Meet Our Celebrated Faculty Leaders

The preeminent faculty who direct our on-ground education programs are the same as those who instruct and mentor students in our online graduate and certificate programs. These experienced professionals, many of whom are best-selling education authors, have demonstrated unfailing excellence in their fields, which include marriage and family counseling, spirituality and meditation, literacy, bilingual education and more. In the last decade, they have collectively garnered more than $44 million in grants and private funding for professional research, and they have jointly developed a gifted-learning curriculum that is now in use across 35 states.

Katherine Barko-Alva

Assistant Professor of ESL/Bilingual Education
Ph.D., University of Florida

Katherine Barko-Alva is an assistant professor and director of the ESL/Bilingual Education program at the William & Mary School of Education. A former McKnight Doctoral fellow at the University of Florida, she holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in the area of ESL/Bilingual Education. As a bilingual scholar, her research agenda is rooted in classroom practices and explores how Dual Language Bilingual Education (DLBE)/English as a Second Language (ESL) educators make sense of language in culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) K-12 contexts, how to promote equitable and inclusive practices in order to serve CLD students and their families, and how to create sustainable practices to prepare DLBE/ESL in-service and preservice teachers. With more than 14 years of professional experience teaching as well as designing and implementing job-embedded professional development practices at the national and international level, her lived experiences as an English learner/emergent bilingual in U.S. schools guide the nature of her work and commitment to families, teachers and students.Dr. Barko-Alva has been awarded the Virginia Latino Advisory Board Latinx Leadership Award in Education and the Janet Brown Strafer Award (William & Mary School of Education), recognizing her efforts promoting equitable and inclusive learning spaces in our classrooms and community. At the national level, she has been selected as a member of the iCivics ESL National Advisory Council to support making civics education accessible for English learners/Emergent Bilinguals using video game platforms. She is currently a co-director for W&M Scholars Undergraduate Research Experience (WMSURE) and a fellow for the Center for the Liberal Arts (CLA) at W&M. Her latest book published by Teachers College Press Columbia University (“Equity in school-parent partnerships: Cultivating community and family trust in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms”) examines fossilized practices within today’s educational system that marginalize and devalue the contributions and cultural biographies of families, particularly CLD families. This book creates opportunities for reflection and provides suggestions for school communities seeking to re-envision the meaning of family engagement.

Elizabeth Burgin

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of North Texas, 2020

Elizabeth Burgin is an assistant professor in the Counselor Education program and program coordinator of the Military and Veterans Counseling program at W&M. Dr. Burgin is a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Registered Play Therapist, and Certified Child-Centered Play Therapy Supervisor.

The current focus of her research includes military populations, child mental health and play therapy. Dr. Burgin is interested in identifying culturally responsive and developmentally sensitive strategies for improving treatment efficacy and accessibility to mental health services.

Dr. Burgin engages in professional service to further address issues of access advocacy. She has been appointed to national service roles for the Association for Play Therapy, National Board of Certified Counselors, and Military and Government Counseling Association.

Craig Cashwell

Ph.D. University of North Carolina Greensboro, 1994

Craig Cashwell is a professor in the Counselor Education program at William & Mary and coordinates the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. He is licensed in North Carolina as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor and also is a National Certified Counselor, an Approved Clinical Supervisor, a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist Supervisor, and a Life Member of Chi Sigma Iota International, the honor society for professional counselors. In 2011, he received Fellow status with the American Counseling Association.

Dr. Cashwell values teaching and mentoring students. He has received the UNCG School of Education Teaching Excellence Award and his mentoring has been recognized with awards from the North Carolina Counseling Association, the UNCG Graduate School, the Southern Conference of Graduate Schools, and the American Counseling Association. He has directed over 40 dissertations to completion, five of which received national awards; two that were subsequently published in “Counselor Education and Supervision” and have received the annual Outstanding Article in “Counselor Education and Supervision” award. In 2019, he was recognized as an inaugural inductee as an Inspirational Educator in the UNCG School of Education.

