CSCORE is committed to providing a powerful vision for school counseling in 21st-century schools. This includes providing evidence-based resources that support k-12 students in their academic, social/emotional, college and career aspirations and achievements.
Effective counseling in schools requires high quality research about effective counseling, consultation, teaching, advocacy, academic advising, college placement, and the myriad activities and program components that are part of a successful school counselor’s daily work. It also necessitates consideration of how to bridge the gap between these research findings and what is actually done in schools, so that school counselors are using what is known about best practices to support students.
CSCORE faculty are experienced researchers, and welcome requests from potential project sponsors to discuss research opportunities. The University of Massachusetts Amherst is equipped to handle a variety of sponsored research agreements, large and small.
Please contact the center to discuss your research proposal needs.
The Center is dedicated to providing school counselors with meaningful and applied professional development opportunities. School counselors are feeling increased pressure to use data to both guide their decision making and provide accountability information. Our expertise includes:
Curriculum mapping for intentional school counseling
Data-based decision making
Using research and data to plan programs and interventions
School counseling program evaluation
Curriculum development, design and assessment
Comprehensive school counseling program implementation
Professor, School Counseling Program
Office: Furcolo S116
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, Ma 01003
Dr. Dimmitt is the Director of the Fredrickson Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation and the Program Coordinator and a Professor in the School Counseling Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her scholarship focuses on evidence-based school counseling practices, school counseling curriculum development, metacognition, and systemic change in educational institutions. Dr. Dimmitt is the Co-Coordinator of the annual National Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference. She is the co-author of the books Evidence-Based School Counseling: Making a Difference with Data-Driven Practices (Corwin, 2007) and the School Counseling and School Social Work Treatment Planner (Wiley, 2012). Dr. Dimmitt also has co-authored chapters on metacognition in education for the APA Educational Psychology Handbook (APA, 2012) and the Handbook of Psychology, Vol. 7: Educational Psychology (Wiley, 2012). She has published in the journals Professional School Counselor, Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, Counselor Education and Supervision, Elementary School Journal, and Computers in the Schools. Dr. Dimmitt served as the Counseling Content Expert for ERIC from 2007-2014.
Assistant Professor, School Counseling Program
Office: Furcolo S122
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, Ma 01003
Dawn Horton, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of the Fredrickson Center for School Counseling Outcome Research & Evaluation and an Assistant Professor in the School Counseling Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her scholarship focuses on factors influencing Hispanic students’ success in STEM, high school student graduation rates as influenced by school counselor assignment, and the creation of knowledge in disciplines. Dr. Horton has extensive experience writing and evaluating grants, having co-authored over $16 million in awarded STEM grants over the last five years. One of the most recent grant projects demonstrated how a summer Math Bridge program could provide students with the skills and course credit to not only make up a semester of mathematics but to excel in subsequent mathematics coursework. Dawn, having worked as a high school counselor for over a decade, has extensive experience in advising high school students on the college and career process having written thousands of student recommendations, and personally visiting over 150 universities and colleges meeting with hundreds of college admissions personnel.
CSCORE Director Emeritus, Founding Member
Dr. Carey is a leader in the evidence-based school counseling movement and has extensive, documented experience in coordinating large multi-site research projects related to outcome and policy research. He has served as the Principal Investigator or Co-PI on many funded research projects including: statewide evaluations of school counseling programs in Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska; and a College Board-funded study to identify the characteristics of school counseling programs associated with successful college transitions for low income and minority students. Dr. Carey is the co-author of the books Evidence-Based School Counseling, Achieving Excellence in School Counseling, and Multicultural Counseling in Schools. Dr. Carey recently received a Fulbright Specialists grant to help Korea University incorporate evidence-based practice into their school counseling graduate program. He is currently working with a team of international scholars to develop an International Handbook for Policy Research on School-Based Counseling.
Associate Professor Sarah Fefer received her doctoral degree from the University of South Florida’s APA accredited program in school psychology in 2013. She completed her predoctoral APA/APPIC accredited internship at the May Institute and her postdoctoral fellowship at UMass’ Psychological Services Center. Her research and clinical interests involve supporting students with challenging behavior across home and school contexts using multi-tiered systems of support. She has engaged in research focused on positive behavior support, family-school partnership, and a phenomenon called the Positive Illusory Bias among students with symptoms of ADHD. Dr. Fefer teaches graduate level courses in prevention, development, developmental psychopathology, applied behavior analysis, and single case experimental design. Sarah received the College of Education's Outstanding Teacher Award in 2019, and was selected as a 2018-2019 Family Research Scholar with the Center for Research on Families.
