Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Summer 2013 Institute

Addressing School Readiness Gaps In Urban Settings Using An Early Intervening Approach

Director: Dr. Chun Zhang
Phone: 212-636-7543 | E-mail:


Marilyn Bisberg, M.S.
Marilyn Bisberg, M.S. spent the last 24 years teaching young, underserved children with special needs. She joined Fordham University as an adjunct professor and field specialist in 2005 and in Sept. 2011 became a faculty member. She currently teaches Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education master’s level courses. She also provides direct strategic supervision to student teachers as a Field Specialist. Marilyn Bisberg teaches and supervises students returning for Special Education Master’s Degree through PEER and PECSE grant projects. Prior to joining the Division of Curriculum & Teaching in the Graduate School of Education, Marilyn Bisberg worked directly with special needs children under five, through a variety of funding sources. She worked with infants/toddlers and their families for Early Intervention, preschoolers in typical settings as a Special Education Itinerant Teacher for the Dept of Education, and as a special education preschool and toddler classroom teacher. Her teaching interests and expertise are in the areas of behavior management strategies, emotional development of young children, attachment and separation, underserved children/families and assessment/observation as well as a particular interest in contemporary issues and its effect on the teacher’s role and function. Marilyn Bisberg also served as the project manager and presenter for a District 75, six workshops series in collaboration with Bank Street College of Education. She consulted teaching staff and formulated workshop series as an Education Specialist for Borough of Manhattan Community College’s drop-off program. Most notable is her commitment to strategies and functional techniques useful for classroom and student management.

Camille Catlett
For the past 20 years Camille Catlett has developed and shared resources for supporting young children who are culturally, linguistically, and ability diverse and their families through her work at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina (FPG). In her role as an Investigator with the National Professional Center on Inclusion, she supported five states in developing cross-sector professional development approaches and using evidence-based practices to support young children with and without disabilities. Evidence of her productivity may be seen in searchable databases (Crosswalks Toolbox), syllabus resources for faculty (SCRIPT-NC landing pads), publications (the Young Exceptional Children Resources within Reason series), listservs (Natural Resources, BabyTalk), and presentations. Camille is currently supporting replication of the Crosswalks model in seven states. Crosswalks is an evidence-based approach to supporting improvements in higher education programs that Camille and other colleagues developed at FPG.

Catherine Corr, M.Ed.
Catherine served families and children with special needs in many different capacities, including as an early childhood educator, an early intervention provider and a therapeutic recreation leader. She is interested in examining ways to effectively recruit, enroll and sustain the participation of hard to reach families in quality early learning programs. Catherine is conducting her research on young children with special needs and their families who live in poverty.

Natalie Danner, University of Illinois
Originally from New York, Natalie Danner is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois studying early childhood special education. She has seven years of experience teaching young children in inclusive settings in New York and Arizona and has also served as a school leader in Head Start and independent schools in Manhattan. Natalie holds a M.S.E. in ECSE from Fordham, a M.A. in School Leadership from Teachers College, and a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona. Her passions are early childhood teacher preparation for inclusive settings and Montessori education for students with disabilities. She currently serves on the Illinois DEC board, the American Montessori Society's Archives Committee, and is a consultant for the National Center for Montessori Education in the Public Sector.

Susan Fowler, Ph.D.
Susan Fowler, Ph.D. is professor of Special Education and has over 30 years of experience in the fields of ECE and ECSE. Dr. Fowler received her B.A in Human Development & Family Life as well as her Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Psychology from the University of Kansas, Lawrence. She also spent time at the University of Notre Dame to complete a M.A in Experimental Psychology. Dr. Fowler has served as PI or co-PI on over 25 federally- and state-funded projects focused on research, T/TA, personnel development and demonstration and outreach. Currently she directs the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse IC and the state funded TA project and website for early learning standards (Illinois Early Learning Project), as well as oversees the state database (Illinois Early Childhood Asset Map) for all early childhood services annually. Much of her research has looked at factors that support inclusion in community childcare, policies supporting EI, and the transition process between programs (EI, preschool, kindergarten). Dr. Fowler has held many leadership roles nationally, including president of DEC (1991-92), CEC (2008) and HECSE (1999-2000). She has been a faculty member at UIUC for 21 years and served as department head, associate dean and dean of the College of Education.

Dr. Eugene Garcia
Dr. Eugene García is Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University and the University of California, Berkeley. He served as Professor and Vice President for Education Partnerships at ASU from 2006-2011 and as Dean of the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education from 2002-2006. He joined ASU from the University of California, Berkeley where he was Professor and Dean of The Graduate School of Education (1995-2001). He has served as an elected member of a local school board and a Senior Officer in the US Department of Education. He has published extensively in areas of early learning, bilingual development and equal educational opportunity. His most recent books include Bilingualism and Cognition: Joining Cognitive Psychology and Education to Enhance Bilingual Research, Pedagogy and Policy (2011) with José Náñez, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, and Understanding the Language Development and Early Education of Hispanic Children (2012) with Erminda Garcia . Teachers College Press: New York, NY.