Kristin Conradi Smith

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2011

Kristin Conradi Smith is an associate professor of reading education at William & Mary. She has taught both preservice and in-service teachers, on various literacy topics, for over a decade at W&M, NC State, and the University of Virginia (where she completed her master's and doctoral degrees in Reading Education). In addition to two co-edited books, she has published over 15 articles on topics such as better understanding students who struggle with reading, text complexity and reading motivation. Dr. Conradi Smith also serves on three editorial review boards.Her current research involves examining how texts are used in the elementary classroom. This includes attention to which texts are used (and why) and the contexts and tasks associated with text use in the classroom.Dr. Conradi Smith's teaching experiences are varied. She has taught kindergarten, second and fourth grades in Camden, New Jersey, and Richmond, Virginia. She also worked as a Title I Reading Coach for grades K-3 in Camden and as a summer school literacy teacher at the middle school level in Charlottesville, Virginia. In addition, she brings extensive clinical reading experiences, having most recently directed the NC State Reading Clinic from 2011-2015.

Pamela Harris

Clinical Assistant Professor
Ph.D., William & Mary

Dr. Pamela N. Harris is National Board Certified Counselor, a Virginia Licensed Professional Counselor, and an Approved Clinical Supervisor. She spent seven years working as a professional middle school counselor in a small county in Virginia, and also has several years of experience providing family counseling services and working with at-risk high school students in a student assistance program.

Dr. Harris is involved in several professional organizations, such as the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselor Association, and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. She has conducted research that involves school-family partnerships with families of color, college and career readiness for African American females and culturally responsive counselor preparation. She has presented her findings at both national and international conferences, and reviews other scholarly work as an editorial board member for Teaching and Supervision in Counseling journal.

In addition to her love of counseling, Dr. Harris has both a bachelor’s and MFA in creative writing and writes young adult fiction.

Mark Hofer

Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2003

Mark Hofer is a professor of educational technology and director of the Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation at William & Mary. A former high school history teacher, he teaches undergraduate, master's and doctoral courses, focusing on curriculum-based technology integration and deeper learning in K-16 classrooms. Dr. Hofer has served as co-PI on a number of grants, including a research grant through the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation to explore the School Retool innovation fellowship program for secondary principals. He collaborates on research and development projects with Dr. Judi Harris designed to help preservice and inservice teachers develop their TPACK, or technology integration knowledge. He is also co-author of And Action! Directing Documentaries in the Social Studies Classroom. He regularly presents his work at local, national and international conferences and publishes his work in a variety of scholarly and practitioner journals.

Ting Huang

Online Curriculum & Instruction Program Coordinator, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Rochester

With an established commitment to online education, Dr. Huang has a range of research interests and teaching experiences in teacher preparations, PK-12 settings, as well as for undergraduate and graduate students. Currently, she focuses on how to successfully transit from face-to-face education to online, situated, and multimodal learning and argues that factors that impact both traditional and online education are similar: sociocultural-based, collaborative, community-based, active, and interest-driven learning are proven to be keys for success of education.

Her research builds on sociocultural, situated, and critical perspectives to investigate how youth and adults engage in digital ways, and how their learning and teaching are impacted by factors such as gender, race, class, and ethnicity. Prior to her position at W&M, Dr. Huang worked over a decade as an associate professor of instruction (clinical), a lecturer, and a student affairs professional on different campuses.

Heartley Huber

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Heartley Huber is an assistant professor of Special Education at the William & Mary School of Education. Her research focuses on the social and behavioral needs of students with autism and development disabilities and social supports to improve students’ inclusive experiences. She is also interested in the application of behavior analytic assessment approaches to individualize interventions to meet students’ unique needs. Prior to earning her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, she worked with students with autism, intellectual disability and emotional behavior disorders as a teacher and behavior analyst.

Denita Hudson

Clinical Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Ohio University

Dr. Denita N. Hudson has over 14 years of experience as a counselor educator in both online and hybrid educational settings, serving as the clinical mental health program coordinator, clinical director, and diversity and inclusion officer. Dr. Hudson is licensed as a professional counselor in Ohio and a licensed mental health counselor in Indiana. She is also certified as a National Board-Certified Counselor, a Board Certified Telemental Health Provider, and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.

As a clinical mental health counselor, she has held positions in community mental health, university and college counseling centers, and in-state vocational and rehabilitation programs. Her current research interests are in the areas of best practice in online pedagogy, neuro-counseling focused on anxiety, generational trauma in African American families, Global Counseling, Advocacy and Leadership for Diversity Equality and Inclusion in Higher Education.

