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Building Equitable Futures

Speakers

Bios

Listed in alphabetical order, you can learn more about all of our presenters from the entire webinar series. Check back frequently as presenters will be added as soon as more details are available.

Justin Brown

Director, Oklahoma Department of Human Services and Cabinet Secretary of Human Services & Early Childhood Development

Opening remarks as part of Webinar #2: "Investments in Teachers: Key to Quality Early Childhood Education, Child Well-Being and a Strong Economic Future."

In June 2019 Governor J. Kevin Stitt appointed Justin B. Brown as Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, the state’s largest agency by workforce. In March 2020, Governor Stitt further appointed Brown to the position of Cabinet Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Development. As CEO of a regional senior housing company prior to these appointments, Brown built a deep experience in organizational leadership, finance and strategic planning & execution. With this experience, Brown is well suited to build a vision based on a customer first mentality, motivating the team to execute on a vision of serving the State of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens. As a strong relationship builder, Brown was uniquely qualified to position the Department of Human Services as a collaborative agency that engages with partners across the state to serve together. 

In addition to having built a passion for serving seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease through his prior profession and Board of Directors engagement with the Alzheimer’s Association, Brown has built a life of service to children through non-profit service including the OU Children’s Hospital Foundation, the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, the OKC Zoo, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, among others. He and his wife, Kelly, have been married for 19 years and have two children, Hannah and Ford.

Sherri Castle

Assistant Director, Research, Early Childhood Education Institute

Presenting "Tulsa Pre-K Research 2.0: Emerging Results from the Ongoing Tulsa SEED Study" as part of Webinar #1: "Foundations: How Oklahoma Research Influenced Pre-K Policies and Programs Across the Country."

Sherri Castle serves as principal investigator for the CAP-Tulsa Program Evaluation Project. Her responsibilities include overseeing project staff and collaborating on project design, data analysis and dissemination of findings. In addition, Castle leads the ECEI Research Infrastructure Team, Project Leadership Team and Writing Club.

Bill Gormley

Professor, Government & Public Policy, Georgetown University

Presenting "The Legacies of Pre-K Research in Tulsa for Practice, Policy, and Science" as part of Webinar #1: "Foundations: How Oklahoma Research Influenced Pre-K Policies and Programs Across the Country."

William T. Gormley, Jr. is a professor at Georgetown University. He is also co-director of the Center for Research on Children in the U.S. Gormley is the author of several books, including Everybody’s Children: Child Care as a Public Problem (Brookings 1995), Organizational Report Cards (Harvard University Press, 1999), and Voices for Children:  Rhetoric and Public Policy (Brookings, 2012).His latest book is The Critical Advantage: Developing Critical Thinking Skills in School (Harvard Education Press, 2017). His research on early childhood education has been featured in the New York Times and on NPR, the PBS News Hour and the CBS Evening News. Gormley is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a past president of the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association.

Joy Hofmeister

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Oklahoma State Department of Education

Opening remarks as part of Webinar #1: "Foundations: How Oklahoma Research Influenced Pre-K Policies and Programs Across the Country."

Joy Hofmeister was originally elected to serve as State Supt. of Public Instruction in Nov. 2014 and began her second term as Oklahoma's State Superintendent in Jan. 2019. Since taking office, the state has repealed ineffective state exams; released a more meaningful and user-friendly accountability system; and bolstered student safety. With an emphasis on collaboration and a focus on ensuring Oklahoma's children have access to opportunities to achieve academic success, Hofmeister has strengthened academic standards and testing, revamped teacher evaluation and brought statewide attention to the need for trauma-informed instructional practices that meet children where they are.

Anna Johnson

Associate Professor, Psychology, Georgetown University

Presenting "Tulsa Pre-K Research 2.0: Emerging Results from the Ongoing Tulsa SEED Study" as part of Webinar #1: "Foundations: How Oklahoma Research Influenced Pre-K Policies and Programs Across the Country."

A hybrid scholar with dual degrees in developmental psychology and public policy, Anna Johnson’s research sits at the intersection of the two disciplines by blending the theory and measures of developmental psychology with advanced quantitative methods to ask exploratory and evaluative questions about how public policies can impact vulnerable children's early development. Her primary research focus is on the effects of publicly funded early care and education experiences on low-income children's development. Johnson is currently the principal investigator of the multi-million dollar, 7-year longitudinal study of low-income children in Tulsa, Okla., the Tulsa Study of Early Education and Development (Tulsa SEED) that is following a cohort of children from age three (2016) through fourth grade (2023).

In a parallel line of research, Anna co-leads studies exploring the predictors and consequences of food insecurity, which disproportionately impacts low-income households with young children and can be ameliorated by public policies such as food assistance and school-based food provision programs. 

Across all of her research areas and projects, Anna maintains a focus on barriers to early education and food access as well as particular strengths of vulnerable subgroups of students and families. These vulnerable subgroups include children who are dual-language learners, children with special needs, and households that face other stressors known to impede access to services and positive developmental outcomes like food insecurity and maternal depression. 

Deborah Phillips

Professor, Psychology, Georgetown University

Presenting "The Legacies of Pre-K Research in Tulsa for Practice, Policy, and Science" as part of Webinar #1: "Foundations: How Oklahoma Research Influenced Pre-K Policies and Programs Across the Country."

Deborah Phillips was the first executive director of the Board on Children, Youth and Families of the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine and served as study director for the board’s report: "From Neurons to Neighborhoods. The Science of Early Child Development." She also served as president of the Foundation for Child Development, director of Child Care Information Services at the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and Congressional Science Fellow (Society for Research in Child Development) on the staff of Congressman George Miller.

Her research focuses on the developmental effects of early childhood programs for both typically developing children and those with special needs, including research on child care, Head Start, and pre-Kindergarten programs. Deborah has served on numerous task forces and advisory groups that address child and family policy issues, including the Task Force on Meeting the Needs of Young Children of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, the Head Start FACES Redesign Expert Panel, and the Secretary’s (US DHHS) Committee on the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Evaluation.