The National Institute on Leadership, Disability and Students Placed at Risk A collaboration between faculty of California State University, Roger Williams University, the Universities of Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Sam Houston State University
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Institute Abstract | Stafford Faculty Fellows | Stafford Student Scholars
Stafford Student Scholars

A Student Scholar award has been established for masters and doctoral students aspiring to become faculty members in higher education and school leadership. Scholars are involved in a variety of activities and participate in a year-long seminar at the University of Vermont. In addition, Student Scholars collaborate with faculty at the University of Vermont as well as faculty fellows from across the eleven universities affiliated with the Institute.

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University of Oregon
Julie Alonzo is a Ph.D. student in Educational Leadership, Learning Assessments/System Performance program at the University of Oregon, where she works as a Research Associate. Prior to starting her Ph.D. program, Julie worked for 12 years in the California public school system, teaching English and ESL at the high school level. In addition, she has served as East Side Union High School District Mentor Teacher for Restructuring, Los Gatos High School AVID Coordinator, and site administrator for Anzar High School. Julie received her National Board certification in Adolescent and Young Adulthood English Language Arts in 2002. Her primary areas of interest include teacher preparation and professional development with an emphasis on education for social justice.

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University of Vermont
Jesse Bell is the Founder and administrator of the Bellcate School, a Vermont State Approved Independent High School that serves youth with a wide range of disabilities. Jesse received his undergraduate degree in English through the Independent Degree program at Burlington College. He went on to receive a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Vermont as a scholarship recipient through the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion in 2004. Through independent study and a variety of local trainings he became the Education Coordinator for Chittenden Community Action from 1991-2000 providing training to area schools, colleges and agencies around issues of social justice, race, class and gender equity. Utilizing both education and experience working with disenfranchised people he conceptualized and implemented a therapeutic and educational model that has successfully served some of Vermont's most marginalized youth over the past several years. Jesse is committed to social and economic justice and through this lens works to support youth and families towards self determination. He continues to work on larger scale social, economic, and racial justice issues as a Board Member of the Peace and Justice Coalition. He hopes to be accepted to UVM's doctoral program in Educational Leadership.

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University of Vermont
Rob Bonn graduated from Middlebury College in 1988 with a B.A. in English and a secondary educator's license. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he immediately pursued a career in teaching, serving for five years on the staff at Lamoille Union High School in Hyde Park, Vermont before assuming his current position. An English teacher at Burlington High School since 1993, Rob is the student advisor of Detour, the student-run arts-and-literature magazine which is committed to the, democratic representation of the voices of all students. In the classroom, Rob focuses on providing equitable access to the canon of western literature for students designated as special needs or at risk. Rob also serves on the editorial staff of Backcountry, an international ski publication. He has recently received his M.Ed. from the University of Vermont with a focus on curriculum leadership and leadership in the classroom.

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University of Vermont
Rachael Clark graduated from Ithaca College with a B.S. in Community Health Education and a focus in International Health Issues in 2002. As an undergraduate, she researched parasitic infections among children in Mundau, Brazil and studied social needs of refugee women from the Horn of Africa in Melbourne, Australia. Rachael has worked as an Activities Coordinator for a group home designed for parenting and pregnant young women in San Diego. As an Americorps VISTA volunteer, she served as an Assistant Regional Manager for Everybody Wins! Vermont, a literacy-based mentoring program. She is currently attending the University of Vermont and working on her M.Ed. in Special Education.

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University of Connecticut
Abraham DeLeon graduated from New Mexico State University with a B.S. in Secondary Social Studies Education in 1999 and taught high school Global Studies in Tucson, Arizona. He left teaching and pursued an M.A. in History at the University of Connecticut. After finishing his M.A., Abe entered the Ph.D. program in the Neag School of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Connecticut. He is currently working with Professor Tim Reagan and his research interests are critical theory, critical pedagogy, social studies education, multicultural education, and critical discourse analysis.

