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2022 new faculty headshots collage

New hires build on CEHD’s strengths in special education, human development and family sciences, education policy and more.

This fall, the University of Delaware College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) welcomes 10 new faculty members, including two senior faculty members—Jessica Namkung and Sara Goldstein—in the areas of special education and human development and family sciences. The growth in faculty builds on CEHD’s strengths in the areas of special education, human development and family sciences, education and social policy, school psychology and curriculum and instruction, deepening the college’s scholarship and expanding its programs and community services in these crucial areas.

Our new tenured/tenure-track (TT) and continuing track (CT) colleagues—who include Amin Alizadeh (CT), Sara Goldstein (TT), Allison Jackson (CT), Eric Layland (TT), Leigh McLean (TT), Jessica Namkung (TT), Kate Riera (CT), Teresa Hickok (CT), Rosalyn Washington (CT) and Brittany Zakszeski (TT)—also contribute to the important areas of scholarship and teaching identified by US News and World Report. This year, CEHD ranked 39th among colleges and universities, placing the college in the top 15% of education colleges across the nation. Our new faculty members enrich our expertise and contribute to our externally-funded grants and projects in the following areas:

  • Special education with 15 faculty members and $22,647,868 in external funding
  • Education policy with 18 faculty members and $23,611,190 in external funding
  • Curriculum and instruction with 32 faculty members and $14,614,131 in external funding
  • Elementary teacher education with 35 faculty members and $16,619,140 in external funding

Special Education

Jessica Namkung joins CEHD, one of the leading colleges for research and student programs in special education, as associate professor in the School of Education (SOE). She specializes in mathematics learning difficulties, with research focused on improving mathematics outcomes for struggling students. Through her research, Namkung also works to understand the various factors that contribute to individual differences in learning mathematics, such as executive function, language and mathematics anxiety. Her research has been published in Review of Educational Research, The Elementary School Journal, The Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Learning Disabilities and Learning Disabilities Quarterly.

Namkung currently serves as the principal investigator (PI) of “Exploring Cognitive and Foundational Processes Underlying Pre-algebra among Students with and without Mathematics Learning Difficulties,” a $1.4 million exploration grant funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Her work aims to identify key factors that underlie pre-algebra difficulties among seventh graders. She also serves as co-director of two leadership grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Rehabilitative Services that focus on training future scholars in special education.

In addition to Namkung, CEHD also welcomes Allison F. Jackson, assistant professor in the SOE. Prior to her work in higher education, Jackson served as a special education elementary school teacher for seven years in Georgia. She brings expertise in preparing educators to work with children with challenging behavior and academic needs.

In her new role in CEHD, Jackson teaches courses related to instruction and assessment at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Like her CEHD colleagues, Jackson is committed to the college’s mission to prepare graduates that can address critical educational issues and serve children, families and their communities.

Together, Namkung and Jackson build upon CEHD’s strengths in special education and learning differences, joining colleagues Gary Allison (CT), Tia Barnes (TT), Al Cavalier (TT), Sarah Curtiss (TT), Stephanie Del Tufo (TT), Steven Eidelman (TT), Laura Eisenman (TT), Nancy Jordan (TT), Charles MacArthur (TT), Sarah Mallory (CT), Beth Mineo (TT), Kristen Ritchey (TT) and Joshua Wilson (TT). Many CEHD faculty conduct research and provide services through the college’s Center for Disabilities Studies.

Human Development and Family Sciences

Sara Goldstein joins CEHD as a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS), specializing in lifespan human development. Her research adopts a social justice-informed approach to understanding the social and social-cognitive factors associated with youth’s psychological, behavioral and social adjustment.

For example, Goldstein’s research has focused on the predictors and consequences of gendered aggression, bullying and peer-based harassment. She also examines other aspects of adjustment including academic motivation and achievement, mental health and problem behavior, broadly defined. Goldstein is especially interested in the development of these constructs during periods of developmental transition such as early adolescence and emerging adulthood. Her program of research also explores the significant roles that parents, peers and schools play during these periods of youth transition. Goldstein’s research has been published in a variety of leading journals including Developmental Psychology, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Journal, Contemporary School Psychology, Early Child Development and Care, Early Education and Development and Journal of Child and Family Studies, Journal for Research on Adolescence, among others.

