Warning: JavaScript is not enabled in your browser

Some parts of this site won't work without JavaScript.


Barbara T. Bowman

Erikson Institute

Professor Barbara Bowman is one of three faculty founders of Erikson Institute and is currently the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development. She served as president of the Institute from 1994 to 2001 and as interim president of external affairs from June to December 2013. She is an authority on early education, a national advocate for improved and expanded training for practitioners who teach and care for young children, and a pioneer in building knowledge and understanding of the issues of access and equity for minority children. She was chief early childhood education officer for the Chicago Public Schools and a former consultant to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. She is past president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and has served on numerous boards, including the High Scope Educational Foundation, the Institute for Psychoanalysis, Business People in the Public Interest, the Great Books Foundation, the Chicago Public Library Foundation, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Among the honors she has received are the Voices for Illinois’ Children Start Early Award; Chicago Association for the Education of Young Children Outstanding Service to Children Award; Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education; and the National Black Child Development Institute Leadership Award.

Carol Brunson Day


Carol Brunson Day has spent her career as an advocate for quality early childhood services for young children and families. She recently retired from the National Black Child Development Institute in Washington, DC where she served as CEO and President from 2006 to 2011. Prior to 2006, she served as the CEO and President of the Council for Professional Recognition, the home of the Child Development Associate National Credentialing Program, as well as the National Head Start Fellowship Program. Over the past 40 years, Dr. Day has spoken at numerous conferences and programs across the United States and internationally, and authored publications on subjects such as professional development, diversity and multicultural education, and cultural influences on development, and has a long history of interest and expertise on African-American culture and heritage. Because of her impressive scholarly contributions to the field, Dr. Day is recognized as a leader in the field of early childhood education. She sits on numerous national boards and is currently President of the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Dr. Day received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from the Erikson Institute in Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Education from Claremont University in Claremont, California.

Jie-Qi Chen

Erikson Institute*

Jie-Qi (Jackie) Chen is a Professor of Child Development and Early Education, the Director of the Doctoral Program, and the principle investigator of the Early Math Collaborative at Erikson Institute. She is a Fulbright Senior Specialist whose work focuses on cognitive development, multiple intelligences theory, classroom assessment, early mathematics education, and school-based intervention. Jie-Qi started her career teaching in early childhood classrooms in China, and for more than 20 years has contributed to teacher professional development in Boston and Chicago.

Christine Cunningham

Boston Museum of Science

Dr. Christine Cunningham is an educational researcher who works to make engineering and science more relevant, accessible, and understandable, especially for underserved and underrepresented populations. A vice president at the Museum of Science, Boston since 2003, she founded and directs Engineering is Elementary™, a groundbreaking project that integrates engineering concepts into elementary curriculum and teacher professional development. As of January 2015, EiE has served 7.2 million children nationwide and 76,000 educators. Cunningham has previously served as director of engineering education research at the Tufts University Center for Engineering Educational Outreach, where her work focused on integrating engineering with science, technology, and math in professional development for K-12 teachers. She also directed the Women’s Experiences in College Engineering (WECE) project, the first national, longitudinal, large-scale study of the factors that support young women pursuing engineering degrees. Cunningham is a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education and was awarded the 2014 International Society for Design and Development in Education Prize. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in biology from Yale and a Ph.D. in Science Education from Cornell University.

Chip Donohue

Erikson Institute

Chip Donohue, PhD, is Dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education and Director of the TEC Center at Erikson Institute in Chicago. He is a Senior Fellow and Member of the Advisory Board of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College, where he co-chaired the working group that revised the 2012 NAEYC & Fred Rogers Center Joint Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Chip is also the editor of a new book, Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning, co-published by Routledge/NAEYC, that was distributed to 20,000 NAEYC comprehensive members in October, 2014. In 2012 he received the first Bammy Award and the Educators Voice Award as Innovator of the Year from the Academy of Education Arts & Sciences. In 2015 he was honored as a children’s media Emerging Pioneer by the KAPi (Kids At Play International) Awards.

