Department of Early Childhood Education

Bailie, Patti
Assistant Professor of Early childhood Education
Phone: 207.778.7160
2012 PhD Educational Studies, University of Nebraska - Lincoln; 1992 MED Elementary Education, John Carroll University; 1979 BA Psychology, University of Cincinnati
Areas of Expertise
Early Childhood Education: Curricula, Early Childhood Program Administration, Nature-Based Education, Teaching Science to Young Children

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.

Clawson, Mellisa
Professor Early Childhood/Education
Phone: 207.778.7168
PhD Child Development, Auburn University; BS Psychology, Birmingham-Southern College; MS Child Development, Auburn University
Areas of Expertise
Early Childhood Education: Asperger Syndrome, Child Development, Creativity and the Arts in Early Childhood, Inclusive Early Childhood Education, Teacher Preparation, Teaching Science to Young Children

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.

Fish, Leigh Ann
Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education
Phone: 207.778.7855
2015 PhD Educational Administration/Curriculum & Cultural Studies, Miami University; 2005 MSED Transdisciplinary Early Childhood Education, University of Dayton; 2002 BS Computer Graphics/Technology, Purdue University
Areas of Expertise
Early Childhood Education: Creativity and the Arts in Early Childhood, Models and Approaches, Reggio, Social Studies, Technology, Young children with gifts and talents
Elementary Education: Democracy in Education, Diversity, Gifted & Talented, Labor Relations, Multicultural Education, Teacher Leadership

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 young gifted children, gifted girls and gender issues, Reggio-inspired practices, critical theory/equity literacy, and nature-based education. She is an active member of NAEYC, MEGAT, and NAGC and is a seasoned advocate for young children currently serving on the Maine AEYC Governing Board. When not working, Dr. Fish enjoys spending time with her family as they imagine, dream, play, and create on their 18th century farm.

Furman, Cara
Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education
Phone: 207.778.7021
2003 BA History, Haverford College; 2006 MA Elementary Education, Teachers College, Columbia; 2014 PhD Philosophy and Education, Teachers College, Columbia
Areas of Expertise
Early Childhood Education:
Elementary Education:
Philosophy and Religion:

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. 

Karno, Donna
Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education
Phone: 207.778.7561
2008 PhD The Ohio State University; 2000 MS The Ohio State University; 1987 MA The Ohio State University; 1982 BS Arizona State University
Areas of Expertise
Early Childhood Education: Education policy, Technology, models and approaches, social studies

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.  

Leiva, Linda
Lecturer - Practicum/Student Teaching Supervisor
Phone: 207.778.7504
1971 BS Elementary Education, Stetson University; 2006 MS Educational Leadership, Administration, University of Southern Maine
Areas of Expertise
Early Childhood Education:
Elementary Education:

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.

Neal, Erika
Part-Time Faculty
Phone: 207.778.7482
Williams, Patricia
Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education
Phone: 207.778.7109
1997 PhD Applied Child Development, Tufts University, Medford, MA; 1988 BA Psychology, Health and Society., University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Areas of Expertise
Early Childhood Education: Family, parent, and community involvement in learning and education, Home Visiting, program evaluation, service learning

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.

Yardley, Katherine
Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost
Phone: 207.778.7154
1983 BA Psychology, Bowdoin College; 1985 MED Early Childhood Education, University of Massachusetts-Amherst; 1987 EDD Early Childhood Education, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Areas of Expertise
Early Childhood Education: Teacher Preparation

From the University of Southern Maine (your final 2 years)

  • Associate Professor Adele Baruch, PhD, MSW, LCPC
  • Associate Professor Charles Bernacchio, EdD, CRC
  • Assistant Professor Mario DeLaGarza, PhD, LPC, NCC
  • Lecturer and Program Coordinator Susan Jones, PhD, CCS
  • Associate Professor Bette Katsekas, EdD, LCPC, ACS, NCC
  • Lecturer Melissa Rosenberg, PhD, LCPC
  • Adjunct Instructor Kristin Tugman, PhD, CRC

Additional Info on USM Faculty