Dr. Rich Lapan is School Counseling Program Coordinator and Professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He received his Doctoral Degree from the University of Utah's APA accredited Counseling Psychology program in 1987. In his more than thirty years of experience as a professor, he has served as journal editor for Professional School Counseling, the flagship journal of the American School Counselor Association, and produced an extensive body of research addressing current topics in the field of education. Dr. Lapan’s research interests include post-secondary student success, college and career readiness, and student safety and connectedness in school. His close collaboration with Norm Gysbers has led to many publications illustrating the importance of a comprehensive guidance curriculum for student achievement.
Sharon Rallis is the Dwight W. Allen Distinguished Professor of Educational Policy and Reform in the Department of Education Policy, Research and Administration where she teaches courses in inquiry, program evaluation, qualitative methodology, and organizational theory. She serves as director of the Center for Education Policy and is associated with the Center for International Education. Over her more than 40 years working in education, Sharon has taught and counseled in U.S. K-12 public schools, been a school principal, served on a local school board, directed a U.S. federal school reform initiative, and held faculty positions at Vanderbilt University, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the University of Connecticut. With an aim to inform and contribute to program improvement, she is interested in applied research; as an evaluator, she connects theory, research, and practice through conducting evaluation. Sharon’s expertise lies in methodology (qualitative research and program evaluation), and organizational theory and change. The 2005 president of the American Evaluation Association, she has conducted research and evaluations of educational, medical, and social organizations, agencies, and programs. She has worked with governmental agencies, foundations, service organizations and other non-profits, and school districts. Her work in evaluation is internationally known due to invited work and publications in China, Canada, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Japan.
Craig S. Wells is an Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the Research and Evaluation Methods Program and also serves as Associate Director in the Center for Educational Assessment. Dr. Wells received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2004 in Quantitative Methods in Educational Psychology. Professor Wells teaches courses in statistical methods and structural equation modeling. His research interests include the study of non-parametric item response models, detection of differential item functioning or item bias, and assessment of IRT model fit. He also has a keen interest in the philosophy of science and its applications.
Associate professor Sara Whitcomb received her doctoral degree from the University of Oregon’s APA accredited program in school psychology in 2009. She completed her predoctoral APA/APPIC accredited internship at the May Institute and her postdoctoral fellowship at UMass’ PSC. Her research and clinical interests are in mental health promotion and positive behavioral support systems in schools, social-emotional learning, and behavioral and instructional consultation. Dr. Whitcomb is the program director and teaches courses in social-emotional and behavioral assessment and consultation. In addition, Dr. Whitcomb has coordinated and supervised the third and fourth year practicum.
Ximena Zúñiga, University of Michigan, a national leader of diversity, equity and social justice issues in education in higher education. Dr. Zúñiga's background is in critical philosophy and critical pedagogy, participatory education, and action research. Her initial work was in literacy work and popular education in non-formal adult education programs in her native Chile. Before joining the faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Dr. Zúñiga directed the Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan where she participated in developing the intergroup dialogue educational model in higher education. She has served as PI and Co-PI on several international, national and local grants including the Inclusive University Initiative at Pune University in India (Obama Singh Grant, 2013-2016), Multi-University Intergroup Dialogue Research Project (W.T.Grant & Ford Foundation, 2005-2008) and Pluralism and Unity Initiative at UMASS Amherst (W. & F. Hewlett Foundation 1998-2002). She is co-editor of Multicultural Teaching in the University (1993), Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (2001; 2010; 2013; (Routledge); Intergroup Dialogue: Engaging Difference, Social Identities, and Social Justice(Routledge, 2014). She is co-author of Intergroup dialogue in higher education: Meaningful learning about social justice(2007;Jossey-Bass) and Dialogues across difference: Practice, theory and research on intergroup dialogues (2013; Russell Sage Foundation). She recently co-edited a special issue for the Journal of Equity and Excellence in Education on intergroup dialogues in k-12, higher education and communities (February 2012). Recent articles and book chapters address racism, immigration & globalization issues in anti-racist education, diversity and social justice education in higher education, and theory, practice, and research on dialogues across differences in higher education and communities. She teaches foundations courses in social justice education, theory, practice and research on intergroup dialogue in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and communities, and a multi-section intergroup dialogue undergraduate course.
