Project Team

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Bob Algozzine is a Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership. Dr. Algozzine is listed as a highly-cited researcher in the ISI Web of Knowledge database [ISIHighlyCited.com] which highlights the top 250 preeminent individual researchers in each of 21 subject categories who have demonstrated great influence in their field as measured by citations to their work. Dr. Algozzine is widely known for his writing on critical issues in the field of special education, assessment and evaluation, team-initiated problem solving, inclusion, and effective teaching practices.

Kate Algozzine is a Research Associate in the Department of Educational Leadership. Ms. Algozzine has been a general education and special education teacher and a college instructor for more than 30 years in public and private schools and universities. She has extensive experience providing professional development for preschool administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals in school and community-based programs.

Vivian I. Correa joined the faculty in January 2011 and is a Professor in the Department of Special Education and Child Development. Dr. Correa received her PhD in Early Childhood Special Education from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1982. Dr. Correa’s areas of expertise are in early childhood special education (ECSE), culturally responsive teaching, instruction of young English learners, involving Latino families in ECSE, and unified teacher education.

Mark D’Amico is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership. Dr. D’Amico served for 15 years as a higher education administrator in the community college and university sectors, most recently as Executive Assistant to the President of the South Carolina Technical College System. Dr. D’Amico’s research is primarily focused community college student success and the community college role in workforce development.

Katherine (Katie) Swart is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Special Education and Child Development. Ms. Swart received her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her B.S. from West Virginia University. She has worked as an itinerant preschool teacher for exceptional children in addition to teaching in early childhood preschool settings in Charlotte and New Jersey. Ms. Swart is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Special Education and her primary areas of focus are early intervention (EI) and early childhood special education (ECSE).

Kristi Godfrey-Hurrell is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Special Education and Child and Family Development. Ms. Godfrey-Hurrell received both her M.Ed. in Child and Family Studies and her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Early Childhood Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has worked as an early childhood community college instructor, a technical assistance provider for those working in the early childhood field, and a teacher in the early childhood/special education (ECSE) setting. Ms. Godfrey-Hurrell is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Special Education and her primary areas of focus are early childhood special education and professional development.

Reem Muharib is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Special Education and Child and Family Development. Ms. Muharib received her M.Ed in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Texas at Austin, and her BA in Special Education, Mental Disabilities, from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. She has worked as a special education teacher, and as a teaching assistant at King Saud University. Ms. Muharib is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Special Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and her primary focus is early childhood special education.

Central Piedmont Community College Collaborators

Ruth Hedgpeth is the Associate Dean for Health Programs. She first came to CPCC as a nursing student and after graduation practiced at Presbyterian Hospital in the acute care setting, worked for a large group practice, and then took a position at a medical assisting program. While in the long term care industry, she provided continuing education staff development and served as Interim Director of Nursing at a long term care facility. After she received a B.S. in Nursing, she worked in long term care, and returned to school to earn a dual graduate degree.

Janna Son-Yarbrough is Director of the Early Childhood Education Division. While at CPCC, she has led the 2007 NAEYC early childhood associate degree accreditation, served as lead instructor of child development courses, served on the program’s service learning initiatives committee, and acted as liaison with Child Care Resources, Inc. grant. She earned baccalaureate and master’s degrees in child development in Seoul, Korea and she holds a Ph.D. in Child and Family Development from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Lisa Cloninger has a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development, a master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in Services to Children and Families, and an Infant Toddler Family Specialist credential. She has been a preschool teacher, early childhood center director, service coordinator in an NC Infant Toddler program, and a supervisor for a team of early interventionists who provide services In an infant toddler program.

Kelli Fitzgibbons earned her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and has been an elementary school teacher, mentor coach and trainer for Head Start, and an adjunct faculty member at Montclair State.  She has supervised teachers at the preschool and early elementary school levels.

