Meet Our Expert Authors

 

Sharon MacDonald, MA

Sharon MacDonald, MA, has been training teachers throughout the United States on a variety of early childhood topics for more than 20 years and offers a unique perspective, developed from her 28 years as an early-childhood teacher. Sharon is a frequent keynote and featured speaker at national and state early childhood conferences. In addition, she has written many teacher resource books and children’s stories, as well as articles that have been published in variety of early childhood magazines. Her books include Squish, Sort, Paint & Build; Everyday Discoveries; Block Play; Sanity Savers for Early Childhood Teachers; Math in Minutes (all Gryphon House); The Portfolio and Its Use, A Road Map for Assessment, 2nd edition (Southern Early Childhood Association); Assessment: A Portfolio Approach (Frog Street Press); and one song-lyric-based activity book titled Jingle in my Pocket (Grasshopper Press).

Clarissa Willis, PhD

Clarissa Willis, PhD, is an author, consultant, and curriculum-development specialist living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She has written 19 teacher resource books, including the award-winning book, Teaching Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Gryphon House) and was co-author with Dr. Pam Schiller of Inclusive Literacy Lessons (winner of the 2008 Director’s Choice Award from Early Childhood News). Her latest books include Inclusive Environments for Young Children (Corwin Press) and Guidelines and Strategies for Children with Special Needs (Frog Street Press). Clarissa has contributed to several other early childhood curriculum programs, including McGraw-Hill’s Early Childhood Express and those by Scholastic and Frog Street Press. She believes in the process of educating all children through exploration and discovery.

Kimberly P. Johnson, MA

Kimberly P. Johnson, MA, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in communications studies. She also holds a master’s degree in youth development and leadership from Clemson University. She served as a hostess for the 1989 Presidential Inaugural Gala for President George Bush and later returned to Washington, DC, when she was invited by President and Mrs. George W. Bush to serve as a guest reader at the annual 2002 Easter Egg Roll at the White House. Kimberly is a former Head Start student and works avidly with their programs. She has developed and helped fund a summer learning program for Head Start students that focuses on increased school readiness. She has written 11 children’s books.

Virginia Jean Herrod

Virginia Jean Herrod, better known as Jeanie to her students and their families, has been involved in early childhood education since 1981, when she started teaching in a Pennsylvania Head Start classroom. Ten years later, she relocated to South Carolina, where she continued her work with young children in a military child care center on Fort Jackson. She also has taught at a corporate child care center associated with the local PBS station. Jeanie began writing activity plans for Gryphon House in 1995 and has been included in many of the award-winning GIANT Encyclopedia series of activity books. Her recent work includes collaborations on Story Play by Mary Jo Huff (Gryphon House) and The Complete Daily Curriculum by Pam Schiller and Pat Phipps (Gryphon House).

Rebecca Isbell, PhD

Rebecca Isbell, PhD, is director of the Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Learning and Development. She is a professor of early childhood education at East Tennessee State University, where she was recognized as a distinguished professor for teaching. She is a sought-after presenter and keynote speaker for early childhood conferences and training meetings. Rebecca is the author of The Complete Learning Center Book as well as numerous other teacher resource books. Her articles have been published nationally and internationally.

Jana Crosby, MA

Jana Crosby, MA, an early literacy consultant and reading specialist, has spent more than 15 years working in a variety of classroom settings as a teacher, consultant, coach, trainer, and evaluator. Jana is past president of the Tennessee Reading Association and a member of the 2010–2012 Early Literacy Committee of the International Reading Association. She currently consults with Early Reading First and early childhood centers across the country, including Nemours BrightStart! Early Literacy Program and is considered a national expert in the use of the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO). Jana is a certified reading specialist. She earned a master of education in reading and a bachelor of arts in special education from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. She is certified in elementary and kindergarten education.

Nefertiti Bruce, MEd

Nefertiti Bruce, MEd, is an early childhood specialist and trainer for the Devereux Early Childhood Initiative (DECI) and provides professional development and consultation to early childhood programs across the nation. Nefertiti is the co-author of Building Your Bounce: Simple Strategies for a Resilient You, a tool to help adults strengthen their resilience. She is also the co-author of the award-winning book Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure (Gryphon House). Nefertiti is a national and regional conference speaker who has presented on such topics as social–emotional development and resilience.

Karen B. Cairone, MEd

Karen B. Cairone, MEd, is special projects/trainer for the Devereux Early Childhood Initiative (DECI). Karen is responsible for resource development, serves as editor of the national newsletter, and works on various other special projects for DECI. She is the co-author and co-producer of the Facing the Challenge DVDs, Classroom Moments DVD and accompanying training, and the co-author of For Now and Forever: A Family Guide for the Social and Emotional Development of Infants and Toddlers and Promoting Resilience For Now and Forever: A Family Guide for Supporting the Social and Emotional Development of Preschool Children. She is also co-author of the award-winning book Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure (Gryphon House).

The Devereux Foundation is a leading nonprofit behavioral health organization that supports many of the most underserved and vulnerable members of our communities. In 1996, after nearly 84 years of providing behavioral health, rehabilitation, and special education services to individuals with special needs, Devereux expanded its mission to primary prevention. The Devereux Early Childhood Initiative (DECI) was created in response to an emerging understanding of some of the preventable causes of young children’s emotional and behavioral problems. Today, thousands of preschool and infant–toddler programs across the United States and Canada use DECI’s research-based assessments and strategies to support young children’s social and emotional development.

The Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project (CHTOP) was established in 1969 with funding from the federal government as part of our nation’s earliest attempts to provide educational services to young children with disabilities. Under the direction of Anne R. Sanford, the founder of CHTOP, the strategies and materials developed by CHTOP during these early years became known as the Chapel Hill Model. The model included assessment instruments, curricula, and strategies for parent involvement and family-centered programming.

In 1983, the U.S. Department of Education’s Joint Dissemination Review Panel (JDRP) validated the Chapel Hill Model unanimously for “exemplary program status.”