Blaire Cholewa, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Counselor Education Program in the Department of Human Services and co-chair of the Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference. Previously she was an Assistant Professor in the Counselor Education Department at Kean University where her primary role was teaching graduate counseling students. Her research is grounded in exploring ways counselors and educators can improve educational equity so all students have the opportunity to succeed. She is particularly interested in two related lines of inquiry: counselor-teacher consultation and the retention of high-risk college students.
Elysia Clemens is an associate professor at the University of Northern Colorado. Current research projects are focused on educational outcomes for youth in the child welfare system. The goal of her research is to inform policy. She serving as the project director to design a system for Colorado Department of Education to measure the investments being made in the state related to dropout prevention and student engagement. She is also collaborating on the development of a software application “Apprentice-Counseling” to improve supervision of counseling students during practicum and internship.
Peg Donohue is an Assistant Professor in the Counselor Education and Family Therapy Department at CCSU and Coordinator of the School Counseling Program. She spent 16 years working as a school counselor in elementary and middle school levels. She also worked as a teacher in alternative education settings on the high school level. Her primary research interests include the role of school counselors in making meaningful systemic change and fostering social and emotional skills. She is co-editor of The School Counselors Handbook on Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS) (Rutledge, 2019). Dr. Donohue is a founding member of the CCSU Center of Excellence in Social and Emotional Learning where she has developed a number of training opportunities for Connecticut educators. As an advocate for improved mental health supports in her state, she is training school teams to implement universal screening. She currently serves on the board of the Connecticut School Counseling Association and is President Elect of the Connecticut Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors.
Catherine Griffith is an Assistant Professor in the school counseling program at the University of San Diego and a former Associate Director for the Ronald H. Fredrickson Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation (CSCORE). She received her Ph.D. in Counselor Education at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and earned her Master's degree and credential in School Counseling at Chapman University in Orange, CA. A passionate advocate for creating school environments that are responsive to vulnerable students and families, her primary research activities include the development and validation of strengths-based counseling interventions and assessments. She has worked with children and adolescents in school, clinical, and community settings, and specializes in the development of positive coping skills and resilience among queer youth. Notably, she has presented over 90 skills-training and research-focused workshops both nationally and internationally, and was recently honored with her prior university’s Outstanding Teaching Award. Dr. Griffith currently serves on the editorial review board for the flagship journal Professional School Counseling, co-chairs the American Counseling Association (ACA) Research and Knowledge Committee, chairs the Increasing Research Quality Workgroup for the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) School Counselor Interest Network (SCIN), and is member of the Evidence-based School Counseling Conference (EBSCC) Advisory Board.
Megan Krell is an assistant professor and internship coordinator in human services and counseling at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Megan received her doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology from the University of Connecticut. She has a Master of Arts in School Counseling from the University of Connecticut and she graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Human Services. Megan’s research interests include college and career readiness initiatives in school counseling, equitable college readiness counseling for students with disabilities, and using technology to enhance teaching.
Melissa Mariani is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counselor Education at Florida Atlantic University. She has ten years of experience as a school counselor and guidance program coordinator at the elementary and middle school levels. Her research interests include evaluating the effectiveness of evidence-based school counseling interventions, specifically those focused on improving students’ pro-social skills, fostering a positive classroom climate, and preventing bullying. Dr. Mariani is co-author of the book Facilitating Evidence-Based, Data-Driven School Counseling: A Manual for Practice (Corwin, 2016). In 2011, she was awarded Florida School Counselor of the Year for PK-8 and was recently honored University Scholar of the Year at the Assistant level. Dr. Mariani is passionate about professional service and currently sits on national, state and local advisory councils. She has held various leadership positions for the Florida School Counselor Association (FSCA), serves on several editorial review boards for professional counseling journals, and is a national trainer for the Student Success Skills (SSS) curriculum.
