Division of Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Dr. Patti Bailie arrived at UMF in 2014 with significant experience in nature-based early childhood education. She was the founding director of the Schlitz Audubon Nature Preschool in Milwaukee, WI and co-director of the Early Childhood Outdoors Institute in Omaha, NE. She teaches several methods and field based courses in the undergraduate early childhood department including; ECH 150 Introduction to ECE, ECH 232 Social Science for Young Chidlren, ECH 192 Practicum, and ECH 420 Planning Environments for Young Children. Dr. Bailie is active in the field of early childhood environmental education serving on the advisory board of the Natural Start Alliance and as consulting editor of the International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education. Her research interests include identifying high quality practices of nature-based preschools and their impact on school readiness. She enjoys Maine's winter activities and maple sugaring.
Deborah Baker is committed to helping future educators acquire the skills they need to plan meaningful lessons, differentiate instruction, assess students' learning, manage the classroom, and work collaboratively with school communities. Teaching, learning, and leading experiences in Maine and California as a teacher, principal, student teacher supervisor, and ASCD leader helps her connect educators to powerful resources. Student teaching is a field experience that provides future educators the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in schools. It requires the collaboration of student teachers, mentor teachers, principals, and student teacher supervisors. Student teachers build relationships, reflect on decisions, receive specific feedback, and demonstrate professionalism. For almost ten years, UMF student teachers have received Deborah's support to become caring, confident, and competent educators.
Dr. Mellisa Clawson is a professor of Early Childhood Education. She has taught and held administrative positions in infant, toddler, preschool, Head Start, and public school settings. Professor Clawson teaches Creative Arts and Technology for the Young Child and Science Methods in Early Childhood Education, in addition to other courses. Her research focuses on developing online, interactive resources for future early childhood teachers. These materials are used in colleges across the country. Currently, Dr. Clawson is writing a book about integrating place-based science into pre-K through 2nd grade curriculum, particularly in economically disadvantaged schools. She travels around the country providing workshops to help teachers support children with Asperger Syndrome and find ways to integrate more creative arts and science into the curriculum. In her spare time, Dr. Clawson enjoys singing and acting in community theater.
Dr. Leigh Ann Fish is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration/Curriculum and Cultural Studies from Miami University. Prior to working at UMF, Dr. Fish served as a K-12 Gifted & Talented Coordinator and as a National Board Certified elementary teacher in Ohio. Her professional interests include girlhood studies, gendered school practices, treatment of intellect in schools, importance of play in early and elementary settings, Reggio-inspired practices, and young children with gifts and talent. She is an active member of NAEYC, MEGAT, and NAGC and is a seasoned advocate for young children and young gifted children. When not working, Dr. Fish enjoys spending time with her family as they imagine, dream, play, and create on their 18th century farm.
Having taught for many years in New York Public schools, Cara Furman brings a philosophical stance to concerns about practice. With an undergraduate degree in History, Dr. Furman is committed to the liberal arts – encouraging students to take an inquiry stance towards the world around them. She has published on inclusive classrooms, descriptive inquiry, supporting classroom teachers, practical wisdom in classrooms, the pedagogical value of narrative, and progressive education. Whether teaching methods courses such as ECH 336 or research classes such as ECH 450, Dr. Furman seeks to provide a balance of practical experiences and philosophical discussion.
Dr. Allison F. Jackson is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Special Education. She holds a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Delaware. Prior to completing her doctoral program, she spent six years as a special educator for prekindergarten and kindergarten in Georgia. Her research interests include inclusive early childhood, collaboration, executive function and early literacy development, assessment, and teacher education. She is a member of CEC/DEC, NAEYC, and AERA. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and being outdoors in the four seasons of Maine.
Dr. Donna Karno teaches in the on-campus Bachelor's program, the off-campus Bachelor's program, the MS Ed. in Early Childhood degree program, and the MS Ed Instructional Technology collaborative degree program. Since entering the profession of early childhood education, she has worked in many different capacities including as a consultant, lead teacher, and preschool director. She brings all of these experiences to the classroom as a way to connect the academic with field work. Dr. Karno is involved in teaching and research using digital technologies in the early childhood profession on the local, state and national levels. With an MA in political science and teaching experience in post-secondary social science, Dr. Karno maintains an active interest in public policy.
Dr. Shannon Larsen was born and raised near Toronto, Canada. She recieved her B.A. from Middlebury College, VT. Shannon majored in Russian, and minored in both French and Elementary Education. After spending a year teaching 2nd grade in Cali, Colombia, Shannon returned to the U.S. Shannon received her Ed. M from Harvard Graduate School of Education where she studied International Education. Shannon became a 5th grade teacher in a town north of Boston and eventually became the district’s elementary mathematics coach. She also spent one year teaching 7th grade math. Shannon graduated from the University of Toronto in 2012 with a Ph.D in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning. Her research focuses on elementary mathematics coaching and collaborative classroom practices. In her free time, Shannon loves to travel, read, and spend time with friends and family.
