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.
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.
Ed.S. (1994) and Ed.D. (1996), William & Mary
Dr. John Brendel has been licensed by the state of Virginia as a professional counselor since 1996, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 1998, and holds a doctoral degree in Counseling from William & Mary. He has additional training and expertise in depression, self-esteem, stress management, anxiety reduction, relationship problems, organizational development, sexual issues, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples.
Dr. Brendel has previous experience as a high school counselor, marriage and family counselor and college counselor. Additionally, he has been a university faculty member for 25 years. He received a B.A. in Communications from Virginia Tech (1983), a M.Ed. in Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University (1991), and an Ed.S. (1994) and Ed.D. (1996) in Counseling from William & Mary. He currently serves on the Virginia Board of Counseling, having been appointed in 2009 by Governor Timothy M. Kaine, and then reappointed in 2019.
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.
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
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.
Ed.D. North Carolina State University, 1989
Victoria Foster is a professor in the Counselor Education Program and has been the faculty director of New Horizons since coming to William & Mary in 1992. She has over 20 years of counseling experience in diverse settings, including private practice in couple and sex therapy, residential treatment programs for emotionally disturbed youth and women's centers. Her work at New Horizons has focused on methods of clinical instruction and supervision that provide the crucible in which students can blend formal theories and research observations with practitioner-driven knowledge and skills, and begin to incorporate them as their own working knowledge. Dr. Foster's areas of interest include gender and diversity issues in family counseling, family/school collaboration for at-risk children, counseling supervision and developmental theory.
Coordinator of Addictions Emphasis for Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1979
Dr. Charles “Rick” Gressard is a chancellor professor in the Counselor Education Program at William & Mary and was coordinator of the addictions emphasis for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialty. His clinical and research interests include addiction counseling and prevention, counseling ethics and transpersonal counseling. He has also been active in the area of credentialing, having served as chair of the Virginia Board of Counseling, chair of the National Board of Certified Counselors, and vice-chair of CACREP. In addition, he was the interim president/CEO of CACREP from July 2017 to June 2018. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, Dr. Gressard taught for seven years in the counseling program at the University of Virginia and for five years in Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at the UVA School of Medicine. In 1993, Dr. Gressard came to William & Mary where he has coordinated the addiction counseling emphasis for 23 years and where he developed and has directed the New Leaf Clinic.
Ph.D., University of Central Florida, 2014
Daniel Gutierrez is assistant professor in the Counselor Education program at William & Mary, the coordinator of the addictions emphasis for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and the faculty director of the New Leaf Clinic. Prior to W&M, he was assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the department of counseling for three years. He is also a licensed professional counselor in North Carolina, Florida and Virginia with experience working in outpatient addiction settings, community counseling clinics, behavioral hospitals, and private practice.
His clinical interests include working with underserved and vulnerable populations struggling with addiction and other mental health concerns. An underlying contextual theme of his research is developing participatory action research approaches for improving the mental health of vulnerable populations through community partnerships and community-based programming.
Ph.D., William & Mary, 2011
Natoya Haskins is an assistant professor of counselor education at William & Mary and co-director of the school’s Undergraduate Research Experience program. While a doctoral student at William & Mary, her dissertation work focused on taking a critical look at the preparation of students of color in counselor education and gaps in their curricular experiences; her current research is centered on culturally responsive counselor education experiences for graduate students of color, critical race theory in counselor education and school counselor advocacy efficacy assessment tools. A former professor at the University of Georgia, Dr. Haskin's teaching today centers on providing a collaborative educational experience that embraces culturally diverse perspectives and historical and contemporary social justice issues within school counseling and counselor education.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Ph.D., University of Central Florida
Jessica L. Martin is 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.
Ed.D., North Carolina State University, 1988
Charles (Rip) McAdams is the professor of Counselor Education at William & Mary, where he is program coordinator for the master's degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and co-director of the New Horizons Family Counseling Center. Dr. McAdams received his doctorate in education from North Carolina State University in 1988 and joined the William & Mary faculty in 1996. Prior to that, he was engaged in professional counseling practice for 16 years with a primary emphasis on developing and implementing community-based clinical intervention programs for physically aggressive youth and their families; his ongoing clinical practice and research have focused on improving methods to prepare and support counselors for work with aggressive and other demanding client populations. Dr. McAdams is licensed in Virginia as a professional counselor and marriage and family therapist and is a current board member of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
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.
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.
Robert L. Oliver
Robert L. "Bobby" Oliver has taught Curriculum and Instruction courses in both Methods and Instructional Planning for classical and modern languages in the undergraduate and graduate M.A.Ed. program. He has been associated with the School of Education at The College of William & Mary since 2004. Oliver earned a B.S. in Spanish, Speech Communication, and Secondary Education from Old Dominion University, and a Master of Arts in Spanish from Middlebury College. He currently holds a Postgraduate Professional Teaching License issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia in Spanish, French, Latin, Speech Communication and English as a Second Language. Oliver has also been a University Supervisor for The College of William & Mary since 2010. He has instructed, supervised and evaluated both student teachers and interns in their Spanish, French, Latin, German and Chinese field placements for both the School of Education and the William & Mary Confucius Institute. Oliver is a member of Equality WM and a volunteer with the W&M Safe Zone Project. He and his husband, John—recently married in New Hampshire—make their home in Williamsburg.
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.
Noelle St. Germain-Sehr
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.
Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2005
LoriAnn Stretch earned a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from NC State University and an M.S. in Community and College Counseling from Longwood University. She is currently the coordinator of the Online Counseling Program in the School of Education at William & Mary. Dr. Stretch is the former managing director of the International Registry of Counsellor Education Programs (IRCEP), a committee of CACREP. She is an LCMHC-Supervisor (NC), Approved Clinical Supervisor, and a Board Certified Telemental Health Provider.
Dr. Stretch has served as the chair, ethics chair, and treasurer for the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. She is a CACREP team chair and a CACREP consultant. In addition, she is currently president-elect and conference co-chair for the Association for Creativity in Counseling, co-chair for Counselor for Social Justice’s Social Justice Advocacy Curriculum Taskforce, serves on the conference planning committee for the Society for Sexual, Affectional, Intersex, and Gender Expansive Identities (SAIGE), and is a subject matter expert for the National Board for Certified Counselors.
Dr. Stretch has served as a clinical director of a multidisciplinary mental health agency, taught at several state and private universities, and practiced counseling for over 25 years. She specializes in experiential therapies, global counseling, trauma recovery and stabilization, telehealth, and supervision.
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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A Legacy of Excellence in Counseling Education
1. Retrieved on January 11, 2018, from education.wm.edu/news/news-archive/2017/professor-wins-national-lecture-award.php