Denise Johnson

Ed.D., University of Memphis, Tennessee

Denise Johnson is professor at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She received her Ed.D. in reading from the University of Memphis, Tennessee. She has worked as an elementary classroom teacher, a middle school reading specialist and a Reading Recovery teacher. She now teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy education and conducts research on the integration of technology into pre-service and in-service education courses and within elementary classrooms. Her articles on literacy and technology have been published in a variety of journals and she is active in several professional organizations.

Lindy L. Johnson

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Georgia

Lindy Johnson is an associate professor of English education and co-director of the Center for Innovation in Learning Design. Her research draws on sociocultural theories of mediated action (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1991) and social semiotic theories of multimodality (Jewitt & Kress, 2003) to investigate the increasingly multimodal nature of digital technologies, and the emerging social practices and activities that arise from these technologies. Dr. Johnson is particularly interested in examining the kinds of instructional supports both teachers and adolescents need in order to comprehend and create complex multimodal texts. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D. in language and literacy from the University of Georgia, Dr. Johnson taught high school English in Boston Public Schools.

Meredith Kier

Associate Professor and Chair, Curriculum & Instruction
Ph.D., North Carolina State University

Meredith Kier is an associate professor of science education. She prepares elementary and secondary teachers to teach science through equitable practices that engage all learners and also supports practicing teachers in the field to incorporate project-based learning and engineering design in their science lessons. Prior to being a professor at William & Mary, she served as a faculty member at Howard University in Washington, D.C. preparing science teachers; she also taught high school biology. While at Howard University, she was awarded an NSF ITEST award for her project “E-Communities: Investigating How a Collaboration Engineers and Teachers Influences Underserved Youth's Participation in Engineering Design.” She continues this work at William & Mary with her colleagues at Howard University, and also serves as co-PI on an NSF Noyce Award to recruit and prepare secondary preservice teachers to teach in high needs schools. Dr. Kier strives to rigorously research and collaborate with experienced researchers across the country to gain traction on finding the most equitable methods of teaching science. She regularly presents her work at local, national and international conferences and publishes her work in a variety of scholarly and practitioner journals.

Robert C. Knoeppel

Dean of the William & Mary School of Education
Ph.D., University of Virginia

Robert C. Knoeppel is a longtime educator and noted scholar on educational finance innovation, school finance, accountability policy and leadership. He began his career in Virginia working as a school counselor, administrator and coach for the public school system. Knoeppel started in higher education full time in 2004 at the University of Kentucky. Over the course of his career, he has authored more than 100 refereed journal publications, book chapters, technical reports and conference papers and co-authored the textbook “Financing education in a climate of change.” He has served with multiple professional associations, including the National Education Finance Academy, where he was recently installed as president. That organization honored him with its Scholarly Paper of the Year Award for three consecutive years. Prior to joining William & Mary in 2020, Knoeppel served as dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Education. He holds both a master’s and doctorate from the University of Virginia.

Jessica Martin

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Central Florida

Jessica L. Martin is the Online M.Ed in Counseling Program Coordinator and an assistant clinical professor in the Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at William & Mary. Dr. Martin is a certified rehabilitation counselor and has a clinical background in disability and clinical mental health counseling. She is a native of North Carolina and is a graduate of University of Central Florida’s counselor education Ph.D. program. Her primary area of research interest is in post-secondary transition services for Black youth with disabilities. Her work examines how entrepreneurial training and vocational exposure positively impacts career interest, pursuit, and retention of this population.

Patrick Mullen

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Central Florida, 2014

Patrick R. Mullen is assistant professor of Counselor Education and the faculty director for Project Empower in the William & Mary School of Education. He teaches graduate students in the master's and doctoral counselor education program with a focus on school counseling. Patrick is a National Certified Counselor, a National Certified School Counselor and an Approved Clinical Supervisor. He presents at state, regional, and national conferences in the fields of counseling and education along with publishing articles in scholarly journals. Furthermore, he is on the editorial board for the journals Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development and Counseling and Values. Dr. Mullen's general research areas include school counseling, counselor education and supervision and counseling children and adolescents.

