Education, Research & Impact Our Education, Research & Impact team, led by Tia Kim, consists of educational designers, research scientists, and implementation staff who build on Committee for Children’s extensive experience in the field of social-emotional learning (SEL) to develop and continuously improve our programs and products. Our educational designers use their deep knowledge of best practices in pedagogy and teaching to create engaging, easy-to-use curricula designed to address real-life challenges and improve the lives of students and school staff. Our researchers translate recent research from the field and the current challenges and needs of classrooms into practical application to ensure every program and product we create promotes the social-emotional development, safety, and well-being of children. The Committee for Children research advisory group also provides consultation and guidance to our staff. Join our growing team! Visit our Careers page to learn about our current openings. Tia Kim, PhD Vice President of Education, Research & Impact × Tia Kim, PhD Vice President of Education, Research & Impact Tia Kim leads the development and evaluation of Committee for Children’s programs. She’s committed to enhancing their quality, effectiveness, and reach through innovation, partnerships, and rigorous, continuous improvement processes. Tia received her doctorate in developmental psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and completed three years of post-doctoral training at the Academic Center of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention, where her research focused on the etiology and prevention of youth violence and aggression. She served for three years as an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State, Brandywine, before taking her current position at Committee for Children. Educational Design Bridgid Normand, MEd Director of Education & Learning × Bridgid Normand, MEd Director of Education & Learning Bridgid Normand has been a teacher, school counselor, child and family therapist, parent educator, and community prevention specialist. Since 2001, she has been an educational designer at Committee for Children. She works with a team of other educational designers and researchers to create research-based programs that teach self-regulation and social-emotional skills to children in developmentally and culturally appropriate ways. She led the organization’s revision of its comprehensive prevention program for elementary school students: Second Step: Skills for Social and Academic Success and was the lead developer for the Second Step Child Protection Unit. Bridgid holds a BA with honors in European studies from the University of East Anglia, a postgraduate certificate in education from the University of London, and a master of education from the University of Washington. Bridgid’s career has been dedicated to helping children thrive in every area of their lives. She is committed to finding effective ways for every child to learn a core set of social-emotional skills that give them the chance to succeed in school, in their relationships, and throughout their lives. Uma Kukathas Senior Educational Designer × Uma Kukathas Senior Educational Designer Uma began working as a senior educational designer at Committee for Children in 2018. For the previous 20 years, she worked in educational publishing, where she developed and wrote courses and lessons for elementary, middle, and high school audiences in science, social studies, and humanities. As an educator, her focus continues to be teaching underserved populations writing, critical thinking, and mindfulness, and Uma embraces the opportunities presented by her work on the Second Step Program. Uma earned a master’s in philosophy from the University of Washington. Tonje Molyneux, MEd Senior Educational Designer × Tonje Molyneux, MEd Senior Educational Designer Tonje has been on the Committee for Children team since 2009. She has developed curricula, including educational assessment, and taught in early learning, elementary, and adult settings. Tonje has translated her knowledge of effective and promising pedagogical approaches, educational design methodology, child development (cognitive, affective, and motor), and research in social-emotional development—including executive function, self-regulation, and social-emotional competence—into effective lessons, activities, and programs for children. She has worked on many projects for Committee for Children, including the Second Step elementary and early learning programs, the Second Step Leadership Institute, the Child Protection Unit, and numerous white papers, blogs, webinars, and conference presentations. Tonje has a bachelor’s of education from the University of Alberta and a master’s of education from the University of Calgary. She also has her Province of Alberta permanent professional-teaching certificate in K–12 and her elementary education endorsement from the state of Washington. Matt Pearsall, MAT Senior Educational Designer × Matt Pearsall, MAT Senior Educational Designer Matt has worked as an educational designer at Committee for Children since 2013. He formerly taught high school language arts and social studies, was a high school PBIS coordinator, and is an experienced adult-education trainer. Matt’s curiosity, adaptability, and experience working with high-needs student populations all contribute to his success as a program developer. He has worked on multiple programs, including the Child Protection and Bullying Prevention Units, the Second Step Social-Emotional Learning Program for international markets, and the Second Step Middle School Program. Matt has a bachelor’s degree in history