Goldstein’s recent projects have focused on cyberbullying and sexual harassment during adolescence, and the links to parental socialization and school experiences. Her current work explores how parenting during emerging adulthood is linked with parent-youth relationship characteristics, and with youth social and psychological adjustment.

Eric Layland joins CEHD as an assistant professor in HDFS, where he bridges LGBTQ+ developmental research and community impact through developmentally-informed, affirmative interventions. His research areas include LGBTQ+ within-group differences in mental health and unhealthy substance use, the impact of stigma on LGBTQ+ development, strengths-based approaches to LGBTQ+ health, and LGBTQ+ affirmative interventions. Across all areas of research, Layland uses innovative analytical methods to reflect intersecting systems of oppression that shape LGBTQ development across the life course.

Through community partnerships and funding support from the National Institutes of Health, Layland has led and collaborated on several intervention evaluations including investigation of underage drinking prevention among college students (LateNight Penn State), school-based substance use and HIV prevention among adolescents (HealthWise South Africa), and LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy for adolescents and young adults (EQuIP). He recently served as PI on projects funded by the Yale Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies that studied the experiences of LBGTQ+ individuals engaged in telehealth services and cognitive behavioral health therapy.

Currently, he continues to collaborate with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles on the Healthy Young Men’s Cohort Study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, to model the impact of intersecting stigma on health disparities and development of Black and Latinx sexual minority young men.

In addition to Goldstein and Layland, CEHD welcomes several other faculty members in HDFS, including two assistant professors—Amin Alizadeh and Kate Riera. Amin Alizadeh specializes in human relations administration and teaches courses related to diversity and inclusion in human relations and work-family conflict. His research interests include human resource development (HRD) ethics, value-based leadership and the impacts of corporate social responsibility activities on employee attitudes and behaviors. His articles have been published in journals such as the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism ManagementHuman Resource Development International and the European Journal of Training and Development.

Alizadeh’s long-term research studies the effects of climate change on the future of HRD and considers how human resource professionals can communicate and educate the workforce regarding climate change consequences. His current book project highlights how HRD practitioners and academics can help reduce ethical misconduct among employees, improve ethical culture and promote authentic corporate social responsibility programs.

Kate Riera specializes in human services and teaches courses related to partnering effectively with individuals, youth and families to improve their well-being and family functioning. Through her teaching, Riera is committed to providing undergraduates with high quality and engaging learning experiences. She also strives to provide students with the tools they need to become competent and knowledgeable contributors to the human services field.

Riera’s doctoral research and dissertation focused on the health and well-being outcomes of adolescent and young adult mothers and their children and examined the effects of social and family support. Her research interests include marginalized families, adolescent health and well-being and examining equitable and engaging teaching practices in family science.

Together, they build on CEHD’s strengths in human development and family sciences, joining colleagues Ann Aviles (TT), Tia Barnes (TT), Martha Buell (TT), Roderick Carey (TT), Valerie Earnshaw (TT), Steven Eidelman (TT), Heather Farmer (TT), Michael Ferrari (TT), Ruth E. Fleury-Steiner (TT), Jennifer Gallo-Fox (TT), Mellissa Gordon (TT), Rena Hallam (TT), Myae Han (TT), Jason Hustedt (TT), Allison Karpyn (TT), Lynn Okagaki (TT), Barbara Settles (TT), Bahira Trask (TT), Laura Wallace (CT), Anamarie Whitaker (TT) and Lynn Worden (CT).

Education and Social Policy

Leigh McLean joined CEHD in January 2022 as an assistant research professor in the SOE and Center for Research in Educational and Social Policy. She brings expertise in quantitative, mixed-methods longitudinal study design and implementation, multileveled data analysis and classroom observation. In her program of research, McLean investigates how teachers’ emotions and emotion-related experiences, including well-being, impact their effectiveness. She is particularly interested in how teachers’ emotions affect their instructional practices, and the role that early-career teachers’ emotions play as they transition into the career.

McLean currently serves as PI on two federally funded projects. Exploring Elementary Teachers’ Feelings, Beliefs and Effectiveness across Mathematics, Science and Literacy,” a $1.4 million grant funded by the IES, studies how elementary teachers’ feelings and beliefs impact their effectiveness in the content areas they teach. “The Impacts of Preservice Supervised Field Experiences on Elementary Mathematics Teachers’ Retention and Effectiveness,” a $1.5 million grant funded by the National Science Foundation, explores how mentored teaching experience impacts elementary mathematics teachers’ effectiveness during the early career stage.

