Meet the NCCPEP Council of Directors

Updated: Oct 18, 2019


Activities during the Inaugural NCCPEP Directors Meeting at Sacred Heart University (CT).

By Rodrick S. Lucero and Amanda J. Lester


The National Center for Clinical Practice in Educator Preparation (NCCPEP) has brought together preeminent voices in clinical educator preparation to serve on its Council of Directors. These clinical practice experts will be instrumental in building the foundation upon which The Center will advance its central goal; to provide support to advance high-quality clinical educator preparation through capacity-building, partnership development, and by bringing research to practice within local contexts across the United States.


The Center's commitment to advancing clinical educator preparation at the heart of all we do. As The Center embarks on its inaugural year as an organization, our team is focused on developing a cadre of resources, programs, professional learning opportunities that reflect the needs and values of our clinical practice partners, members, and the field. To accomplish this, we have chosen to begin our journey by bringing together the vast expertise of with a relatively small group of noted clinical practice experts, with the intention of moving forward key programmatic goals while retaining a nimble stance. We are excited about the vision and direction that each of the Directors brings to The Center’s work, as well as for their excitement about working with clinical educators from around the nation.


Please join us in offering a warm welcome to these dedicated professionals who are ready to assist in supporting you and your clinical practice goals on behalf of The Center!


Introducing the NCCPEP Council of Directors:

Dr. Michael Alfano is Dean of the Isabelle Farrington College of Education at Sacred Heart University (CT), Mike served as host for the first meeting of the Council of Directors and The Center’s official launch. Through his generosity, this event will forever serve as the birth of the formation of The Center.


Michael brings a strong legacy of clinical practice expertise, higher education leadership, and an innovative vision for educator preparation to his role on the Council. In addition, he has served in multiple instrumental roles as an educational leader, both throughout his state of Connecticut and nationally. Mike’s focus at The Center will be on working with other Dean’s to identify pathways for advancing the scope and impact of clinical educator preparation around the nation.

Dr. Donna Cooner is a Professor at Colorado State University where she leads the principal preparation program. As a former teacher and school administrator, her commitment to clinical practice has served as a constant thread throughout both her PK-12 and University career. Her focus with The Center will be on the inclusion of professors in clinical practice. Donna has served on multiple national committees, including for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and as a national Commissioner for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). She is also an internationally acclaimed author of young adult fiction and has written over twenty picture books as well as children's television shows for PBS.

Dr. Derek Decker is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Educator Preparation in the School of Education at Colorado State University where he is a coordinator in the master's plus teaching licensure program, instructs within the master’s program, and supervises teacher candidates. Derek’s prior experience as an elementary public school classroom teacher shapes the voice he brings to this work, and his scholarly interests center on the benefits of clinical practice where strong partnerships between PK-12 schools and teacher preparation programs flourish. Derek will bring this breadth of experience and expertise to his work with The Center as he co-leads initiatives to support clinical faculty and mentor teachers with Dr. Jennifer Roth.

Dr. Chris Jochum serves as Chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Fort Hays State University (FHSU), where he leads all aspects of one of the largest teacher preparation programs in the state of Kansas. Through his leadership, Chris has created excitement for the growth of clinical practice within the FHSU program, which serves Fort Hays and surrounding rural communities. In addition, he and his team have established PK-12 clinical partnerships with school districts of all sizes across the United States and abroad. Chris brings creativity and “out of the box” thinking to effective delivery models for teacher preparation. His work with The Center will be focused on rural education and on-line delivery of clinical educator preparation.

Mr. Tom Myers serves as Director of Special Education for Secondary Schools in the Adams School District #12 (CO). Throughout his more than 20-year career in PK-12 education, he has dedicated his career as an administrator and teacher to working with special needs populations. Tom is a staunch advocate for inclusive processes that provide educational access and equity to all learners. His passionate advocacy, expertise and an instructional leader, and extensive PK-12 experience will substantially inform his work with The Center as co-leader for PK-12 Special and Inclusive Education initiatives, alongside Dr. Debbie Reed.

Dr. Audra Parker is a Professor at George Mason University (VA) and serves as the Academic Program Coordinator in Elementary Education. She is a University-Based teacher educator partnering with local school districts in clinical practice. Audra has been instrumental in creating processes for effective collaboration between the University and local school districts. Her focus area with The Center is in planning and implementing regional workshops. These workshops will be designed around a “problem of practice” theme, and intended for PK-12 and University partners to attend together to engage in collaborative learning experiences designed to enhance the continuous improvement of their partnership.

