Meet Our Staff
Penny Bishop, Director
TIIE Director Penny Bishop is Professor of Middle Level Education at the University of Vermont where she teaches future middle grades educators and conducts research on schooling for young adolescents. Penny has served as Principal Investigator on numerous grants, bringing over $6 million dollars to Vermont schools to improve the learning and lives of middle grades students. A former middle level English and Social Studies teacher, Penny was appointed to the National Middle School Association's Research Advisory Board and is President of the American Educational Research Association's group on Middle Level Education Research. She is co-author of five books on effective middle grades practice. In 2008, she served as policy advisor on fellowship to the New Zealand Ministry of Education, providing input and research on effective schooling policies for students in the middle years in that country. Outside of work, Penny enjoys time with her husband and two middle school-aged sons; loves international travel; studies Maori; and loses terribly at solitaire.
John Downes, Associate Director
John Downes is currently a doctoral research fellow at the University of Vermont. He spent ten years working with teachers to design and facilitate curriculum reform and professional development in Vermont middle schools, focusing on technology integration, student-led curriculum, collaborative teacher learning, and implementation of Turning Points reforms. John has been involved with the Middle Grades Institute for 14 years, first as a student, and since with various strands, most recently, teacher and student Postsecondary strands. His current interests include the role of student voice in teacher and school change; student efficacy; and how technology can promote teaching and learning responsive to young adolescents. He is the primary researcher on several grants and evaluations. Among these is a 1:1 laptop initiative to re-engage middle level learners; the UVM GEAR UP project to improve young adolescents postsecondary prospects; and a state-wide initiative to bring students and their voices into collaborative school change. John also enjoys traveling with his family, paddling on Lake Champlain, biking in Vermont's mountains and valleys, and risking life and limb trying to keep up with his 18-year-old son on the slopes of the Greens and Rockies.
Susan Hennessey, Professional Development Coordinator
Susan Hennessey brings with her years of experience playing with
educational technology and enjoys sharing the results of these
explorations with colleagues in her role as the Professional
Development Coordinator for TIIE. Before becoming part of the TIIE
team, Susan was the Library Media Specialist and former English teacher
and English Department Chair at Harwood Union Middle High School in
South Duxbury, VT. She frequently collaborated with fellow
teachers facilitating professional development opportunities including
workshops and summer graduate courses focused on emerging
technologies. In addition she taught courses in designing
instruction for UVM and technology integration and English methods for
Champlain College. As a Literacy Leader in the Vermont
Professional Development Network, Susan works with the DOE to design
and deliver professional development resources to support aligning
curriculum and instruction with the Common Core standards. In
2007, she received the Milken Educator Award. As the only member
of the team who owns cats - 3 males to be exact - she brings a needed
balance to this dog-loving group.
Emily Howe, Pre-Service Intern
Audrey Homan, Web & Communications
Audrey Homan comes to the Tarrant Institute with a background in
grants management and web development, and is greatly enjoying the transition to game developer. When not reading or web
developing, she climbs rocks, fixes bikes and wrangles herds of small
dogs. She's working on out-staring YA author Maureen Johnson.
Mark Olofson, Graduate Research Assistant
Mark Olofson is a first year doctoral student at UVM and began working with the Tarrant Institute in the Fall 2013. Mark has taught middle and high school science and mathematics in Colorado as well as Los Cabos, Mexico. He is looking forward to incorporating his experience with content-driven technology integration and blending brick-and-mortar with virtual learning environments into his work with TIIE. Mark believes in the importance of student-community interaction and the need for the creation of authentic learning artifacts by students. Mark is new to Vermont, and enjoys many outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and whitewater paddling.
Carmen Petrick, Professional Development Associate
Carmen Petrick Smith is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Education at the University of Vermont. She received her Ph.D. in
Mathematics Education from the University of Texas at Austin where she
studied the effects of embodied actions on learning geometry. Her
research interests center on embodied cognition, learning games, and
STEM education. She is also a former high school mathematics
teacher, and in addition to her work in education, she can solve a
Rubiks cube, is a former Guinness World Record holder for dancing the
Thriller, and won the 2008 O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships.
Meredith Swallow, Professional Development Coordinator
Meredith Swallow is in her second year as a doctoral student at UVM,
and is now working with the Tarrant Institute as a professional
development coordinator. As a former
6-12 mathematics teacher, Meredith has been recognized for her
innovative lesson plans and technology integration in her classes. She
is excited to begin analyzing the results of TIIE's laptop initiative
program at the middle school level. When not studying or engaging in
research, Meredith enjoys her time in the outdoors hiking with her
trusted sidekick Jack the Dog.
Erin Wertlieb, Administrative Assistant
Erin Wertlieb assists the Tarrant Institute with administrative processing and logistics. She comes to the Tarrant Institute with an eclectic background including experience in public radio fundraising, academic advising, yoga instruction, and elementary education. In her spare time, Erin can be found baking and trying to keep up with her 5-year-old.
Last modified September 17 2013 01:00 PM