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University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Doug Gardner is a Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Educational Organization and Leadership, with an emphasis in Higher Education and an anticipated completion date of Spring 2007. He is the Director for High School Relations at Utah Valley State College-Wasatch Campus. Previously he was a high school teacher for four years in California and earned a master's degree in Educational Administration from California State University, Bakersfield. His bachelor's degree is in Family and Human Development from Brigham Young University. Doug's scholarly and practical interests include access to higher education for first-generation students, program evaluation, and family and school relationships.

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University of Vermont
Kristin M. Gehsmann is a doctoral student at the University of Vermont, specializing in leadership and policy studies. Her research interests include: literacy education, closing the literacy achievement gap in high-poverty, communities, and school improvement. Kristin's work experiences include nearly ten years of teaching at the elementary school level and six years working as an Early Literacy Improvement Specialist and freelance consultant. Kristin is the co-investigator in two multi-state research studies that examine the relationship between professional development and literacy teaching practices. Her dissertation research examines the school improvement process in a high-stakes environment. Kristin holds degrees in both elementary education (K-8) and early childhood education.

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University of Vermont
Christopher Hindes is currently a Master's student in the Educational Leadership Program at the University of Vermont. Chris received his B.A. from Johnson State College in 1978 with a concentration in Secondary Education and the Social Sciences. He served as director of a regional Veteran's program (P.A.V.E.) that advanced the educational and employment opportunities for Veterans, then began a successful high school teaching career in the greater Lamoille Valley. Later, as the executive director of Lamoille County Court Diversion Program (LCCDP), his leadership helped to transform the program into an agency that developed and offered a number of innovative restorative programs focused on the needs of youth, adults and their families. Never straying far from his educational roots, all programs included a strong connection to the importance of education. In 1999, working with a very talented agency team, community partners and in collaboration with UVM, the agency spearheaded the Community Justice Program that combined physical and mental health services for those children and families with an incarcerated family member. In 2004, Chris left the field of restorative justice to rejoin the world of education as the Assistant Principal at Lamoille Union Middle School where he is working closely with faculty and staff in the development and promotion of effective prevention and discipline methods and academic excellence.

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University of Vermont
Brian Hoffman received his B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont in 1994. Following graduation he entered UVM's Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Program to pursue his love for outdoor science education. Brian's first teaching placement included a self-contained alternative program as well as a "mainstream" science course with teens who were disaffected and unengaged. He also taught inmates at the county correctional facility and parolees at the Community High School of Vermont. These diverse experiences helped shape his current educational philosophy and commitment to students placed at-risk. His pupils at Burlington High School represent the city's full socioeconomic and cultural spectrum, from the advantaged to English Language Learners, to those most poorly served by our present structure. He is working on his M.Ed. in Educational Leadership at UVM. Brian's interest is institutional equity, currently focusing on high quality science opportunities for all students.

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University of Vermont
Jessica Jette graduated from the University of Vermont in 1998 with a B.S. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. With a strong interest in working with children, she pursued her M.A. in Clinical Psychology at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont and obtained her license to practice as a school psychologist. Following a few years of work within mental health and educational settings, she entered the Ed.D. Program for Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont in 2003. Concurrent with her studies, she is a Co-Director of Psychological Services within a public school district and practices as a Licensed School Psychologist. In addition, she is a member of the National Association of School Psychologists and serves as an Executive Board Member for the Vermont Association of School Psychologists.

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University of Vermont
Matthew MacNeil earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Vermont. He subsequently obtained an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from St. Michael's College and an M.Ed. in Human Development Psychology from Harvard University. He also completed non-degree studies in Connectionist Modeling in the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, U.K. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in the University of Vermont's Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership. Matt works as a School Services Clinician with the Baird Center for Children and Families. His research interests include the treatment and education of children in residential care, primary prevention initiatives for social/emotional development, and mental health practices in public schools.

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University of Vermont
Seth Marineau is a doctoral student In the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program at the University of Vermont. He holds a Graduate Teaching Fellowship in the Secondary Education program as well. Prior to coming to UVM, Seth was assistant principal at a small middle high school in Vermont. He also taught high school French for several years. Seth's main research interests revolve around leadership and equity issues in rural schools. His dissertation work examines the relationship between socioeconomic status, academic achievement, and student aspirations as they pertain to rural schools in Vermont.

