programs, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Staff: 

Non-Staff Profile

Job title: 

Senior Training and Technical Assistance Associate

Program: 

Early Learning and Development

Mailing Address: 

1735 Capri Circle
Palm Springs, California 92264

Telephone: 

617-618-2751

Jessica Young

Email Jessica Young

Descriptors (Bodies of Work): 

Photo: 

Jessica Young

First name: 

Jessica

Last name: 

Young

Bio: 

Jessica Mercer Young is dedicated to providing equitable learning opportunities for all children, with a particular focus on vulnerable and at-risk populations. An expert in child development, her research focuses on the intersection of developmental science and early childhood education, investigating the ways in which families, teachers, and schools promote children’s mastery motivation—persistence at challenging tasks, mathematics learning, and problem-solving skills.  Her work provides new insights into early childhood learning and teaching, with an emphasis on the link between teachers’ mathematics anxiety and beliefs about learning to child outcomes.

Currently, Young and co-Principal Investigator (PI) Kristen Reed are leading a National Science Foundation-funded study, Games for Young Mathematicians, that is examining the potential of a game-based professional development intervention to promote children’s mastery motivation and mathematics learning. The intervention facilitates teachers’ understanding of children’s mathematics development using developmentally appropriate, challenging, mathematics games and activities, and gives them effective strategies, using mathematics games and activities, to support children’s growth mindset and persistence. 

Young is also co-PI, with Reed and Heidi Rosenberg, of two projects funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation, Family Engagement in Early Mathematics and the Teacher Practices Observation Study. These projects examine how a professional development model can support teachers in engaging families in early mathematics activities through at-home games and mathematics mini-books that align with the mathematics games teachers are using in the classroom.

She is also an expert on the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO PreK) toolkit; leading Train-the-trainer seminars and professional development institutes across the country.

Young has coauthored publications on mastery motivation, early childhood mathematics education and teacher professional development, including “Mother-child Interaction as a Predictor of Mastery Motivation,” “Play Games, Learn Math! Explore Numbers and Counting with Dot Card and Finger Games,”Mastery Motivation: Persistence and Problem Solving in Preschool,” and “ Use of a Storytelling Context to Improve Girls' and Boys' Geometry Skills in Kindergarten” and “Building a Classroom Community that Supports English Learners in Preschool”. In addition, Young and her colleagues have created resources for teachers and parents that are available on the Young Mathematicians website.

Before joining EDC, Young taught preschool.  She received a BA in psychology from Boston College, an EdM in human development and psychology from Harvard University, and a PhD in applied developmental and educational psychology from Boston College.

 

Staff: 

Non-Staff Profile

Job title: 

Research Scientist

Program: 

Early Learning and Development

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313

Telephone: 

617-618-2728

Cindy Hoisington

Email Cindy Hoisington

Descriptors (Bodies of Work): 

Photo: 

Cynthia Hoisington

First name: 

Cindy

Last name: 

Hoisington

Bio: 

Cindy Hoisington believes that authentic, cognitively challenging science experiences can be transformative for young children and their teachers. She brings to her work more than 20 years of experience teaching young children, developing educational materials, and instructing and mentoring early childhood teachers in language, literacy, and science education.

At EDC, she focuses on instructing and mentoring preschool teachers in science education research projects, and she has contributed to the development of inquiry-based science curricula and mentoring protocols as well as to teacher, classroom, and child science assessments. Currently, she is part of EDC’s team working on a four-year, $3 million U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) project, Literacy and Academic Success for English Learners through Science (LASErS). Her previous work was on the Cultivating Young Scientists (CYS) project funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. (Read blog posts by Hoisington about her work with the National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) Early Childhood Science Interest Forum and combatting implicit bias in the STEM classroom.)

Hoisington has directed projects aimed at getting children and adults exploring outdoors together; helping teachers use educational television to facilitate science learning; and supporting low-literacy families to scaffold children’s language development through everyday science explorations. She has customized science trainings for the State of Maryland, Family Place Libraries, United Way of Miami-Dade, University of Northern Iowa, National Education Association, National Head Start Association, and the Iowa Department of Education, and collaborated with the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.

Hoisington also develops and advises on digital media initiatives aimed at promoting STEM for children, families, and teachers. She is currently part of EDC’s Ready to Learn team working with PBS. Previously she was the science advisor for the Emmy-winning educational television series Curious George, for which she received recognition from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She has also developed online science materials for Peep and the Big Wide World and The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That!

Among other publications, Hoisington is the author of “Implicit bias in the STEM classroom; how to start tackling the biases that hold students back in STEM,” and “Picturing What’s Possible—Portraits of Science Inquiry in Early Childhood Classrooms;” and coauthor of “Gimme an E! Seven strategies for supporting the ‘E’ in young children’s STEM learning; Supporting children’s science learning through water explorations”; “Building a classroom community that supports English learners in preschool”;  "Foundations of Science Literacy:  Efficacy of a Preschool Professional Development Program in Science on Classroom Instruction, Teachers' Pedagogical Content Knowledge, and Children's Observations and Predictions," “The Science and Mathematics of Building Structures,” “A Walk in the Woods: A Partnership with an Arboretum Gets Preschoolers Outside and into Science,” and "The Importance of Executive Function in Early Science Education."