Linda Espinosa

University of Missouri at Columbia

Dr. Linda M. Espinosa is currently Co-PI for the Getting on Track for Early School Success: Effective Teaching in Preschool Classrooms project at the University of Chicago and former Co-PI for the Center for Early Care and Education Research—Dual Language Learners (CECER-DLL) at Frank Porter Graham CDI at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is Professor Emeritus of Early Childhood Education at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and has served as the Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University and Vice President of Education at Bright Horizons Family Solutions. Her recent research and policy work has focused on effective curriculum and assessment practices for young children from low-income families who are dual language learners. Dr. Espinosa also served on the Head Start National Reporting System (NRS) Technical Advisory Group, and was recently sworn in as a member of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Head Start Research and Evaluation. She has published more than 90 research articles, book chapters and training manuals on how to establish effective educational services for low-income, minority families and children who are acquiring English as a second language. She completed her B.A. at the University of Washington, her Ed.M. at Harvard University, and her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Chicago.

Martin Gartzman

University of Chicago*

Martin Gartzman recently retired as Executive Director of UChicago STEM Education at the University of Chicago. At UC STEM Ed, Gartzman participated in a range of projects involving professional development for teachers and administrators, and curriculum development. He also served on the author team for development of the Everyday Mathematics. Prior to that, he served as Assistant Vice Chancellor and Executive Director for High School Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), coordinating the university’s work with UIC College Prep. During that time period Gartzman also established several funded projects with support from the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust and the National Science Foundation—including Intensified Algebra I, a curriculum that targets under-prepared students in Algebra I, and the West Cook and South Cook Mathematics Initiatives, which are working with 33 high-needs school districts in west and south Cook County to develop regionally based mathematics improvement strategies. His prior experience includes co-directing the Urban Mathematics Leadership Network, serving as the Chicago Public School’s Chief Mathematics and Science Officer, co-founding UIC’s Institute for Mathematics and Science Education, and teaching biology and directing the bilingual program at Benito Juarez High School in Chicago.

Daryl Greenfield

University of Miami

Daryl Greenfield is Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics at the University of Miami. He has conducted early childhood research in Miami-Dade County for the past 35 years with funding from federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the Administration for Children Youth and Families, the Head Start Bureau, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Science Foundation. For the past 10 years his focus has been on science, technology and engineering (STE) in early childhood. This work includes grants with Head Start populations to: develop integrated STE programs for immigrant dual-language learners; efficacy studies of science professional development and curricular programs; the use of technology (touch screen tablets) to adaptively assess young children’s STE competence in English; and Spanish; the development of low-income children’s questioning skills; and the development of mastery motivation and its relationship to STE. He has also been an advisor to national, state, and local organizations on early STE including the Office of Head Start, The Florida Office of Early Learning, the Council of Chief State School Officers, three Department of Education funded early childhood consortium projects led by North Carolina (10 states), Maryland (7 states) and Texas, and is the co-chair of the Miami citywide school readiness advisory council and one of the founding board member of a STEM charter elementary school. Professor Greenfield is also the research partner for the Miami Educare site participating in the Educare National Implementation Study and was a member of the taskforce that created the Educare Network’s 2014 “Strategic Plan: A National Research Agenda for Early Education,” and served as the PI and director of the U of Miami IES funded doctoral training grant, “Interdisciplinary Training in Education Research and Advanced Statistical Methods.”

Debbie Leslie

University of Chicago*

Debbie Leslie is Senior Curriculum Developer at UChicago STEM Education (formerly the Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education) at the University of Chicago. She was a lead author on PreKindergarten and Kindergarten Everyday Mathematics (3rd and 4th editions) and on Science Companion Early Science Explorations, and she works on a variety of other projects related to early childhood mathematics and science. As the Project Director for UC STEM Ed’s Teacher Leadership for Elementary Mathematics and Science project, Leslie also provides professional development, instructional coaching, and leadership mentoring to support mathematics and science leadership and instruction in the University of Chicago charter schools and other Chicago elementary schools. She also teaches math and science methods courses to pre-service elementary teachers in the University of Chicago’s Urban Teacher Education Program. Leslie previously taught preschool, Kindergarten, and first grade and received a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics from Yale University and a Master’s of Science in Teaching from the University of Chicago. In addition to her work at the University of Chicago, Leslie is currently a doctoral student in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Susan Levine