Dr. Carole Lee received her BSc degree with an emphasis on chemistry and biology, and became a teacher because she wanted to pursue a career that could combine her love of science with her desire to serve the community. She taught chemistry and biology in a high school for over twenty years. Prior coming to the U.S., her last job in Hong Kong was that of a High School Vice-Principal. Carole was awarded the Outstanding Doctorate Student and Outstanding International Culture Team New Member by the University of Arkansas. Carole now teaches students in Elementary Education how to teach science in K-8 classrooms. She enjoys meeting people and being very involved in community work. She teaches origami, mahjong and an Energy Literacy Program in the UMF Gold Leaf Institute for senior citizens. Her interests include square dancing, quilting, playing tennis, ping pong, pickle ball and swimming.
Ancora Imparo. Michaelangelo said this at age 82. It has become my motto. It means, "I am still learning." If the great Michaelangelo can express this at 82, I can certainly continue with this as my way of living. It is one of the reasons I am at UMF and hope to inspire my students likewise.I live in Lewiston with my husband Jose and together we share 6 children and 4 grandchildren, a cat and a dog. He is a professional photographer and we both love the world of art and beauty, no matter where we find it. I came to UMF after 34 years in public education as a teacher , a team leader and then as a director of the public preschools for the Auburn School Department. I love all ages of students and have enjoyed seeing the continuum from preschool to college seniors!I volunteer with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, the United Way of Androscoggin County and am part of the Maine Resilience Building Network.
Dr. Overstreet’s interest in popular culture has lead her to teach several First Year Seminars focusing on the television work of Joss Whedon and the films of Joel and Ethan Coen. Her interest in young adult literature has culminated in writing two books that examine this literature—the most recent being vampire literature. Additionally, Dr. Overstreet teaches writing and teaches future teachers to teach writing.
Christine is an assistant professor of Early Childhood Special Education. She has worked primarily in the early intervention field as an early childhood special educator, music therapist, and professional development provider. Due to these experiences, Christine’s professional interests and research focus on high quality experiences for families and children participating in early childhood services and systems. She is interested in examining pre-service preparation, professional development, and family/child well-being. Christine is currently completing her doctoral program from the University of Illinois. Her dissertation utilizes surveys and interviews to examine families’ outcomes as a result of participating in early intervention. Previous research includes examining the impact of multi-component professional development, needs assessments for early interventionists, and technology in pre-service coursework.
Dr. Christopher Strople teaches social studies methods and diversity courses. He taught elementary school in southern California for over ten years before transitioning into higher education. Prior to joining UMF he taught at the university level for several years while working to complete his doctoral program. His research interests include social justice, curriculum theory and art/aesthetic education. Chris enjoys art, traveling, and spending time outdoors.
Dr. Meredith Swallow teaches in both undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as in the M.Ed. in Instructional Technology collaborative. Prior to joining the UMF community, Meredith was a mathematics teacher focused on engaged and active learning, by supporting the connection of knowledge through interaction, understanding, and meaning. Meredith earned her PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont with a research focus on K-8 technology integration. At UMF, Meredith's research explores innovative approaches to teaching with both pre- and in-service educators considering technology as part of the context of educator development. Meredith enjoys spending her free time running, skiing, biking, and exploring the mountains of Western Maine.
Dr. Will-Dubyak teaches literacy coursework in the elementary education program. She taught in a four room school house in Montana, developed preschool summer camps and family-to-farm camps before transitioning to teacher preparation. Prior to joining UMF, she worked at Montana State University where she developed a passion for embedded teacher preparation. Her research interests include the development of teacher efficacy through embedded teacher education models, rural education, and the role of non-cognitive attributes in teaching and learning. She enjoys gardening, farming, handcrafts and hiking.
Dr. Williams arrived at UMF in 2012. She teaches ECH 150 Introduction to ECE, ECH 232 Social Science Curriculum, ECH 250 Infants and Toddlers, ECH 440 Children, Families, and Communities, ECH 450 Senior Research Seminar, ECH 535 Play, ECH 538 Collaboration with Families and Communitiesn and ECH 541 Capstone Research. She also coordinates the Infant-Toddler Playgroup Program. Her scholarship examines homevisiting programs, parent involvement, the support needs of new parents, toddler curriculum, and service learning. She has received grants from the March of Dimes, the MA Department of Education, and the American Association of Colleges and Universities. She serves as editor of Annual Editions: The Family (McGraw-Hill). Prior to arriving at UMF Dr. Williams worked as an early intervention teacher, an afterschool program coordinator, and a research consultant to early childhood programs and school districts in Massachusetts and Maryland.