Spencer Niles

School of Education, Ed.D., Penn State University, 1986

Professor Spencer Niles is the recipient of the National Career Development Association's (NCDA) Eminent Career Award, a NCDA Fellow, an American Counseling Association (ACA) Fellow, the recipient of ACA's Thomas Sweeney Visionary Leadership and Advocacy Award, President's Award, David Brooks Distinguished Mentor Award, Extended Research Award, and the University of British Columbia Noted Scholar Award. He served as president for the National Career Development Association and editor for The Career Development Quarterly and the Journal of Counseling & Development and currently serves on numerous journal editorial boards. Spencer served as Dean of the William & Mary School of Education from 2013 to 2020. He received his undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University and has worked in a variety of community social service agencies and other university settings. His master's degree is from Lehigh University, and his doctoral degree is from Penn State University.

Debbie Ramer

Clinical Faculty in Special Education; Director, Elementary Education Program: Principal Investigator, W&M TTAC
Ed.S., University of Virginia, 2002

Debbie Ramer is a clinical faculty member in Curriculum & Instruction/Special Education at William & Mary, director of the Elementary Education Program, principal investigator of W&M TTAC, and co-PI of the Next Move grant. She holds an Education Specialist degree from the University of Virginia in Special Education with an emphasis in Reading. Prior to joining the faculty at William & Mary, she was an educational consultant/diagnostician with the Virginia Hospital Education Program at MCV’s Child Neurology Clinic and a K-5 special education teacher in Augusta County, Virginia.

Coralis Solomon

Online Clinical Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Central Florida

Dr. Coralis Solomon is a clinical assistant professor in the online Mental Health Counseling program at William & Mary. She earned her doctorate in counselor education from the University of Central Florida. Her dissertation research explored self-compassion and emotional resilience of minority teachers working in elementary schools. Dr. Solomon is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida, a National Certified Counselor, a Qualified Supervisor in Mental Health Counseling, a Gottman Seven Principles Program Educator and a Mindful Self-Compassion Trainer. She has served as a Board of Governors member for the European Branch of the American Counseling Association and for the Mental Health Counselors Association of Central Florida. Working as a consultant to prevent burnout in teachers, she developed and facilitated a curriculum on Self-Compassion for Educators in Seminole County Public Schools.

In her private practice, Dr. Solomon implements mind and body contemplative approaches including restorative yoga, laughter yoga, trauma-sensitive yoga and mindful self-compassion training. She also specializes in trauma-focused interventions including advanced training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Dr. Solomon’s commitment to mental health counseling goes beyond private practice as a nationally and internationally recognized speaker, with over 70 presentations including keynote speaker for the 2021 American Mental Health Counselor Association conference and featured wellness presenter for the 2016 American Counseling Association conference.

Outside of her professional life, Dr. Solomon is a passionate fitness instructor. She holds a certification with the Athletics and Fitness Association of America and teaches spinning, Pilates, and yoga for the YMCA. She lives in Orlando, FL with her partner Antonio and their incredible fluffy Goldendoodle Sofia.

Noelle St. Germain-Sehr

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., St. Mary's University, San Antonio, 2003

Noelle R. St. Germain-Sehr is a clinical assistant professor and counseling clinical experience director for the Online Counseling Program at William & Mary. She received her doctorate from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio in 2003 and has over 25 years of clinical experience working with diverse client populations in a variety of settings including community mental health clinics, employee assistance programs, and private practice. She has extensive experience overseeing the clinical field placement aspects of counselor training having served as the director of training for the CMHC Program at Argosy University in Dallas for eight-and-a-half years. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor in Texas, a National Certified Counselor, and an ACISTE Certified Mental Health Professional (ACMHP) trained to assist individuals with integration of spiritually transformative experiences. Her clinical and research interests include transpersonal perspectives in counseling, mindfulness meditation, LGBTQ+ affirmative counseling, gender socialization and women’s issues, and bioenergetic analysis.

Elizabeth Talbott

Associate Dean for Research & Faculty Development
Ph.D., University of Virginia

Elizabeth Talbott’s academic preparation is in the fields of psychology, special education and mental health. She is passionate about research that contributes to positive outcomes for children and youth who have complex learning, behavioral and mental health needs. Her research is both multi-disciplinary and collaborative: she works with colleagues in education, clinical psychology and pediatrics on behalf of youth with disabilities. Dr. Talbott was a professor in special education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) for more than 20 years and has served as department chair at both UIC and W&M. She regularly advocates on Capitol Hill on behalf of children with disabilities and their families, and was proud to contribute to the RISE from Trauma Act, a bipartisan, bicameral piece of legislation introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and by Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL-7) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08). Dr. Talbott’s collaborative research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Institute of Education Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education.
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