Lisa J. Godwin is Chair of the Early Childhood Education Program and holds a Ph.D. in Child and Family Development. She has served as both teacher and director in part- and full-day early childhood programs and has been a trainer, project manager, and grant writer for a child care resource and referral agency. She has experience providing community-based training for parents and professionals in developmentally appropriate practices, has served on many advisory boards for child-related agencies, and volunteers for local early childhood programs.

Heather R. Jones has been a Head Start teacher, 4-H Extension Agent, and facilitator of professional development workshops in early childhood education. She is a Head Start Advisory Council member and works with the NC Division of Juvenile Justice. She holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

Mary Margaret Kantor is the Director of Learning Outcomes at CPCC. She has been a preschool teacher and early childhood teacher educator and trainer. She has served as director of child care facilities and continues to serve on multiple advisory and policy-making boards. She holds an Ed.D. in Early Childhood Education.

Pamela McIntyre earned her Educational Specialist degree in Administration and Supervision and master’s degree in Elementary Education (K-6). She has been a preschool and elementary school teacher and an adjunct faculty member at York Technical College in the Early Childhood Development Department. She has presented topics in early childhood education at local conferences, is the past president of the South Carolina Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers and past board member of York County First Steps.

Zeba Mehdi teaches developmental English and school-age development and programs at CPCC. She has a master’s degree in Education and is an Early Childhood Coordinator for the Children’s Enrichment Program Center at the Morrison Family YMCA in Charlotte, NC.

Kristen Monteith earned her master’s degree from UNC Greensboro in Human Development & Family Studies. She has been teaching community college courses in North Carolina since 1997 and has been a full-time faculty member at CPCC since 2003. Other work accomplishments include assessor for the North Carolina Rated License Assessment Project (NCRLAP), Educational Specialist/Service Coordinator for Children’s Developmental Services, and lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte).

Sandra W. Newnan was a preschool teacher and director of three child care centers before joining the early childhood education faculty at CPCC where she has served as director of the program. Her interests include child guidance and problem-solving. She holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

Christine L. Sargeant has been a teacher and administrator of a Montessori school and has taught Art for the Child at the University of South Florida. She holds a master’s degree in Art Education.

Mitchell Community College Collaborators

Dede Barr Dunst is the Early Childhood Program Coordinator and faculty member. She has been an educator in the field of early childhood for twenty-six years and a Program Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs for the past sixteen years. She is currently collaborating with university researchers to assess and enhance early childhood programming for the purpose of preparing scholars at her community college to promote the learning and development of young children with disabilities. As program coordinator, she oversees Early Childhood, Special Education, School-Age, Parent Educator, Infant Toddler, and Lateral Entry programs; supervises adjunct and full time instructors; advises students; provides professional development; authors grants; and, oversees program budget and NAEYC accreditation, among other responsibilities.

Donna Hogue graduated from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Salisbury, NC with an Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood; Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Human Services; and University of Phoenix, Online, with a Master of Education in Early Childhood. She has over 15 years experience in the early childhood field and has worked as a teacher assistant, lead teacher, and owner of a child care facility. She has experience working for Head Start as a lead teacher and an on-site administrator and has worked as a supervisor at Smart Start Rowan and an adjunct instructor at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. She is currently a full-time Early Childhood Instructor at Mitchell Community College in North Carolina.

Lisa Vadnais has a background in the field of Early Childhood Education that includes starting and operating two child development centers in Southern California, teaching an early child care course for a regional occupational program for high school students and adults for 20 years, working as a full-time tenured faculty member at a California Community College for eight years, and authoring Caring for the Developing Child (Editions 1 and 2). Lisa moved to North Carolina in 2006 and has been teaching at Mitchell Community College as an adjunct instructor since 2009.

Gaston College Collaborators

Eileen Yantz is the Program Coordinator of the Early Childhood Education program at Gaston College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a master’s degree in Teaching Varying Exceptionalities with a concentration in Developmental Disabilities and Education, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration. She has worked with individuals at risk for over twenty years in varying instructional and advisory positions. Dr. Yantz has served on the North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children (NCaeyc) board of directors and on curriculum improvement projects throughout North Carolina.

