UVA School of Education and Human Development Welcomes Twelve New Faculty Members
Learn more about the 12 newest UVA School of Education and Human Development faculty members.
This fall, UVA EHD welcomes twelve new faculty members. Some are returning to UVA, while others new to the University. They bring expertise in knee injuries, coaching interventions, social-emotional learning, diversity, equity and inclusion, athletic training, and much more. Learn more about each of them below.
SHEREEN EL MALLAH
Shereen El Mallah is a research assistant professor and a faculty affiliate of Youth-Nex and CASTL. She was a postdoctoral researcher at UVA EHD before transitioning into her current faculty role last year. Her research interests lie at the intersection of applied science and social justice, drawing heavily on rapid cycle evaluation, participatory approaches and design-based research to work with and for underrepresented, marginalized or systematically minoritized groups.
NATOYA HILL HASKINS
Natoya Hill Haskins is an associate professor of counselor education in the Department of Human Services. She comes to UVA from William and Mary, where she was a faculty member in Counselor Education and Associate Dean for Diversity Equity and Inclusion. Her research integrates Critical Theory, Black Liberation, and Womanism as counseling research and clinical frameworks to support the emotional, social, and academic needs of students in P-20 school settings.
Lieny Jeon is the Jane Batten Bicentennial Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy. She comes to UVA from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, where she was the Jeffrey A. Grigg Associate Professor and the Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at the Baltimore Education Research Consortium. Her research focuses on early childhood educators’ well-being and social and emotional development of young children. She also leads Baltimore City’s Early Childhood Data Collaborative, a research-practice partnership with early childhood programs in Baltimore.
Chris Kuenze is an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and a co-director of the Exercise & Sport Injury Lab. Kuenze is an alumnus of the UVA EHD doctoral program in Sports Medicine, and he is returning to UVA after seven years as a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology at Michigan State University. His research interests include the lifelong impact of knee injury on health and wellbeing among physically active adolescents and young adults.
Rachel Kunemund is a research assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education, as well as co-lead of the STORMED (Supporting Teachers through cOaching, obseRvations, and Multimedia to Educate students with Disabilities) lab team. Her areas of interest include coaching interventions, with a particular focus on the development of teacher-student relationships for young students with emotional and behavioral disorders.
GAIL E. LOVETTE
Gail E. Lovette is an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education. She returns to UVA after spending the last year as an elementary reading specialist in Charlottesville City Schools. Prior to that, she spent five years as research faculty at UVA EHD, with three years as the Director of Priority School Partnerships between the CISE department and several schools across Virginia. Before moving to Charlottesville in 2010, Lovette spent 10 years as a teacher and administrator in public schools in Northern Virginia.
Emily Madrak is an assistant professor in the Master of Science in Athletic Training program in the Department of Kinesiology. She comes from Clarke University in Iowa. Her area of specialty is athletic training, with particular focus in the psychological aspects of health, athletic trainer health, and patient-centered outcomes. Before becoming an educator, Madrak worked as an athletic trainer at Bucknell University with their swimming and diving and women's lacrosse teams.
Mandy Rispoli is the Quantitative Foundation Bicentennial Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education. A UVA alumna, she returns to UVA from Purdue University where she was Professor of Educational Studies and Co-Director of the Purdue Autism Research Center. Operating from a behavior analytic framework, Mandy’s research is built upon sustained university-community partnerships to improve teacher and caregiver meaningful involvement in behavior assessment and intervention and to promote positive outcomes for young children with autism and developmental disabilities.
LARON A. SCOTT
LaRon A. Scott is an associate professor of education in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education. He comes to UVA from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he was a faculty member for 12 years and founder and executive director of the Minority Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Equity Center. His research focuses on strategies and policy for recruiting and retaining racially and ethnically minoritized teacher educators and special educators, and he also focuses on postsecondary transition programming and outcomes for Black youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
LORA HENDERSON SMITH
Lora Henderson Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Services. She returns to UVA from James Madison University, where she was an assistant professor in the Clinical and School Psychology program. She was previously a postdoctoral research associate at UVA EHD, and she graduated from the Clinical and School Psychology program. Her scholarly interests include school mental health and culturally responsive practices with an emphasis on amplifying student and family voices.
NAILA A. SMITH
Naila A. Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Services. She comes to UVA from Pennsylvania State University, where she was a post-doctoral fellow for two years, and Dickinson College, where she was an assistant professor of psychology for six years. She is an applied developmental psychologist who studies risks, assets, and resources in the lives of marginalized youth, with a special focus on Black and immigrant youth, families, and communities.
Jonee Wilson is an assistant professor in the department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education. She joins the UVA faculty from North Carolina State University, where she worked in the department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences. Her research focuses on examining and outlining instructional practices that empower and honor historically marginalized students, specifically in the context of inquiry-oriented mathematics classrooms. She is also interested in professional development opportunities that support teachers in learning, developing, and implementing such practices.