Speakers 2012


Susan Landry, PhD, a nationally recognized expert in early childhood education, is the Founder and Director of the Children’s Learning Institute. Dr. Landry’s research into environmental factors that promote early cognitive growth and development led to her development of the framework for the Center for Improving the Readiness of Children for Learning and Education (CIRCLE), which led to the implementation of the Texas Early Education Model (TEEM) in pre-kindergarten classrooms across Texas. Dr. Landry conducts numerous research projects and training activities promoting quality learning environments for young children, generating a large research database on early childhood. More than 70 peer-reviewed publications and over a dozen chapters describe the findings of these research studies.

Douglas Clements, PhD, is the author of Early Childhood Mathematics Education Research: Learning Trajectories for Young Children. Dr. Clements is widely regarded as a major scholar in the field of early childhood mathematics education, one with equal relevance to the academy, to the classroom, and to the educational policy arena. At the national level, his contributions have led to the development of new mathematics curricula, mathematics software, teaching approaches, teacher training initiatives, and models of “scaling up” interventions. He has also had a tremendous impact on educational planning and policy, particularly in the area of mathematical literacy and access. Dr. Clements has served on President Bush’s National Mathematics Advisory Panel, the National Research Council’s Committee on Early Mathematics, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics National Curriculum and Principles and Standards committees. He is presently serving on the Common Core State Standards committee of the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, helping write national academic standards.


Chip Donohue, PhD, is the Director of Distance Learning at Erikson Institute where he is developing an online Master’s degree for experienced early childhood teachers as well as online certificate and professional development programs. Dr. Donohue is a Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media; he is co-chair of the working group that is revising the NAEYC/Rogers Center Joint Position Statement on Technology in Early Childhood Programs serving children from Birth through Age Eight. Dr. Donohue is internationally recognized as a leader in the innovative use of technology and distance-learning methods to increase access, enhance learning, and improve teaching practices. He has served on the Office of Head Start Professional Education Network and is a member of the international advisory committee for The Science of Child Development project and the national advisory board for Bright Horizons Family Solutions. Dr. Donohue currently serves on the editorial advisory panel of the International Journal of Innovation in Education.

Michael Levine, PhD, is the founding director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, an action research and innovation hub devoted to harnessing the potential of digital media to advance young children’s learning and healthy development. Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Levine served as Vice President of New Media and Executive Director of Education for Asia Society, managing the global nonprofit’s interactive media and educational initiatives to promote understanding of Asia and other world regions, languages, and cultures. Previously, Dr. Levine oversaw Carnegie Corporation of New York’s groundbreaking work in early childhood development, educational media, and primary grades reform, and was a senior advisor to the New York City Schools Chancellor, where he directed dropout prevention, afterschool, and early childhood initiatives. Dr. Levine often serves as an adviser to government and public media organizations such as the U.S. Department of Education, PBS, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and he writes for policy groups such as the National Governors Association, Democracy Journal, and Education Week. He serves on numerous nonprofit boards and advisory councils, including for the Forum for Youth Investment, Teach For America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Apps Challenge, and Talaris Institute.

Brad Wilcox, PhD, is a former sixth-grade teacher and author of the popular Annie McRae children’s books. He received his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wyoming and works as a Professor of Education at Brigham Young University in the Department of Teacher Education. He currently serves as co-editor of Literacy Research and Instruction, the journal published for the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers, and regularly works as a literacy consultant at schools around the nation. Dr. Wilcox is also a celebrated speaker, presenting at conferences and for schools throughout North America, Central and South America, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

Dustin “Dusty” Heuston, PhD, is the chairman, founder, and CEO of Waterford Institute, a U.S. leader in preschool through second-grade software for reading, math, and science curricula. Through Waterford Institute, Dr. Heuston produced the first education videodisc for McGraw Hill as well as other computerized educational and training products, such as the award-wining Waterford Early Learning program. Dr. Heuston received his Master’s degree from Stanford University and his PhD from New York University. He was a 2011 Utah nominee for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and he teaches an Honors English class at the Waterford School. Dr. Heuston has dedicated his entire career to education since his role as educator at Brigham Young University and the head of Spence School in New York City. He recently published The Third Source: A Message of Hope for Education, which describes his conceptualization of a new delivery system that provides individualized technology education, with the help of a support team, to the home and school environments.


Warren Buckleitner, PhD, a former preschool, elementary, and college teacher—is an expert on children and technology. He is the founding editor of Children’s Technology Review, he covers kids’ technology for the New York Times “Gadgetwise” blog, and he is a contributing editor to Scholastic Parent & Child. Dr. Buckleitner holds degrees in elementary education from Central Michigan University, an MA in early childhood education from the High/Scope Foundation and Pacific Oaks College, and a PhD in educational psychology from Michigan State University. He is the founder of the Mediatech Foundation, a nonprofit community technology center dedicated to “town made better with technology,” and is the founder of the Dust or Magic Institute on the Design of Children’s Interactive Media.