Erin Brassell is an instructor at Gaston College in the Early Childhood Education program. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Penn State in Education and a master’s degree in Early Intervention from the University of Pittsburgh. Ms. Brassell has worked with children with exceptionalities both in the classroom and in home-based intervention.

Robin Pollard is an instructor at Gaston College in the Early Childhood Education program. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Florida. Ms. Pollard has been a Pre-K and Kindergarten teacher and has worked with young children for over twenty years.

Stanly Community College Collaborators

Christie Honeycutt is the Associate Dean for Health Sciences and Public Services, Curriculum, and the Program Head for the Early Childhood Department.She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and worked with young children in several capacities, including as a preschool teacher and for Smart Start before coming to Stanly Community College. She has presented at numerous local, regional and national conferences on various topics related to Early Childhood.

Christy Hopkins is full time advisor and EDU instructor for Stanly Community College. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Pfeiffer University and her Master of Arts degree with the focus around Child Development and Early Childhood Education from Concordia University. She has over 25 years of experience in the Early Childhood profession with a diverse background consisting of having owned a childcare home for over ten years, working with after-school programs, grant coordinator for Smart Start and Early Childhood program coordinator. She is involved with many community agencies and serves on many boards including the NAEYC affiliate CRSaeyc (Cabarrus, Rowan, Stanly Association for the Education of Young Children which she is president of. She has taught Early Childhood Coursework for the Community College System since 1996 and has been in her current position at Stanly Community College for 12 years. She specializes in advocacy, leadership, and community outreach. She presents at a variety of conferences yearly.

Cyndie Osborne received her Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development in 1991 and Master’s Degree in Education with the concentration in Child and Family Studies in 2004 from UNC-Charlotte. She has over 25 years of experience in the field of early childhood and has worked as a child care teacher, a program coordinator in a for-profit child care program as well as a developmental day program, a director of a non-profit child care program, a training and curriculum specialist for an Air Force child care program, and a child care consultant for the NC-DCDEE. She has been in her current position as Instructor/Advisor and Online Coordinator in the Early Childhood Department at Stanly Community College for 9 years. She specializes in leadership and curriculum of the classroom.

Jaime Shelton is a full-time Early Childhood Instructor/Advisor at Stanly Community College. She earned her Associate Degree in Early Childhood from Stanly Community College, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child and Family Development from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Master of Education Degree in Child and Family Studies from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has experience an infant and toddler teacher in a daycare classroom and as a pre-k teacher for Stanly County Schools and has worked in the early childhood field for over 20 years.

University of South Carolina Collaborators

William H. Brown is a Professor of Educational Studies in the College of Education and a member of the USC Research Consortium on Children and Families. He is currently the Editor of the Journal of Early Intervention (2007-2012) and is an Editorial Board Member for Topics in Early Childhood Special Education (1997-present), Assessment for Effective Intervention (1997-present), the Journal of Early Intervention (1994-present), and Early Childhood Research Quarterly (2002-present). He is also a member of the Scientist Peer Reviewer for the Early Intervention and Early Childhood Education Research Review Standing Panel of the Institute for Education Sciences (2007-2010). He has authored multiple articles and chapters on special education services for young children and their families. Dr. Brown co-directs the federally-funded USC Paraprofessional Preservice Program Improvement project that the proposed effort will replicate; and, he and his staff fully support the intended extension of their work to improve early childhood special education services in North Carolina.

Leigh Kale D’Amico is a research assistant professor in the Office of Program Evaluation in the College of Education at the University of South Carolina. She has been the principal or co-principal investigator on multiple evaluation and research endeavors related to teacher preparation and professional development, teacher effectiveness, early childhood education, and PK-12 student success. She holds an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of South Carolina.

Kassie Mae Miller is a is a Research Associate in the Office of Program Evaluation in the College of Education at the University of South Carolina. Ms. Miller received her Masters in Public Health from the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include improving women’s health and wellness, community development, and enhancing early childhood programs for children with special needs.