McLean builds upon CEHD’s strength in education and social policy, joining colleagues Dean Gary T. Henry (TT), Director of Research Laura Desimone (TT), and colleagues Ann Aviles (TT), Lauren Bailes (TT), Sarah Bruch (TT; jointly appointed), Martha Buell (TT), Roderick Carey (TT), Valerie Earnshaw (TT), Elizabeth Farley-Ripple (TT), Rena Hallam (TT), Jason Hustedt (TT), Allison Karpyn (TT), Henry May (TT), Florence Ran (TT), Barbara Settles (TT), Kenneth Shores (TT), Bryan VanGronigen (TT) and Anamarie Whitaker (TT).

School Psychology

Brittany Zakszeski joins CEHD as an assistant professor in the SOE specializing in school psychology. Her research centers on promoting student and staff mental and behavioral health through multi-tiered systems of support in schools. Her work leverages advances in implementation science to address barriers to schools’ adoption, high-fidelity implementation and sustained use of evidence-based assessment and intervention practices at the system-wide, targeted and individual levels. She prioritizes accessible, efficient, and scalable practices and is particularly committed to promoting equitable outcomes for minoritized students, families and communities.

Zakszeski currently serves as the PI on a pilot evaluation of a targeted mental health intervention for high school students, funded by the Society for the Study of School Psychology. She recently served as the PI on a project that studied the efficacy of a targeted invention for elementary school students with internalizing behaviors, funded by the American Psychological Foundation. 

Zakszeski builds upon CEHD’s strengths in school psychology and joins colleagues George Bear (TT), Marika Ginsburg-Block (TT) and Joseph Glutting (TT).

Curriculum and Instruction 

Two faculty members bring expertise to CEHD’s curriculum and instruction, particularly the early childhood education and elementary teacher education programs. Rosalyn Washington, assistant professor in HDFS, will contribute to the department’s Early Childhood Education program. Teresa Hickok, who specializes in elementary teacher education, joins CEHD as an assistant professor and program coordinator for the Elementary Teacher Education (ETE) Associate in Arts (AA) program in Wilmington, Delaware. 

A former pre-k, kindergarten and first-grade teacher, Washington now teaches courses related to literacy, inclusion, professionalism and engaging diverse families. Her research and areas of interest include teacher preparation, educational policy relating to early childhood education, academic redshirting and mentoring and other-mothering of graduate students. Washington’s research has been published in Educational Studies Journal.

Prior to her appointment as a faculty member, Hickok served as the ETE AA program coordinator for the Wilmington campus for many years. In this role, she recruits prospective students, teaches freshman seminar, learning science and literacy education courses and coordinates early field experiences in local schools and other organizations. In addition, she advises students in the program and prepares sophomores for their transition to the Newark campus. At UD, Hickok also serves as a faculty mentor for UD’s Community Engagement Institute summer scholars, a field instructor for CEHD methods students placed in Wilmington and as an advisor for candidates in the SOE’s Educational Leadership doctoral program.

Hickok and Washington build on CEHD’s teaching and research strengths in curriculum and instruction, exhibited by several faculty members, joining colleagues Steve Amendum (TT), Christina Budde (CT), Martha Buell (TT), Tia Barnes (TT), David Coker (TT), Zoubeida Dagher (TT), Stephanie Del Tufo (TT), Danielle Ford (TT), Jen Gallo-Fox (TT), Lynsey Gibbons (TT), Vicki Goettel (CT), Rena Hallam (TT), Myae Han (TT), Charles Hohensee (TT), Jason Hustedt (TT), Amanda Jansen (TT), Rachel Karchmer-Klein (TT), William Lewis (CT), Dede Lilly (CT), Erica Litke (TT), Charles MacArthur (TT), Anne Morris (TT), Kristina Najera (CT), Teo Paoletti (TT), Kristen Ritchey (TT), Eric Sisofo (CT), Elizabeth Soslau (CT), Sharon Walpole (TT), Anamarie Whitaker (TT), Joshua Wilson (TT) and Lynn Worden (CT).


Image: From left to right, Jessica Namkung, Kate Riera, Teresa Hickok, Brittany Zakszeski, Eric Layland, (second row) Sara Goldstein, Amin Alizadeh, Allison F. Jackson, Rosalyn Washington, and Leigh McLean

Article by Jessica Henderson. Illustration by Shelly Silva