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Technical Advisory Committe and Staff

Amara Scott Andrews
Amara Scott Andrews joined the National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics staff as Director of Strategic Communications in February 2006. She has a background in education/child development and the law. After completing her undergraduate work at UC Berkeley, she worked as a teacher and language development facilitator at a public school in Watts, California. She also worked in early education policy making at Crystal Stairs, Inc., a non-profit child development organization in Los Angeles. Amara earned her J.D. from UCLA law school and practiced law as a litigation associate for a large Los Angeles based law firm before entering the field of communications.

Dina Castro
Dr. Dina Castro is currently a researcher at the FPG Child Development Institute, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with almost 20 years of experience working on early childhood research and intervention in the United States and Latin America. She is a professional psychologist, with a Masters’ degree in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Education, with emphasis in early childhood. Dr. Castro is principal investigator (with Dr. Virginia Buysse) for a project from the U.S. Dept. of Education, Institute of Education Science, to develop and evaluate an intervention for promoting early language and literacy development of preschool Latino children who are English learners. She also serves as principal investigator in the New Voices/Nuevas Voces project funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education to develop, field test and evaluate the effectiveness of a training curriculum and technical assistance model on cultural and linguistic diversity for early childhood professionals. Dr. Castro is co-principal investigator for the Nuestros Niños Project funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education to conduct a national study of policies and practices of early childhood programs to address the needs of Latino children and families. She is a consultant for the project Partners for Literacy, a national study that is evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention to improve preschool teachers’ practices in the Even Start family literacy program. Dr. Castro has conducted research on language development of young children, as well as on factors affecting the well being of Latino immigrant families, she has studied parent involvement in Head Start programs, and participated in the development and field testing of instruments to evaluate the quality of early intervention programs.  In addition to her research activities, Dr. Castro serves as advisor to several state agencies and non-profit organizations on linguistically and culturally appropriate practices in early childhood education, particularly in programs serving young Latino children and families.

Delis Cuéllar Klitzke
Delis Cuéllar Klitzke is a doctoral student at Arizona State University, College of Education, in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program. She has done work in various research projects that tried to gauge the treatment-differential and or outcome-differential of Hispanics in the fields of education, psychology and medicine. Her research interests are; Hispanic education, the perceptions of educational attainability of ethnic minorities, and immigration laws as they relate to the attainment of higher education for Hispanic students. Delis received a bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley in psychology.

Linda M. Espinosa
Linda M. Espinosa is an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. She has had experience as a preschool teacher, childcare center director, elementary school principal, central office administrator, State program director, and corporate Vice President of Education. Her practical experience and research interests focus on the design and evaluation of optimal learning environments for young children who are at risk for school failure. Dr. Espinosa is currently on the Board of Examiners for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and a Commissioner for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation Standards and Criteria Commission. She has served as a consulting editor for Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Early Childhood Research & Practice, Information Technology in Childhood Education, and the Prevention Researcher and serves and multiple national commissions. Her current research interests include the professional development and teacher preparation systems and their relationship to effective early childhood teaching practices. Dr. Espinosa developed and directed the Family Focus for School Success program in Redwood City, California. She is the past Treasurer of the NAEYC Governing Board and participated on the National Academy of Sciences Research Roundtable on Head Start. She completed a three year study of the effectiveness of technology in supporting primary school reform and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Board Committee on Early Childhood Pedagogy project and a contributing author to “Eager to Learn: Educating Our Preschoolers.” She completed her B.A. at the University of Washington, her Ed.M. at Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Chicago.

Bruce Fuller
Bruce Fuller is a professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He was trained in sociology and education policy at Stanford University. His current work focuses on the dilemmas around the de-centering of public aims and institutions, including within the worlds of child care, family welfare, and school reform. He is co-director of Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), a research and development center based at Berkeley and Stanford. Prior to becoming a full-time teacher and scholar, Mr. Fuller worked for a state legislature, a governor, then as a heretical sociologist at the World Bank. He taught at Harvard's graduate school of education before returning home to the San Francisco Bay Area. Mr. Fuller's most recent books are (with Susan D. Holloway), Through My Own Eyes: Single Mothers and the Cultures of Poverty (Harvard, 1997). Inside Charter Schools: The Paradox of Radical Decentralization (Harvard, 2000), and Government Confronts Culture (Taylor & Francis, 1999).

Cynthia García Coll
Cynthia García Coll is the Charles Pitts Robinson and John Palmer Barstow Professor; Professor of Education, Psychology and Pediatrics at Brown University. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Harvard University in 1982. She has published over 100 articles on the sociocultural and biological influences on child development with particular emphasis on at-risk and minority populations. She has also been on the editorial boards of many prestigious academic journals, including Child Development, Development and Psychopathology, Infant Behavior and Development, Infancy and Human Development and is the incoming Editor of Developmental Psychology.

