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ECE Faculty/Staff

David Allen, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education. He currently teaches, advises, and supervises students pursuing licensure in the area of early intervention/early childhood special education . His course offerings include assessment, communication, early literacy, and specialized techniques with children with multiple or significant disabilities. Dr. Allen taught in a variety of early childhood, elementary, and secondary settings as a special educator. His research interests focus on the potential benefits of bringing young children and older adults together through intergenerational opportunities (e.g., early childhood program embedded in a retirement community or assisted living program, adult day program next to a childcare program). 

Pat Burk, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy in the Graduate School of Education. He teaches classes in the Educational Administration program and researches the characteristics of schools and districts that successfully close the achievement gap. He also facilitates the implementation of PSU campus and community partnerships for the Cradle-to-Career initiative. He served as chief policy officer to Susan Castillo, Oregon superintendent of public instruction, and the Oregon Department of Education. In addition to many other initiatives, he coordinated the Oregon K–12 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) effort that infused the Oregon PreK–12 education system with millions of dollars to advance reforms and improvements to create long-lasting results for students. Dr. Burk also held several positions in Portland Public Schools.

Christine Chaillé, PhD, is a professor and chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Portland State University. Her teaching and scholarship focus is on early childhood education. She co-authored The Young Child as Scientist: A Constructivist Approach to Early Childhood Science Education, now in its third edition, has also authored, Constructivism across the Early Childhood Curriculum: Big Ideas as Inspiration, and is currently writing a book on math and science integration in constructivist classrooms. She has written many publications, primarily on the importance of children's play. Her recent research includes the role universities can play in inspiring innovative practice, particularly through the study of the schools of Reggio Emilia in Italy. She is also working with Hands to Hearts International and has developed a curriculum on child development for caregivers in orphanages in India that is being used with other vulnerable populations in other countries. 

Pamela Deardorff, MS, is the director of the Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education (OCCD) at Portland State University. She holds a master’s degree in education with emphasis in early childhood education and behavior disorders. She has worked in the area of early childhood education for more than 24 years and has many years’ experience writing grants, implementing grant activities, and evaluating grant outcomes in the area of early childhood. Ms. Deardorff spent her early years in the field working directly with children as a teacher and a director of Western Oregon University’s Child Development Center, where she was instrumental in the center achieving accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She has been involved in staff development and training, local and national presentations, and developed policies and procedures. She co-authored the Teaching Research Assistance to Child Care Providers Serving Children with Disabilities curriculum, which has been disseminated across the United States. She was also the lead author for an article published in Rural Special Education Quarterly, TAPS: An innovative cost-effective professional development program for paraeducators working in early childhood special education (2007).

Linda Jessell, MA, has an extensive background in public education in Oregon—over 40 years of work in schools and school districts and at the university level. She has been director of the Center for Student Success since 2008 and has also served on the faculty of the Graduate Teacher of Education Preparation program in the PSU Graduate School of Education. Her current areas of specialization include program evaluation, charter school evaluation, research and application of research to existing programs, teacher professional development, and school leadership training and development. Ms. Jessell’s work in K–12 schools included leadership positions in the Beaverton and Gresham-Barlow school districts: assistant principal, principal, director of secondary schools, and K–12 curriculum director. In 2005, the Business Education Compact recognized Ms. Jessell’s work and selected her to receive its annual Education Achievement Award.

Ellie Justice, MA, is the Director of Helen Gordon Child Development Center.  She is also a faculty member in the Graduate School of Education and brings 30 years of experience in the early childhood field. She is visionary and innovative and seeks to support families and staff as they journey with young children through the primary years of school and the educational experience.  She also works hard to build a community of learners and bring about opportunities for constructive changes in programming. She, and her staff, develop and mirror the values and goals of the overall program and its relationship as a place of study within the University. They uphold the primary aim of the Center, which is to give children, staff and families the best our culture and world has to offer.

Marjorie McGee, PhD, is adept at identifying the appropriate datasets, including Oregon Department of Education student-level datasets, to answer key research and evaluation questions. She is skilled in a number of software programs used for research, such as SPSS, Stata, and Atlas Ti. Her analytical skills include the ability to conduct statistical analyses using complex survey data, as well as use an intersectional, intercategorical approach to examine educational or health disparities by multiple social statuses. 

In the past year as Research Associate in the Center for Student Success, Dr. McGee was responsible for the collection and analyses of most of the data reported by Education, Equity and Excellence from Cradle to Career, a division of All Hands Raised. She was the primary data analyst for an evaluation of a pilot project related to the Oregon Framework for Teacher and Administrator Evaluation and Support Systems produced for the Oregon Department of Education. Most recently she was the lead data analyst of teacher survey data prepared for Chalkboard and CLASS (Creative Leadership Achieves Student Success) partner districts. 

Leslie J. Munson, PhD, is a professor in special education and coordinator of the Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (EI/ECSE) program. She is also the faculty liaison for the Infant Toddler Mental Health Graduate Certificate program. With colleagues in early childhood education, she is developing an inclusive master’s degree that will be fully online. Her research interests include caregiver-infant interaction; screening and assessment of infants, toddlers, and young children; and grief of teachers who have experienced the death of a student. She and her colleagues are developing a curriculum to support home visitors in parent-infant interaction. Prior to joining the faculty at Portland State University, she was a speech language pathologist in a variety of settings (e.g., homes, schools, hospitals, infant programs, health departments).

Will Parnell, EdDis an associate professor in early childhood education and is the pedagogical liaison to the Helen Gordon Child Development Center at Portland State University. He also coordinates the master’s specialization in early childhood education for the Graduate School of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction Department. His research and publication specialty areas are in Reggio-inspired experiences, environments and designs for learning and teaching, documenting young children’s learning and making learning visible, and facilitating narratives.  Dr. Parnell serves on the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators' Board and the Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education program committee and is a board member at A Renaissance School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Parnell has been in the early education field since 1986 and has a wide background in teaching and leadership, having been an educator and director in university lab schools, parent cooperatives, and public schools. NOTE: Dr. Parnell is on sabbatical 2013–14.