The Conference on Early Learning at the UW

2007 Conference Co-Chairs

Patricia Wasley, Ed.D.
Dean and Professor College of Education
University of Washington

Under the leadership of Dean Pat Wasley the College of Education has supported important research on early learning, transfer into practice and major outreach efforts.  The College will soon launch a Bachelor Degree in Early Learning and is a key participant in the “Thrive by Five” effort.

Ilene Schwartz, Ph.D.
Professor, Experimental Education Unit
Chair and Professor, Special Education
College of Education
University of Washington

Dr. Schwartz’s research has led to understanding what instructional strategies and learning environments are most effective for children in early grades especially those with autism and related disabilities.  Her practice includes teaching teachers and others how to implement these strategies with high fidelity.

2007 Conference Presenters

Theodore (Ted) P. Beauchaine, Ph.D.
Robert Bolles & Yasuko Endo Endowed Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Washington

Dr. Beauchaine’s research helps in understanding environmental factors that promote the expression of inherited risk for impulsive behavior, and the role that these factors play in children's social and emotional development including the development of delinquency. Such risk has direct implications for school readiness.

Cathryn Booth-LaForce, Ph.D., FAPS
Charles and Gerda Spence Endowed Professor in Nursing
Adjunct Professor, Psychology Affiliate, Center on Human Development and Disability University of Washington

Dr. Booth-LaForce's research focuses on the social-emotional development of children. She is a principal investigator on a national  study that examines the effects of various aspects of child care, the home environment, school, and the out-of-school environment on children's cognition, language, social-emotional development, and health.

Jone Bosworth, JD
Director, Department of Early Learning
Washington State

Jone M. Bosworth was appointed Director of the Department of Early Learning by Governor Chris Gregoire on September 11, 2006. Bosworth is the first director of the cabinet-level department, which was created by the 2006 Washington State Legislature.

Ms. Bosworth earned a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Nebraska 's College of Law in 1997 and led public agencies in Nevada and Nebraska that focused on children's mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice services for kids and families. Most recently, she served as Senior Director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative in St. Louis , where she supported partnerships with public and private non-profits to create enhanced opportunities for young people aging out of foster care systems. Outside the United States , Bosworth worked in Japan , Saudi Arabia , Mexico and Kenya , fueling her interest in diverse cultures and social justice.


John Bransford, Ph.D.
James W. Mifflin University Professor of Education and Psychology at the University of Washington
Principal Investigator and Director of the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Center, a National Science Foundation Sciences of Learning Center.

Dr. Bransford served as Co-Chair of several National Academy of Science committees that wrote major publications on the learning process based on several decades of research. Books such as “How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School”, and “How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice” address the different aspects of learning including when infants begin to learn, how children learn differently than adults and what educators should do to help children learn most effectively. Author of seven books and hundreds of articles and presentations, Dr. Bransford is an internationally renowned scholar in cognition and technology.

Leslie R. Herrenkohl, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Educational Psychology
College of Education
University of Washington

Dr. Herrenkhol’s research focuses on how children develop socially and cognitively in different educational environments. She works with teachers to help in understanding the factors that make educational environments more inviting and engaging to students using theories of human development as a framework.


Dr. Graciela Italiano-Thomas
CEO and President
Thrive by Five Washington

Dr. Graciela Italiano-Thomas is one of the nation's leading early learning experts and brings more than three decades of education and early learning experience to Thrive by Five Washington. She has served as CEO of Los Angeles Universal Preschool, CEO of Centro de la Familia de Utah, and as a senior consultant to the National Head Start Bureau. Among the many honors Graciela has received for her service to the community are the National Education Association's George I. Sanchez Human and Civil Rights Award for contributions made to the education of Latinos in the United States and the YWCA of Salt Lake City's Award for Community Activism and Leadership. Graciela was an associate professor of education and holds a doctorate in education and institutional management from Pepperdine University.