Donald J. Hernandez
Dr. Donald J. Hernandez serves as Professor in the Department of Sociology and Center for Social and Demographic Analysis at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY). He formerly served as Special Assistant with the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and between 1996 and 1998 as Study Director for the Committee on the Health and Adjustment of Immigrant Children and Families with the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine. Dr. Hernandez had overall responsibility for the National Research Council report titled From Generation to Generation: The Health and Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families and for the companion volume of research papers titled Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance. Dr. Hernandez is also author of America’s Children: Resources from Family, Government, and the Economy (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1993). This research is summarized in Trends in the Well-Being of America’s Children and Youth: 1996 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). Dr. Hernandez is also the author of many other books and articles.

Formerly, Dr. Hernandez served as Senior Subject Matter Expert for the Survey of Program Dynamics, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census to assess the effects of welfare reform, particularly for children. He served as Chief of Marriage and Family Statistics for the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Dr. Hernandez has served on numerous advisory groups and committees addressing data collection, child well-being, population studies, and public policy for the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Society for Research in Child Development, the National Council of Family Relations, and the Foundation for Child Development. In addition he has presented invited testimony and briefings for the U.S. Congress and has served on National Research Council committees. Dr. Hernandez received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Karen Hill-Scott
Dr. Karen Hill-Scott is a child development expert whose start as a preschool teacher evolved into a wide-ranging career blending university teaching, research, consulting, and public service. She teaches at the UCLA School of Public Policy and the UCLA School of Management; and contributes to child development policy through consulting and public service. She is currently President of the consulting firm Karen Hill-Scott & Company, which has three divisions: children’s media, childcare and early education, and public speaking on child and family issues.

Hill-Scott is currently the lead consultant to First 5 LA for the development of Universal Preschool in Los Angeles County. Her career in public service previously included chairing the California School Readiness Master Plan for the State Senate Joint Committee, Co-chairing the Universal Preschool Task Force for the California Department of Education, and serving on the National PreKindergarten Committee for the Education Commission of the States. Hill-Scott also serves on the National Advisory Committee for Multi-State Preschool and Full Day Kindergarten Initiatives (coordinated by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), and the Commission to Reinvent Accreditation of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Hill-Scott’s academic career has focused on child development, public policy, program management and evaluation, and family functioning. Her recent publications include chapters in The Handbook of Children’s Television and Managing Quality in Child Development Programs, and several technical reports on child care management and inter-agency collaboration. She received her M.A. and Ed.D. degrees from the University of California Los Angeles.

Bryant Troy Jensen
Bryant Troy Jensen is a doctoral student in the School Psychology program at Arizona State University in the division of Psychology in Education. His research interests espouse psychological and policy issues related to the early childhood education of language-minority and immigrant students. Fluent in Spanish and English and having spent time engaged in educational research, working with low socioeconomic groups, and living in Latin America; Bryant is interested in the improvement of educational policy and practice for Spanish-speaking, English-language learning (ELL) students in US early childhood public education. Currently, Bryant is working on a research project analyzing cognitive outcomes of Spanish-speaking kindergartners: this effort seeks to ascertain how well teachers’ perceptions, qualifications, and instructional practices predict mathematic achievement of non-English, Spanish-speaking kindergartners in a nationally representative sample. Bryant received his BA in Psychology/Spanish at Arizona State University.

Michael L. López
Michael L. López, Ph.D. is Executive Director and co-founder of the National Center for Latino Child & Family Research. Prior to launching the National Center for Latino Child & Family Research, Dr. López has been directing the Child Outcomes Research and Evaluation team (CORE), located within the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation's Division of Child and Family Development, in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). He has directed a number of large-scale, national, research projects, including the National Head Start Impact Study. Other key research projects include the national evaluation of the Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), the Comprehensive Child Development Program, the Head Start Mental Health Research Consortium, the Descriptive Study of the Characteristics of Families Served by Migrant Head Start and the Head Start Graduate Student Research program.

Dr. López is particularly interested in supporting new, high quality, applied research and programmatic activities on topics of relevance to Latino children and families, including: language and literacy development, early childhood education, bilingual education, early childhood prevention and intervention programs, and young children’s mental health, with an emphasis on at-risk, low-income and/or culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

Dr. López received his Ph.D. in child clinical psychology from Michigan State University, with an emphasis on pediatric psychology and child neuropsychology.