Rosa Milagros Santos Gilbertz, Ph.D.
Rosa Milagros Santos Gilbertz, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. in Special Education from Utah State University. Dr. Gilbertz has been a part of the Department of Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since1997. Dr. Gilbertz is an active member of the department, teaching as well as conducting research. In 2009, she received both the College and University awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching. She is a Provost Faculty Fellow, coordinating the campus level Faculty Mentoring Program and the College of Education Teaching Academy. She has been a PI or Co-PI on several personnel preparation and research grants. Currently, she is Co-PI on several federally-funded grants (i.e., NCQTL, CSEFEL, and Father Involvement Study). Dr. Gilbertz is currently the President of DEC, is an associate editor for Young Exceptional Children journal, and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Early Intervention and Topics in Early Childhood Special Education. She has published widely on topics related to role of families, culturally and linguistically responsive services, and professional development. She has extensive experience providing T/TA to early childhood programs and has presented at numerous meetings and conferences.

Talina Jones
Talina Jones is currently the Chair of the NYS EICC. She represents families on the Group Developmental Intervention Standards taskforces of the EICC. She is a trainer for the Early Intervention Partners Training Project. In addition, she serves on the Board of Directors for Jowonio School (and inclusive preschool in central New York), CNY chapter of NYCLU and the Early Intervention Family Alliance (EIFA). As a parent of a child with a disability, she represented families as a member of the 2012 Core Planning Team which made recommendations to the Syracuse City School District’s in the development of a 5 year Strategic Plan. She has been a presenter and a co-presenter on the importance of developing and supporting leadership development in families that are culturally competent and family centered at OSEP Mega Leadership Confernece, Ignite Session at 2012 Annual DEC conference, and numerous class presentations to graduate students in Special Education. She also co-authored: Smith, M. Gundler, D., Casey, M., Jones, T. (2011). Sustaining Family Involvement in Part C Policy and Services: Successes and Challenges Moving Forward. Zero to Three, March 2011. Talina Jones is an advocate for families who have young children with disabilities. She currently resides in Syracuse, but has lived most of her life in New York City. She and her husband Kareim Sr. have a 8-year-old son Kareim. She will graduate in June from Suny Empire State with a B.S. in Social Theory, Social Structure and Change with a concentration in Disability Studies.

Carmen Lugo Llerena, M.A.
Graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1994 with a B.S. in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration. Joined the Walt Disney Company in 1994 and held various leadership roles throughout Walt Disney World Resorts and Disney Cruise Line until 2001. Began teaching career as a NYC Teaching Fellow in the summer of 2002. Received M.A. in Education and a Bilingual Extension from The City College of New York in 2004. Taught kindergarten, first and second grade Dual Language classes at C.S. 150 and P.S. 333 in the Bronx and currently at P.S. 75 in Manhattan.

Nina Lublin, M.Ed.
Since March 1993, Nina Lublin has been the Early Childhood Specialist at Resources for Children with Special Needs, Inc. (RCSN). She provides individualized information, referrals, and advocacy services to NYC families of children birth to five with special needs and disabilities and to the professionals who work with them. Nina works to ensure young children have access to all Early Intervention, preschool special education and general early childhood services and programs in NYC. She also helps families of children with disabilities of all ages, in their search for non-school related services such as evaluations, after school, recreation and socialization programs, camps, housing, and family support services. Until June 2011, Nina was a long-time member of the NYC LEICC (Local Early Intervention Coordinating Council), and from 1989 served on the NYC Department of Education’s Preschool Task Force (which was disbanded in 2010). She is a ‘founding’ member of the CUNY - NYC Early Childhood Professional Development Institute’s Advisory Panel. From 2004 until September 2010, Nina was the NY State EI-funded parent trainer for the NYC Training Collaborative for EI, presenting workshops on enhancing the role of families in EI and on Transition from EI to other early childhood services. From 2005 to 2008, working with NYC Parents-in-Action and the Parents League she helped plan and conduct 3 symposia on various topics of interest to parents and professionals in collaboration with organizations such as the Brazelton Touchpoints Project and the NYU-KiDS Foundation. From 2006 though 2009, Ms. Lublin also collaborated with Hunter College’s Regional Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders to plan and implement free family conferences and seminars on various aspects of caring for and educating young children with ASDs. Since 2002, Nina has been an Adjunct Lecturer in Hunter’s Department of Special Education teaching the “History and Context of Early Childhood Intervention” to graduate students in Early Childhood Special Education. Nina also taught in the Child Care Certificate program at NYU. Nina’s professional experience also includes two long stints working for Head Start, first in Massachusetts (1975-80) and in NYC (1983-1993), and one of the original federally-funded HCEEP replication projects in Connecticut. She has also worked with and presented at conferences of both the National and NYC Associations for the Education of Young Children, Birch Family Services and Los Ninos Services. In 2012 Nina was awarded the Emily Fenichel Award from the Zero to Three New York Network recognizing nearly 40 years of dedicated service to young children with special needs and their families across 4 states. Nina received her B.S. degree in Psychology / Education from Emerson College, and her M.Ed. in Special Education/Early Childhood from the University of Illinois.