University of Chicago

Susan Levine Ph.D., is the Rebecca Anne Boylan Professor of Education and Society in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. She has an extensive track record of research in the area of mathematical development. Dr. Levine's research focuses on individual variations in the development of early mathematical thinking, including numerical and spatial aspects of math, and how variations in home and school input affect children's learning in this domain. Current research projects investigate the particular aspects of adult number talk that are effective in scaffolding numerical thinking. She is also examining individual variations in early spatial thinking and the relation of these variations to exposure to spatial language and engagement in spatial activities such as puzzle play. Her work on math development also examines the role of socio-emotional factors in children’s math learning, including the math anxiety, stereotypes, and mindset of parents and teachers as well as of children themselves contribute to children math learning. She serves as the co-PI of the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center, an NSF Science of Learning Center, and has consulted with many organizations on early math learning, including Sesame Street.

Jennifer McCray

Erikson Institute*

Jennifer McCray is an Assistant Research Scientist and the Director of the Early Math Collaborative at Erikson Institute. The collaborative provides professional development in early mathematics to more than 120 Chicago Public School teachers each year, and was recently awarded a prestigious Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the Department of Education. Jennifer’s current research focuses on mathematics teaching and learning, teacher professional development, cognitive development, and classroom assessment. Her dissertation, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, proposed and evaluated a new tool for measuring preschool teachers' pedagogical content knowledge in early mathematics. This study won awards from both the American Educational Research Association and the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators. Jennifer previously taught preschool and earned both her master’s and doctorate degrees at Erikson Institute.

Leona Schauble

Vanderbilt University

Leona Schauble is a cognitive developmental psychologist with research interests in scientific and mathematical reasoning. Shortly after completing her undergraduate degree, she joined the research staff for Sesame Street at the Children's Television Workshop. Her subsequent fifteen years at CTW provided practical experience in research and the design of education. In 1987, after completing a PhD in Developmental and Educational Psychology at Columbia University, Leona was a postdoctoral fellow and then a research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh. She was at LRDC until 1992 and subsequently, at the University of Wisconsin from 1992 until 2002. Now at Vanderbilt University Leona continues to study learning in both informal and formal educational settings. For example, with The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the world’s largest children’s museum, she participated in an NSF-funded project to design and construct an 11,000-foot science gallery that supports the science knowledge and learning of six- to ten-year-old children. Her current research, conducted in collaboration with Professor Richard Lehrer, is on the origins and development of model-based reasoning in school mathematics and science. In this project, researchers work collaboratively with teachers on a long-term basis to generate reform in teaching and learning of mathematics and science, at levels from kindergarten through middle school.

Liesje Spaepen

University of Chicago*

Liesje Spaepen received her PhD in Cognitive Development at the University of Chicago. She is currently a Research Scientist at UChicago STEM Education. Spaepen’s work focuses on the ways in which research on teaching and learning, especially in early childhood STEM, translates to classroom practice, through curriculum, assessment, and professional development. Spaepen was a writer on the 4th edition of Kindergarten Everyday Mathematics, has helped develop and field test a research-based formative mathematics assessment for preschool called Getting on Track Early for School Success, and served as lead author on Early STEM Matters: Providing High-Quality STEM Experiences for All Young Learners.

Karen Worth

Wheelock College

Karen Worth has been a faculty member at Wheelock College for over 35 years, where she teaches early childhood and elementary education with a focus on science education. She works closely with the Mathematics and Science Department to enhance the mathematics and science preparation of pre-service students at the college. She also coordinates the Integrated Elementary and Special Education program at the graduate level. She is currently Chair of the Elementary Department. Ms. Worth also worked as a senior research scientist at Education Development Center, Inc. for more than 25 years leading a range of programs focused on science curriculum development, professional development, and systemic reform. She has been a consultant and advisor to a number of museums including the Boston Children’s Museum and the Chicago Children’s Museum. She has advised public television stations including WGBH and PBH and community organizations across the country and internationally. She is a recipient of the Exploratorium’s Outstanding Educator Award for her work in science education, the international Purkwa prize for the scientific literacy of the children of the planet, and the NSTA Distinguished Service Award.

* indicates organizing committee members