Brinda Jegatheesan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Early Childhood and Family Studies
Educational Psychology
College of Education
University of Washington

Dr. Jegatheesan’s research focuses on immigrant and indigenous families who have young children with developmental disabilities. Her research with multilingual South Asian immigrant families with children with autism has led to an understanding of how children with autism fare when growing up in a multilingual environment. Currently she is the principal investigator on a study that addresses the needs and supports of Asian immigrant families who have a child with a developmental disability in the state of Washington. Her practice includes teaching parents and professionals in medical, allied health and early intervention field, both in the US and in Asia.

Gail E. Joseph, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Early Childhood, and Family Studies
Educational Psychology
College of Education
University of Washington

Dr. Joseph’s research interests include a) teacher perceptions and practices related to young children with challenging behavior, b) social-emotional curricula and instruction, and c) leadership development in the field of early care and education. She has had extensive experience as a Head Start teacher, teacher trainer, mental health specialist, and national consultant in promoting evidence-based, social emotional practices with young children.

Jean F. Kelly, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Center on Infant Mental Health and Development
Family and Child Nursing
School of Nursing
University of Washington

Dr. Kelly's research focuses on how early care-giving affects children's development. She is Co-Director, Center on Infant Mental Health and Development at the University of Washington. She developed and published a research-and practice-based preventive intervention program called Promoting First Relationships, to enhance caregiver-child relationships. She directs NCAST-AVENUW Programs which is also dedicated to promoting young children's social-emotional development through responsive, nurturing caregiver-child relationships.

Patricia K. Kuhl, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences
Professor, Speech and Hearing Sciences
Research Affiliate, Center on Human Development and Disability
University of Washington

Dr. Kuhl’s research has major implications for the identification of critical periods in child development, and applications to early learning especially in the area of language acquisition and bilingual education. Researchers in the institute that she directs conduct cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on human learning in collaboration with others around the world. Research themes include Milestones of Learning and Development, Brain Plasticity, Links Connecting Brain and Behavior, Nature and Nurture and Computer Learning vs. Biological Learning.

Felice Orlich, Ph.D.
Clinical Associate
Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle

Dr. Orlich has previously served as Associate Director of the Autism Center at the University of Washington. She as extensive clinical experience working with individuals with disabilities and their families including individuals with autism. She is especially experienced in the use of Group Social Skills Therapy – which is used to teach children and adolescents with Asperger Syndrome pivotal social skills, increase their sense of affiliation with others, and improve self-esteem. Dr. Orlich is skilled in neuropsychological assessment, treatment of co-morbid challenges and social skills.

Susan Sandall, Ph.D
Associate Professor, Special Education
University of Washington

Dr. Sandall's research interests include: a) effective instructional practices for young children with disabilities and other special needs in natural learning environments, b) play, interaction, and social-communication of very young children with disabilities, and c) the changing roles of teachers of young children, their relationships with other service providers, and the implications for personnel preparation.

Carolyn H. Webster-Stratton, Ph.D., FAAN, FAPA
Professor, Family and Child Nursing
Director, Parents and Children Research Clinic
Adjunct Professor, Psychology
Affiliate, Center on Human Development and Disability
University of Washington

Dr. Webster–Stratton has developed research-based and validated parent, teacher and child training programs known as “The Incredible Years Series” that are designed to prevent and treat behavior problems in young children (ages 3-10 years) and to promote social and emotional competence.   Aspects of these programs include child management strategies, social, emotional and academic coaching,, effective communication, problem-solving and anger management.   Her books such as "How to Promote Social and Emotional Competence in Young Children" benefit parents, teachers and therapists. Currently she is conducting a study in collaboration with Dr. Beauchaine and Dr. Reid that is evaluating a partnership which combines parent and teacher training and child social skills and problem solving treatment for young children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and oppositional behaviors.

Samuel Zinner, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Center on Human Development and Disability
Director of Residency and Medical Student Training in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
University of Washington and
Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle

Dr. Zinner supervises medical trainees in the evaluation of children and their families with concerns regarding a broad range of neurodevelopmental, behavioral and psychosocial issues. His areas of studies and expertise especially include Tourette Syndrome -- a disorder that is prevalent in its mild form and often accompanied by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive/compulsive disorder, anxiety, and learning disabilities.