L. Scott Miller
L. Scott Miller is the executive director of the Consortium for High Academic Performance, an entity headquartered at the University of California at Berkeley, which is working to increase the number of African American, Latino, and Native American undergraduates who excel academically, e.g., graduate with honors. Previously, Mr. Miller helped conceive and served as director of the National Task Force on Minority High Achievement, a foundation-funded initiative housed at the College Board that focused on the need to increase the number of high achieving students from underrepresented groups from the primary grades through graduate school. As the director of the Task Force, Mr. Miller had responsibility for drafting the Task Force’s primary report, Reaching the Top, which was released in 1999. Mr. Miller also has served as the senior vice president of the Council for Aid to Education and as senior program officer at the Exxon Education Foundation. He is the author of An American Imperative: Accelerating Minority Educational Advancement (Yale University Press, 1995), which received the American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Book of the Year Award for 1997. Mr. Miller also received the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award in Education for 1998 for An American Imperative. Mr. Miller has an MBA from Columbia University and a BS from Indiana University.

Robert Rueda
Robert Rueda is a professor in the areas of Educational Psychology and Language, Literacy, and Learning at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. He completed his doctoral work at the University of California at Los Angeles in Educational Psychology and Special Education, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition at the University of California, San Diego. His research has focused on the sociocultural basis of learning as mediated by instruction, with a focus reading and literacy in English learners, students in at-risk conditions, and students with mild learning handicaps. He has most recently been affiliated with two major national research Centers, CREDE (Center for Excellence, Diversity, and Education at the University of California at Santa Cruz), and CIERA (Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement at the University of Michigan), and serves on the Advisory Board of CRESST (Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing at the University of California at Los Angeles). His most recent work has focused on how paraeducators mediate instruction and provide cultural scaffolding to English-learners and on issues of reading engagement among inner-city immigrant students in a central city community. He has consulted with a variety of professional, educational, and government organizations, has spoken at a wide range of professional meetings, and has published widely in the previously mentioned areas. He served as a panel member on the National Academy of Science Report on the Overrepresentation of Minority Students in Special Education, and is currently serving as a member of the National Literacy Panel (SRI International and Center for Applied Linguistics) looking at issues in early reading with English language learners.

Ruby Takanishi
Ruby Takanishi is president and CEO of the Foundation for Child Development (, a national private independent foundation located in New York City. Prior assuming her current position in 1996, she was Assistant Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education in the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where she was responsible for staffing The Children's Initiative. This project conducted an audit of federal research and development efforts for children and youth, and led to several interagency efforts in science and technology education and to the National Children's Study. From 1986 to 1996, Takanishi was the executive director of the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, a policy and operating arm of Carnegie Corporation of New York. The Council issued national reports which contributed to policy and program changes to support the optimal development of young adolescents: Turning Points (1989), a landmark report on the reform of middle grades education; A Matter of Time (1992), a report that highlighted the need for after school programs; Adolescent Health, a joint project of the Council and the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment, which led to the creation of the U.S. Office of Adolescent Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The final report of the Council, Great Transitions (1995), is used in middle schools throughout the country.

Takanishi was educated in Hawaii’s public schools, and earned her B.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University as well as a M.A. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association. Takanishi received the Distinguished Contribution to Research and Public Policy award from APA, and the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in Public Service Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues. She also received the Centennial Staff Award for Sustained Contribution to the American Psychological Association. Takanishi serves on the nonprofit Boards of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, The Rockefeller Archives of Rockefeller University, Family Support America, and Grantmakers in Education. She has served on the national boards of the Council on Foundations, Grantmakers for Children, Youth, and Families, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.

Joseph Tobin
Joseph Tobin is the Nadine Mathis Basha Professor of Early Childhood Education at Arizona State University. His research interests include cross-cultural studies of early childhood education, children and the media, qualitative research methods, and video-ethnography. Among his publications are Preschool in Three Cultures: Japan, China, and the U.S.; Good Guys Don't Wear Hats: Children's Talk about the Media; and Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokemon. Dr. Tobin is currently completing a sequel to Preschool in Three Cultures and is launching a new international project: Children of Immigrants in Five Countries: A Study of Parent and Staff Perspectives.

Marlene Zepeda
Marlene Zepeda received her B.A. in Child Development from California State University, Los Angeles and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Developmental Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a former preschool and elementary school teacher and community college instructor. Currently, Dr. Zepeda is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at California State University Los Angeles. Dr. Zepeda’s scholarship focuses on children and families, cross-cultural issues, parenting and early education. In particular, Dr. Zepeda has a special interest in issues affecting young Latino children and their families. Presently she is a member of the County of Los Angeles’ Child Care Planning Committee and the co-Chair of the Workforce Task Team for Los Angeles County’s Universal Preschool initiative. Dr. Zepeda participated in the development of the California’s Pre-kindergarten and Development Guidelines sponsored by the Child Development Division of California’s State Department of Education. Dr. Zepeda is the first author of the forthcoming book entitled, “Bridging Cultures in Early Care and Education."

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