Dr. Seth Parsons is an Associate Professor, leveraging his expertise in literacy within the elementary partnerships at George Mason University (VA). Currently, he is the president-elect of the Association for Literacy Educators and Researchers (ALER). Seth's award-winning research focuses on teacher education and development; teacher instructional adaptations; and student motivation and engagement. He is a recipient of the 2019 AERA Review of Research Award which is given in recognition of an outstanding review of research article appearing in the Review of Research in Education or the Review of Educational Research. Seth will be leading research efforts for The Center, and his commitment and experience will be foundational in guiding the direction of NCCPEP's efforts in this critical area.

Dr. Debbie Reed is an Associate Instructor/Faculty in Residence at the University of North Florida. She has done extensive work within Special Education, as well as to prepare highly-effective special educators within a clinical practice model. Debbie was recently awarded the 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. She has also served in volunteer and leadership roles to advance Clinical Special Educator Preparation at the national level. Over the past several years, Debbie has partnered with the UNF Center for Community-Based Learning as a Community Scholar, Community Engagement Council member and as a STEM Fellow. Debbie is committed to community-based learning because of the impact it has on teacher candidates. Her focus with The Center will be at the intersection of Higher Education and Special Education. She and Tom Myers will form a dynamic PK-12 Special and Inclusive Education team.

Dr. René Roselle, is settling into her new position as The Director of Teacher Preparation at Sacred Heart University in the Isabelle Farrington College of Education. Prior to her position at Sacred Heart University, René served in a variety of roles at the University of Connecticut, including the Interim Director of Teacher Education, Associate Director of Teacher Education, and Professional Development Schools Coordinator. She has also served as a expert volunteer with noted national organizations such as the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER), the National Association of Professional Development Schools (NAPDS), the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE), and AACTE. The depth of her knowledge is only matched by her commitment to our field. René's work with the Center will focus on clinical practice coaching.

Dr. Jennifer Roth brings a breadth and depth of experiences in public education to her work with the Center, having served as a high school teacher, university instructor and administrator. In her current role, she is a High School Assistant Principal for the Poudre School District in Fort Collins, CO. Jennifer's clinical practice expertise bridges across PK-12 and higher education through her work as a clinical faculty member and school administrator. Her research focus is on clinical partnerships and advancing effective school-university partnerships to ensure positive learning outcomes for PK-12 students and teacher candidates. She will bring this breadth of experience and expertise to her work with The Center as she co-leads initiatives to support clinical faculty and mentor teachers with Dr. Derek Decker.

Dr. Kristien Zenkov is a Professor at George Mason University and coordinates the Secondary Education (SEED) program. He brings a prolific record of clinical practice research to The Center along with his national involvement in organizations such as NAPDS, ATE, and AACTE. He also served for ten years as Senior Editor for the journals, PDS Partners and School-University Partnerships. Kristien’s passion and innovative vision for clinical educator preparation have already made their mark on The Center. In collaboration with NCCPEP partners, he will focus on credentialing processes to recognize and support the advancement of clinical practice programs, a process which will also serve as a tool for advocacy on behalf of clinical educator preparation.


Building on the Strong Foundation Set by the NCCPEP Council of Directors


As we embark on this journey alongside a Council of Directors comprised of these visionary, dedicated paragons of clinical practice, the possibilities and promise for The Center’s growth and development seem boundless.


Over the next year, as The Center’s work progresses forward, we look forward to the prospect of adding more incredible people to our team through a variety of roles that will help to expand our services and ensure that we can best support you and your colleagues as your work to advance clinical practice within your educator preparation programs. With this exciting journey already underway, The Center’s Council and team are poised and ready to assist your clinical practice partnership in any way that may be helpful.


On behalf of the NCCPEP team, I am honored to welcome our Council of Directors to NCCPEP and thank them for their commitment to advancing high-quality clinical educator preparation as a vital component to ensuring the success of PK-12 students across the nation!

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Ways You Can Become Involved with The Center:

· As an NCCPEP Client-Member: If you are interested in learning more about focused services and supports that NCCPEP-The Center is available to offer clinical practice programs and partnerships, contact Rodrick.Lucero@nccpep.org or Amanda.Lester@nccpep.org for a personal consultation.

· As a Key Initiative Volunteer or Leader: If you are interested in future volunteer opportunities to engage in key roles with The Center through a number of planned and emergent initiatives, please also feel free to reach out to us to learn more and to share your interest.

· As a Professional Development Workshop Attendee: Stay tuned for more information that will soon be released about upcoming professional development opportunities,

· As an NCCPEP Institution, Partner, or Organizational Member: Please stay tuned for future communications from NCCPEP-The Center on a variety of membership opportunities and services that will be soon available.


To learn more about NCCPEP-The Center, the NCCPEP Council of Directors, upcoming events and initiatives- and most importantly- how The Center can provide support for the advancement of clinical practice within your educator preparation program, please visit our website, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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