Faculty & Staff

Courses in the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood & Family Studies program are taught by top faculty and instructors from the UW College of Education, along with professionals in the field. They bring deep experience as educators and researchers to the program, giving you the benefit of their expert knowledge and practical insight.

  • Lynn Dietrich

    Program Director and Senior Lecturer, Early Childhood and Family Studies

    PhD, University of Maryland College Park

    Lynn Dietrich is the program director and a senior lecturer in the Early Childhood and Family Studies program. She began her career in early childhood education as a preschool teacher at the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center in Washington, DC. She has since worked in the field as an accreditation consultant, program evaluator, trainer, project director, presenter, curricula author and university professor. Most recently, Dietrich was a member of the early childhood faculty at the University of Mississippi, where she contributed to the development of the undergraduate endorsement and MEd programs in early childhood education. While serving as the director of the Early Childhood Institute at Mississippi State University, she supervised a number of grant-funded projects, including the development of the Mississippi Early Learning Guidelines for Classrooms Serving Three- and Four-Year-Old Children for the Mississippi Department of Education.

    Department Faculty Profile

  • Gail Joseph

    Faculty Director, Early Childhood and Family Studies

    Associate Professor, Educational Psychology

    PhD, University of Washington

    Gail Joseph is an associate professor of educational psychology and the faculty director of the Early Childhood and Family Studies program. She has extensive experience as a Head Start teacher, teacher trainer, mental health specialist and national consultant in promoting evidence-based, social-emotional practices with young children. Joseph is the principal investigator on two projects: the Head Start Center for Inclusion and the Childcare Quality and Early Learning Center for Research and Training, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She has presented at more than 100 conferences and workshops devoted to social-emotional practices and authored numerous articles and books related to young children's social, emotional and behavioral health.

    Department Faculty Profile

  • Carolyn Brennan

    Director of Professional Development, Coaching and Community Support, The Childcare Quality and Early Learning Center for Research and Training

    PhD, University of Washington

    Carolyn Brennan has been working to improve quality in early learning programs since she began her career as a toddler room teacher. Brennan has worked on numerous aspects of the statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System, including program ratings, system evaluation and coaching. She also works to promote healthy relationships in child care settings and is certified in infant mental health.

  • Clayton Cook

    Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology

    PhD, University of California, Riverside

    Clayton Cook is an assistant professor for the UW College of Education and is also a licensed psychologist. He helps school systems across the country to design and implement multi-tiered systems of support as a way of integrating mental health services into schools. Cook has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and books about school-based mental health and is the co-principal investigator on two large-scale research grants on the topic. He was recently invited to attend the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and served on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's expert panel on bullying.

    Department Faculty Profile

  • Colleen O. Dillon

    Director of Training, Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development

    Senior Lecturer, Family and Child Nursing, School of Nursing

    PhD, University of Massachusetts Boston

    Colleen Dillon is a licensed clinical psychologist and the director of training at the UW Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development. Informed by a life course approach, Dillon's work has focused on vulnerable individuals and families during developmental transitions. She worked for many years as a research fellow and associate member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood. Her current interests include developing professional training opportunities in the field of early childhood across disciplines and communities. Dillon also serves as part of the core teaching faculty in the UW Certificate in Infant Mental Health program. She received her master's and doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

    Department Faculty Profile

  • Nick Gillon

    Research Associate, Early Childhood and Family Studies

    MEd, Antioch University, New England

    Nick Gillon is an experienced early childhood educator committed to bettering teaching practice through improved understanding of learning and development. As a veteran school administrator and instructional coach, he recognizes the value of leadership in improving classrooms for young children. Gillon is a doctoral student in education at the University of Washington and teaches at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Washington.

  • Nancy Hertzog

    Professor, Educational Psychology, College of Education

    Director, Robinson Center for Young Scholars

    PhD, University of Illinois

    Nancy Hertzog is a professor for the UW College of Education and the director of the Halbert and Nancy Robinson Center for Young Scholars. She has an extensive background in gifted education and expertise on curriculum development. From 1995 to 2010, she taught in the Department of Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she directed the University Primary School. Her principal area of interest relates to ways that teachers engage and challenge all students. Hertzog is the author of two books, Early Childhood Gifted Education (2008) and Ready for Preschool (2008). She earned her doctorate in special education from the University of Illinois.