from Western Washington University, a master of arts in teaching from Seattle University, and a graduate certificate in instructional design from the University of Wisconsin. Pamela Sale, MEd Senior Educational Designer × Pamela Sale, MEd Senior Educational Designer Pamela joined Committee for Children in 2016 as an experienced educational designer. She previously wrote and developed educational materials for both teachers and students in early childhood and elementary education for math, reading, social studies, science, and art. Pamela also taught elementary school, special education, and English. Her strong background developing both print and digital educational materials, teaching in large and diverse urban cities, and her creativity serve her well at Committee for Children, where she works on curriculum materials. Pamela graduated from the University of California, Riverside, with a bachelor of arts in liberal studies, and has her elementary education teaching credential from California State University, Fullerton, and her special education teaching credential from California State University, Los Angeles. Anna McAloon Educational Designer × Anna McAloon Educational Designer Anna joined Committee for Children in January 2018. Her previous experience in education includes teaching grades 3 and 4 as well as working in the nonprofit sector, where she served as an educational mentor for students with executive-function difficulties. Anna received her bachelor of science in elementary and kindergarten education from Penn State and a master’s in education from the University of Virginia, focusing on educational psychology and applied developmental science. She’s a certified elementary teacher in both Pennsylvania and California. Elise Potts Educational Designer × Elise Potts Educational Designer Before Elise began working with Committee for Children in 2017, she was a curriculum developer for the Mendez Foundation’s Too Good programs. In this role, she collaborated with a team of researchers and developers to create evidence-based bullying, violence, and substance-abuse prevention programs for grades K–12. In addition, she started an outreach campaign with her local community to coordinate pilot projects—like an afterschool initiative to integrate SEL into makerspaces. Elise enjoys the challenge of building developmentally and culturally appropriate and engaging lessons. Given Elise’s experience building children’s social-emotional skills and inspiring them to be active, lifelong learners through fun, interactive programs, she and Committee for Children are a natural fit. She holds a BA in English from Wellesley College. Research Team Lyscha Marcynyszyn, PhD Senior Research Scientist × Lyscha Marcynyszyn, PhD Senior Research Scientist Lyscha Marcynyszyn designs, implements, and manages evaluation studies on education and prevention programs. She’s passionate about conducting applied research that can mitigate risk factors and improve life-course outcomes for children and youth. Lyscha received her doctorate in developmental psychology from the Department of Human Development at Cornell University, where her graduate work focused on child development in the context of adversity. She has written over a dozen peer-reviewed publications on topics ranging from family instability to the effectiveness of parenting programs delivered in child welfare settings. Before her current role at Committee for Children, she worked for five years as a research analyst for Casey Family Programs. Jasmine Williams Research Scientist × Jasmine Williams Research Scientist Jasmine supports the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs at Committee for Children. She developed a passion for youth advocacy and research during her undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech and service with City Year DC, and she has been an educator in various formal and informal learning settings. Jasmine completed her doctoral training in applied developmental psychology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Psychology in Education, with a focus on adolescent development, motivation, and teacher-student relationships. Her scholarship has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Early Adolescence, Teaching and Teacher Education, and Research in Human Development. Research Advisory Group Dorothy Espelage, PhD × Dorothy Espelage, PhD University of Florida Dr. Dorothy Espelage is a professor of psychology at the University of Florida. She is the recipient of the APA Lifetime Achievement Award in Prevention Science and the 2016 APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy, and is a fellow of APS, APA, and AERA. Over the last 20 years, she has written over 140 peer-reviewed articles, five edited books, and 30 chapters on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, dating violence, and gang violence. Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming, and she has secured six and one-half million dollars of external funding. She advises members of Congress and the Senate on bully prevention legislation. She wrote a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011, and has been a consultant on the stopbullying.gov website and consultant to the National Anti-bullying Campaign, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show; Anderson 360, and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Sandra Graham, PhD × Sandra Graham, PhD University of California, Los Angeles Dr. Sandra Graham is a distinguished professor in the Human Development and Psychology Division in the Department of Education at UCLA and the University of California presidential chair in education and diversity. Her major research interests include the study of academic motivation and social development in children of color, particularly in school contexts that vary in racial/ethnic diversity. She is principal investigator on grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Dr. Graham has published widely in developmental, social, and educational psychology journals and received many awards. Among her awards, she is a 2011 recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Child Development Award from the Society for Research on Child Development and the 2014 E. L. Thorndike Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Educational Psychology, Division 15 of the American Psychological Association. Most recently, in 2015 she was elected to the National Academy of Education. Nancy Guerra, EdD × Nancy Guerra, EdD University of California, Irvine Dr. Nancy Guerra is the dean of the School of Social Ecology and professor of psychology and social behavior at UCI. Her research focuses on preventing youth violence and promoting healthy youth development. She has been the lead investigator for a number of large-scale projects, including the Southern California Academic Center for Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention (2000–2011) funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before that she was the principal investigator on an eight-year development and prevention study in the Chicago Public Schools, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. More recently she has been involved in international programs, as associate provost and senior international officer at the University of Delaware (2011–2015), and as a consultant for international agencies, including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and USAID. She currently serves as co-chair for kNOw Violence, a global initiative to prevent violence in childhood sponsored by the Public Health Foundation of India. Kevin Haggerty, PhD × Kevin Haggerty, PhD Social Development Research Group, University of Washington Dr. Kevin Haggerty is the director of the Social Development Research Group, University of Washington School of Social Work. He has specialized in the development and implementation of prevention programs at the community, school, and family levels. Since 1993, he has been the project director for the Raising Healthy Children study, a school-based approach to social development. He is an early implementer and trainer of the Guiding Good Choices parenting program. He is principal investigator of the NIDA-funded Family Connections study, testing the Parents Who Care program, and the Focus on Families study. He is an investigator of the Community Youth Development Study, testing the effectiveness of Communities that Care. Shelley Hymel, PhD × Shelley Hymel, PhD University of British Columbia Dr. Shelley Hymel’s research addresses the interface of social and academic functioning, with the goal of understanding social developmental processes in order to support children and youth in school settings. Of primary interest is research to promote social-emotional learning (SEL) in children and youth. Her research is conducted through ongoing school-university partnerships and in collaboration with graduate students in the Social and Early Emotional Development (SEED) research laboratory. John Love, PhD × John Love, PhD Retired Dr. John Love began retirement after 18 years with Mathematica Policy Research, where he was senior fellow and area leader for early-childhood policy and research. He now provides independent consulting in early care and education research, program evaluation, and policy. He has been involved for more than 40 years in teaching, research, and evaluation studies of programs for children birth to age five and their families. Dr. Love is an authority on early-childhood program evaluation and assessment. He has directed numerous program evaluations that have included randomized control studies, implementation/process studies, and qualitative research. He was a key player in Early Head Start research and evaluation studies from the infant-toddler phase through its prekindergarten follow-up study. He directed a multisite study of preschool curricula for the US Department of Education (the Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research or PCER project) and a single-county study of universal preschool for First 5 LA. Implementation & Partnerships We know that good program implementation is essential to producing positive outcomes, so we’re committed to identifying and breaking through common barriers to implementation, developing resources to support educators, and assessing whether we’re improving implementation fidelity. Our Implementation & Training staff work closely with district and school administrators to help them plan for program sustainability. Juliet Kandel Implementation and Training Manager × Juliet Kandel Implementation and Training Manager Juliet has worked in the field of social-emotional learning (SEL), violence, and substance abuse prevention since 1989 and began working at Committee for Children in 2003. She was formerly a prevention coordinator for a small school district in Ohio. At Committee for Children, she supports systemic Second Step implementations across the country through consultation, implementation-tool development, strategic partnerships, and professional development projects, such as our Second Step Leadership Institute. Juliet is committed to discovering and supporting what adults need in order for children to get the greatest benefit from SEL instruction. Juliet attended the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, and received a bachelor of arts in linguistics and communication disorders.