Before joining EDC, she was a preschool teacher and education supervisor for ABCD Head Start in Boston, where she gained a deep appreciation for the complex challenges faced by children and families in poverty and the teachers who work with them.

Hoisington received a BS in biology from the University of Massachusetts and an MEd from Bridgewater State College. She has done post-graduate work in math and science education at University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Staff: 

Non-Staff Profile

Job title: 

Senior Curriculum/Instructional Design Associate

Program: 

Early Learning and Development

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313

Telephone: 

617-618-2823

Jacqueline Bourassa

Email

Descriptors (Bodies of Work): 

Photo: 

Jacqueline Bourassa

First name: 

Jacqueline

Last name: 

Bourassa

Bio: 

Jacqueline Bourassa has a special focus on enhancing literacy instruction as a vehicle for school improvement. Currently, she is working to advance the translation of research into practice to help teachers refine instructional practice and administrators implement school reform.

As Project Manager for Literacy and Academic Success for English Learners through Science (LASErS), a multi-year project funded by the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund, Bourassa oversees day-to-day operations and leads school and community outreach by working with foundations, donors, and the project’s Leadership Alliance. She continues to facilitate the Early Childhood Education Research Alliance for the REL Northeast & Islands at EDC. In this capacity, she brings together early childhood stakeholders to create a shared research agenda that will ultimately improve the lives of young children (birth through age 8). For EDC's Center for Early Learning Professionals, she oversees the professional development approval process.

Recently, Bourassa facilitated the revision of Rhode Island’s draft Early Learning Standards (birth through age 5) and the development of the state’s Comprehensive Literacy Plan. As the EDC project director for the New York Comprehensive Center, she managed a staff of experts whose mission was to develop the capacity of the New York State Education Department and its networks and agencies to assist districts and schools in improving achievement outcomes for all students.

Bourassa has developed instructional sequences, scripts, participant materials, and a facilitator’s guide for Blended Learning Modules (BLM) for Literacy that are in use internationally. She also co-developed planning guides and materials for Teaching Literacy, Pakistan’s Pre-STEP course for literacy instruction. (Read a blog post by Bourassa about the guides and materials.)

Before joining EDC, Bourassa worked at the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education where she cultivated deep knowledge of both research-based literacy initiatives and the change process that supports successful implementation. As a literacy specialist in the Office of Instruction, she provided leadership and oversight for several reform initiatives and served as State Coordinator for Reading First. She has taught literacy education courses at the University of Rhode Island working with both graduate and undergraduate students preparing to become teachers.

She received a BS and an MEd from Rhode Island College and an EdD from LaSalle University.

Staff: 

Non-Staff Profile

Job title: 

Senior Curriculum/Instructional Design Associate

Program: 

Early Learning and Development

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313

Telephone: 

617-618-2752

Shelley Pasnik

Email Shelley Pasnik

Descriptors (Bodies of Work): 

Photo: 

Shelley Pasnik

First name: 

Shelley

Last name: 

Pasnik

Bio: 

Shelley Pasnik leads a team that advances knowledge of how the thoughtful use of technology can support educators in enhancing learning, engaging families, and closing opportunity gaps. Her long-term research on young children and technology is providing evidence of effective strategies to foster school readiness and success—especially for young children living in impoverished communities—that is helping inform policy-making and practice in the U.S. and around the world.

Since 2006, Pasnik has served as the Principal Investigator of studies that are examining the impact of Ready To Learn, a federal program that uses transmedia to improve the literacy and STEM skills of children in high-need communities. She has published findings from this research in an extensive series of reports—including, most recently, Reflections on the Ready To Learn Initiative—and journal articles (e.g., The Journal of Children and Media and Early Childhood Research Quarterly). She also shares insights from this work at national forums (e.g., White House Symposium on Early STEM Learning and 2016 Fostering STEM Trajectories) and the conferences of organizations such as American Educational Research Association, Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Pasnik and her team collaborate with the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, PBS, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, MIT Media Lab, MOUSE, Benton Foundation, SRI International, IBM, NySci, WGBH, Thirteen/WNET, Carnegie Hall, Global Kids, New America, Sesame Workshop/Joan Ganz Cooney Center, and IBM, among others. Currently, she sits on advisory boards for Apple ConnectEd and Games for Change; previously, she was a board member for Global Action Project (2003–2013).

Throughout her career, Pasnik has developed resources and written articles to support parents and educators in weaving technology-enhanced explorations into learning in the classroom and at home. These include the Parents Guide to Children and Media for PBS, a series of articles for Cable in the Classroom, and features for Discovery Education. She speaks frequently to national and local journalists and blogs for organizations such as Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning & Children’s Media and Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

Follow Pasnik on Twitter.

Staff: 

Non-Staff Profile

Job title: 

Vice President and Director

Program: 

Center for Children and Technology

Mailing Address: 

96 Morton Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10014

Telephone: 

(212) 807-4255

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Early Learning