    Department Faculty Profile

  • Miriam Hirschstein

    Senior Research Scientist and Director of Evaluation, Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development

    PhD, University of Washington

    Miriam Hirschstein is a senior research scientist and the director of evaluation at the UW Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development. Her work focuses on the implementation of school- and care-based prevention and intervention efforts, especially related to young children's social-emotional development. She currently directs an evaluation partnership with Educare Early Learning Center, a model of center-based early childhood education. Hirschstein received her master's and doctorate in educational psychology and school psychology from the University of Washington.

  • Kristie Kauerz

    Research Assistant Professor, P-3 Education Policy & Leadership

    EdD, Teachers College, Columbia University

    Kristie Kauerz's expertise includes policy, research and practice as well as birth to five system building and K-12 reform. She has authored numerous articles, book chapters and reports on topics including state kindergarten policies, early childhood governance and P-3 policy alignment. She co-authored Washington state's original Early Learning and Development Benchmarks as well as a book on improving the early care and education teaching workforce. She is co-editor of the recent book Early Childhood Systems: Transforming Early Learning. Kauerz also recently completed the Framework for Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating PreK-3rd Grade Approaches, a tool to guide school, district, community and state efforts. She is a proud graduate of Colorado College, American University and Teachers College at Columbia University.

    Department Faculty Profile

  • Jodi Burrus Newman

    Teaching Associate, Educational Psychology

    PhD, University of Washington

    Jodi Burrus Newman teaches educational psychology courses for the UW College of Education; she also consults with schools on program evaluation projects. Her research interests focus on social-emotional development, aggressive behavior and bullying. She has worked in a variety of learning contexts, including elementary school and child care settings. Her past work includes collaboration on a project examining factors linked to undergraduate academic engagement. She has also presented her research at numerous conferences and has been published in books and journals.

  • Miriam Packard

    Curriculum Specialist and Instructor, Early Childhood and Family Studies

    MA, University of Washington

    Miriam previously served as the higher education project coordinator for the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning after years of experience as a teacher in infant early learning, Head Start preschool, and kindergarten as well as a curriculum coordinator, overseeing preschool and early elementary curricular teacher development and implementation. Her work focuses on the development, implementation and evaluation of curricular preparation of early childhood educators, strengths-based approaches to serving culturally and linguistically diverse children and families and kindergarten readiness. She has developed and taught courses in the areas of cross-cultural childhood studies, child development, cultural competence, early childhood professionalism and leadership, and service-learning.

  • Deborah Silvis

    Teaching Associate

    MEd, Loyola University (Maryland)

    Deborah Silvis has developed and taught courses on early childhood development, observation and assessment, curriculum and approaches to learning. She served as a teacher, mentor, education director, and curriculum coordinator in Early Head Start for a decade prior to coming to the University of Washington. In those roles she led teacher professional development, provided home visitor curriculum training, designed and implemented parent involvement initiatives, and oversaw the fidelity of curriculum implementation. Silvis is a certified Montessori teacher for children ages birth to three years old and is currently a doctoral student in education at the University of Washington.

  • Terri Wardrop

    Curriculum Specialist and Writer, National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning

    MEd, University of Washington

    Terri Wardrop is a curriculum specialist and writer for the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning, where she recently developed the Beginning Teacher Series, a computer-based learning tool designed for those new to Head Start. Wardrop has more than eight years of early childhood education experience through the Head Start program, serving as a teacher, family educator, disabilities coordinator and childcare director. She also worked as a video producer and team leader for the Committee for Children's Second Step program. Wardrop earned a master's in educational psychology and a certificate in e-learning design and development from the University of Washington.


Jenni Campbell

Academic Adviser, Early Childhood & Family Studies

Jenni Campbell is the academic adviser for the Early Childhood and Family Studies Online program. In her role as an adviser and teacher, she has worked to increase access to educational opportunities and support academic success for all students. Campbell earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Puget Sound.