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University of Vermont
Angie McCray received her B.A. in elementary education in 2000 from the University of Vermont. After graduating she began working with at-risk teens on probation through the Department of Social Services. She earned her Master’s Degree in special education while working in alternative and public school settings. Currently, Angie is the special educator at the Bellcate School, an accredited independent high school serving students with a wide range of disabilities and therapeutic needs. She is committed to working with students, families, and teams to create strengths and interests based programming that meets the highly individualized needs of her students. Angie is taking classes and hopes to enter UVM's doctoral program in Educational Leadership next fall.

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University of Vermont
William J. Rogers "B.J." received his B.A. from St. Michael's College in 1998 and taught there in the Gender & Women's Studies Program for five years. Currently exploring a graduate degree in Educational Leadership or Public Administration, B.J. previously served as Executive Director of Outright Vermont, Vermont's only agency dedicated to serving and working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Other positions held include Director of Communications for a gubernatorial campaign and Director of Community Relations for Vermont Children's Aid Society where he is currently employed and serves in a program and organizational development capacity. B.J. also helped to design and conduct a nationwide survey of educational leadership programs for the National Institute on Leadership, Disability, and Students Placed at Risk.

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University of Vermont  
Julie A. Roughgarden is an Ed.D. student in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program at the University of Vermont. She has both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from UVM. Her Master’s in Special Education with a focus on Secondary Employment and Transition has led to a rewarding ten year career in the field. For the past eight years, she created and ran a program for students receiving special education services. The program predominantly offered opportunities to explore vocational skills, but also community and independent living skills as well as post-secondary education or training options. The goal was for students to transition to life after high school with as much independence as individually possible. In the fall of 2005, she began a new position as a Personal Learning Plan Coordinator. Here she assists students in parlaying their learning styles, interests, hopes and dreams into an individualized learning plan which might diverge from traditional high school course work. She intends to pursue research examining divergent learning paths for unique student populations.

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University of Vermont
Meagan Roy earned her B.A. in Intensive Special Needs Education and Psychology from Simmons College in Boston, MA. She earned her Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Vermont while working as a district-wide Intensive Needs teacher, coordinating a PreK-22 program serving students with significant disabilities. Meagan's research interests are in examining best practices in teaching students with significant disabilities and understanding ways to build capacity in school districts for educating students with low-incidence disabilities. Meagan is interested in pursuing her doctoral studies at UVM in the Educational Leadership Program.

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University of Vermont
Vicki Wells graduated from Castleton State College in 1986 with a B.S. in elementary education and minors in early childhood and special education. She began her teaching career as a special educator then moved into the regular education classroom. After several years in the classroom, Vicki moved into a consulting position at the Vermont Department of Education working primarily in special education. Her interest in the field of educational leadership grew and in 2002 she received a M.Ed. from the University of Vermont in Educational Leadership. To further her education in this field, Vicki began work on her Doctorate in the UVM Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program in 2003. Concurrent with her doctoral studies, Vicki maintains a full time position as the Director of Student Services in Addison Central Supervisory Union. Her responsibilities include oversight of the special education process as well as student services within the supervisory union and keeping current on best practices and research in order to best meet the needs of all students. Vicki's point of research interest is on the process of developing and maintaining effective and efficient Educational Support Systems and Teams.

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University of Vermont
Brian Williams graduated from Middlebury College in 1988 with a B.A. in English and a professional educator's license. That same year, he went to Japan to teach at a private Japanese high school. During vacations, Brian traveled extensively in Southeast Asia. Soon after returning to the U.S., Brian joined the United States Peace Corps and spent two years in Kenya as a teacher and as the Education Sector Representative. Employed since 1993 by the Burlington School District in Burlington, Vermont, Brian has helped to develop programs for youth-at-risk, and has been the advisor to the B.H.S. Outing Club, yearbook, and Student Council. Recently, Brian completed his M.A. from the University of Vermont in Educational Leadership. Currently he is the lead teacher for the B.H.S. English department and is contemplating research topics for a doctorate.