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Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education

School Psychology

Program Faculty


Jana Aupperlee
Ph.D., Michigan State University
Jana Aupperlee is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, a Licensed Psychologist in the state of Michigan and a Health Service Psychologist. She is the director of the Ph.D. Program in School Psychology and the Training Co-Director of the Mid-Michigan Psychology Internship Consortium. She advises students in the Educational Specialist program in School Psychology and teaches a variety of school and practice-based courses. Further, she coordinates and collaborates with local school psychologists in the supervision of second year practicum students. Her research interests include the provision of cognitive-behavioral therapy to children and adolescents with anxiety, depression and challenging behaviors and helping parents/guardians to promote mental health at home.
Courtenay Barrett
Ph.D., University of Maryland
Courtenay Barrett is an assistant professor in the school psychology program, a licensed psychologist in Michigan and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. Her research interests include coaching and consultation within multi- tiered system of supports, data-based decision making and contextual factors that influence the provision of school psychology service delivery. Recent work examined the cost and cost-effectiveness of evidence-based practices in schools, methodological advancements for consultation research, and how data are used within special education decision making for students with specific learning disabilities (SLD). She received an early career research award (ECRA) from the Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP) in 2016 and was named an Early Career Scholar from SSSP in 2019. With experience as a practitioner in Michigan, her research agenda is highly collaborative with local school districts and one of her goals is to bridge the research-practice gap.
John Carlson
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison
John Carlson is a professor of school psychology. He is a Health Service Psychologist (HSP) and Licensed Psychologist (MI). His research interests include examining the utility of medical and psychological interventions on school-aged children's behavior in educational and other learning contexts. The impact of children's anxiety on their functioning in schools and at home is a primary focus of his research. Other interests include assessment, prevention and intervention for externalizing behaviors that impact preschool and classroom functioning. The primary focus of his work pertains to ensuring equitable and effective educational and mental health services for those children who are experiencing challenges at school, home or in the community.
Dante D. Dixson
Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley
Dante Dixson is an assistant professor of school and educational psychology. His research interests include the role of hope in the educational and psychological functioning of children and adolescents, psychosocial precursors of achievement, at-risk youth, the achievement gap and academic talent development/gifted education. Dixson’s current largest project centers around implementing one-time, universal hope interventions in high schools. The goal of the interventions is to get minority and disadvantaged students to aspire to new heights and believe that they can live up to their ambitions. Other current projects include investigating the role that psychosocial factors (e.g., academic self-concept, work ethic and curiosity) play in the achievement gap, the achievement of minority and disadvantaged youth and gifted students living up to their full potential. Follow him on Twitter at @TheHopeLab.
Jodene Fine
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
Jodene Fine is an associate professor of school psychology, a Licensed Psychologist, certified member of the National Register of Health Care Psychologists, and a nationally certified school psychologist. She studies developmental disorders and typical child development from the perspective of neuropsychological functioning within an educational context. Her work embraces the idea that child development rests on complex neural processes that begin in utero and develop in response to environmental and genetic influences. Dr. Fine's research uses behavioral and neuroimaging techniques to identify the neuropsychological processes that can impede optimal learning and behavior in children. Her laboratory is currently doing work on the influence of memory and attentional processes in mathematics and reading. Additionally, she studies social perception in children with high functioning autism disorders and nonverbal learning disability.
Evelyn Oka
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Evelyn Oka is an associate professor of school psychology, educational psychology and a Nationally certified School Psychologist. A developmental and school psychologist, she is interested in the development of self-regulation, social competence and motivation in school and home contexts, particularly among students with learning problems. Her research examines the use of a universal social-emotional intervention to enhance preschool children's self-regulation and social skills in an inclusion classroom. She is also interested in the cultural validity and transportability of evidence-based interventions with diverse populations.
Kristin Rispoli
Ph.D., Duquesne University
Kristin Rispoli’s research primarily focuses on intervention to address social and emotional functioning in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as well as techniques to foster family-school partnerships in treatment and education for children and adolescents with ASD. Her recent work includes developing a parent-mediated emotion regulation intervention for preschool-age children with ASD and examining the parent-educator dynamic on school-based teams for adolescents with this disorder. Other work addresses early education and intervention for developmentally at-risk children and their families. Ongoing projects target increasing community-based screening for developmental risk factors in young children and adaptation of emotion-focused intervention for children with ASD in schools.
Adrea Truckenmiller
Ph.D., Syracuse University
Adrea Truckenmiller’s research interests broadly include adolescent literacy, writing assessment and data-based decision-making for instruction. Her previous funded projects explored the relation between important component skills of literacy and processes for identifying all students' instructional needs. Currently, Truckenmiller is investigating the feedback loop between writing instruction and formative assessment of writing.
Martin Volker
Ph.D., Hofstra University
Martin Volker’s research interests include assessment and measurement issues in psychology and education with a focus on two populations: intellectually gifted children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). He has conducted studies examining the psychometric properties of five major behavior rating scales used to screen and diagnose children with ASD. He has also examined the most valid methods for determining the levels of depression and anxiety in children with high-functioning ASD.
Sara Witmer (Bolt)
Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Sara (Bolt) Witmer is an associate professor of school psychology and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. Her research focuses on examining assessment tools that can enhance instructional decision-making for students who are at-risk for poor academic outcomes. She also conducts research on accommodations for diverse learners (e.g., students with disabilities, English language learners), and more generally on methods for the effective inclusion of all students in large-scale assessment and accountability programs.