Emily Marmolejos, M.S.T.
Emily Marmolejos, M.S.T. is currently a doctoral candidate of Fordham’s University Graduate School of Education in Language, Literacy and Learning program. Her research focuses on teacher-student and peer interactions in young children with disabilities attending inclusive preschool settings. Her early childhood experience includes working with young children and their families in early intervention center-based and home-based settings, orphanages, hospitals, homeless shelters, as well as in self-contained and inclusive classrooms. She worked as an Educational Supervisor of an inclusive nursery and preschool program inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach in New York City. As an adjunct professor at Fordham University, she currently teaches the courses Learning through Play, Interdisciplinary Curricula and Family & Community and All Young Children. Previously she co-taught the Early Childhood Bilingual Special Education course. She also currently works as the Project Coordinator of the Preparing Early Childhood Special Educators (PECSE) Project at Fordham.

Molly Nozyce, Ph.D.
Molly Nozyce, Ph.D., is the Director of Neurodevelopmental Services at Jacobi Medical Center where she has a joint appointment in the Department of Pediatrics and Psychiatry. Dr. Nozyce is an Associate Professor at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, Yeshiva University and has served as adjunct faculty at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, where she received her Ph.D., and the Bank Street College of Education. Dr. Nozyce is involved in the teaching of both pediatricians and psychologists on issues related to the development and behavior of infants and children. In addition, Dr. Nozyce is a distinguished researcher whose areas of interests include Pediatric HIV and its effect on cognition and behavior as well as Prematurity and its impact on development. As a member of the Early Intervention Coordinating Council for New York City, Dr. Noyzce serves as chairperson of their Programs and Services Sub-committee. Dr. Nozyce also provides the New York State trainings for evaluation and autism and has been a consultant for the State on issues relevant to Early Intervention.

Liz Orlando
Liz Orlando studied political science at the University of Notre Dame. She joined Teach for America as a "break" before going to law school. Liz ended up loving teaching and seeing her lawyer friends be miserable, so she stayed at teaching longer than 2 years. -21 in fact! Liz has taught grades K-5, monolingual, bilingual, and Dual Language. She has taught in 4 NYC public schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She has also taught reading in a pull-out program, and special education (SETSS, half- and full-time ICT.) She has a Masters in bilingual ed from CCNY, and took special ed classes at various places throughout the city. Her two children have gone through the PS 75 Dual Language program, but have gone on to monolingual middle schools.

Amy Prechel
Amy Prechel received her B.S in Occupational Therapy from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA. She has over 10 years of experience providing services to children in the public school setting. She also has experience using Handwriting Without Tears® to successfully teach handwriting to children from Pre-K to high school, both in regular and special education classrooms. Amy has been a National Workshop Presenter for HWT for over 4 years.

Kristin Srp
Kristin Srp received her Masters Degree from Hunter College in Speech/Language Pathology. She was the Educational Director of an Early intervention Center that serviced children with autism-spectrum disorders and other developmental delays before transitioning to the Rebecca School in September 2008. She has worked with children with autism -spectrum disorders for over eight years. This work includes treating children of various ages and abilities in home-based settings, school age settings and Early Intervention centers. She is certified as an Advanced DIR® floortime provider through ICDL. She has been attending DIR® training and conferences hosted by ICDL since November 2003. Kristin received her Master’s Degree from Hunter College in Speech/Language Pathology.

Lauren Tobing-Puente, Ph.D.
Lauren Tobing-Puente is a NYS Licensed Psychologist who works both in private practice and school settings. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Fordham University, where she specialized in child and family therapy. Dr. Tobing-Puente is Senior Psychologist (and former Clinical Coordinator) of the Rebecca School, a DIR/Floortime school for children with autism-spectrum and related disorders (4 to 21 year olds). In her private practice, Dr. Tobing-Puente provides DIR/Floortime intervention, play therapy, evaluations, and parent support. The experiences of parents of children with autism-spectrum disorders have been the focus of Dr. Tobing-Puente’s research studies, which have been presented at national conferences and published by research journals. She also consults to Williamsburg Northside Schools (infants to 8 year olds), where she collaborates and supports parents and staff when concerns arise about children’s social-emotional and other developmental areas of functioning. Her chapter, Parent Support (in “Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism” [2010: Skyhorse Publishing]) details the importance of support for parents of children with autism-spectrum disorders.

Chun Zhang, Ph.D.
Chun Zhang, Ph.D. is currently a Professor from the Division of Curriculum & Teaching, Graduate School of Education, Fordham University. She received her Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000. She has published articles, chapters, and monographs in areas such as culturally and linguistically appropriate services, interagency collaboration, family-professional partnerships in nationally and internationally read journals. She serves as reviewer for Young Exceptional Children, NHSA Dialog: A Research-to-Practice Journal for the Early Childhood Field, and as a grant reviewer for U.S. Department of Education research grants, and doctoral training grants. She has been actively engaged in improving teacher effectiveness and teacher training. She has received multi-million dollars of grants in teacher training and professional development from the U.S. Department of Education.

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