Ian Martin is an assistant professor at the University of San Diego within the Counseling program and teaches classes in school counseling and career development. Prior to coming to USD, he was a school counselor at the elementary and middle school levels. Ian completed his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and worked as a Research Assistant within CSCORE. He credits CSCORE with shaping his current research agenda and is honored to continue his relationship with CSCORE as a Center Fellow. Ian has published and presented on such topics as program development, evaluation and school counseling policy.
Erin Mason is an associate professor at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to her career as a counselor educator, Erin was a school counselor for 13 years in two of the largest districts in the Atlanta area. Erin is active in a variety of leadership positions in professional associations and she enjoys providing presentations and trainings to state, national, and international audiences. Erin has published on topics including leadership and professional identity in school counseling, the ecological school counseling model, and has a growing research agenda on the impact of technology on school counseling and school counselor education. As a CSCORE Fellow, Erin is eager to work collaboratively with those in the field and to strengthen the connection between evidence-based school counseling practice and research.
George McMahon is an assistant professor at the University of Georgia in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services in the College of Educations, where he serves as the Clinical Coordinator for the MEd in school counseling program and teaches in the PhD program in counselor education and supervision. George has published and presented in the areas of school counselor leadership, school counselors' use of data, group work, and privilege and advocacy. Most recently, George developed and is researching Ecological School Counseling, a new paradigm for envisioning school counseling practice. George has been on the Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference Advisory Council since 2012, and served as co-host for the conference in Athens, GA in 2016. Prior to becoming a school counselor educator, George was an elementary and middle school counselor in his hometown of New Orleans, LA.
Tim Poynton is an associate professor and director of the school counseling program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. A former school counselor in New York State, Dr. Poynton has shifted the focus of his work from practicing school counseling to school counselor education and research. He worked as a research fellow at the Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation in 2004-2005, and is the developer of the EZAnalyze data tools for school counselors. His current research is focused on the post-secondary transition, and he has published in journals such as Professional School Counseling, Career Development Quarterly, and theJournal of College Access.
Christopher Sink, PhD, NCC, LMHC (WA) is a Professor and Batten Endowed Chair of Counseling (since July 2015) at Old Dominion University, Department of Counseling and Human Services (Darden College of Education). Earlier, he spent 21 years as a professor of counselor education at Seattle Pacific University and five years at Northwest Missouri State University. Prior to serving in the professoriate, Dr. Sink worked as a secondary and post-secondary counselor. He has many years of chief editorial experience in counseling-related journals (American School Counselor Association’s Professional School Counseling and American Counseling Association’s Counseling and Values). Dr. Sink currently serves on the editorial board of multiple peer-refereed journals, including The Professional Counselor (the National Board of Certified Counselors), Professional School Counseling (American School Counselor Association), Counseling and Spirituality (Canadian), Counseling and Values (American School Counselor Association and Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling), and Journal of Research on Christian Education. Currently, he is associate editor, Counseling and Values and chief editor, Journal of School-based Counseling Policy and Evaluation (JSCPE). Dr. Sink does extensive consulting for school systems and organizations (e.g., conducting program evaluations) as well as regularly presents at scholarly and professional conferences including those held in the U.S. and internationally. He has been invited to be a keynote speaker at multiple professional conferences. Dr. Sink is serving a three-year appointment as Visiting Professor at York St. John University, School of Psychological and Social Sciences, York, England. He also consults with school districts around the country on school counseling restructuring.
Elizabeth Villares, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Doctoral Program Coordinator in the Department of Counselor Education at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Villares has worked as a teacher, school counselor, and guidance director at the secondary level. Her areas of specialization include integrating technology in school counseling programs to improve data-driven practices, and collaborating with school counselors to develop action and outcome research and program evaluation projects. Her current research focus includes implementing school counselor-led evidence-based programs to improve the academic achievement and social-emotional development of students in grades K-12. Dr. Villares has published more than 15 publications in national/international peer reviewed journals and done over 40 refereed presentations. She has received numerous awards including the 2011 Association for Assessment in Counseling and Evaluation, Outstanding Outcome Research Article of the Year award, Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Emerging Leader Fellow, and the Florida Atlantic University, College of Education, Associate Professor Scholar of the Year.
Brett Zyromski is co-founder and co-chair of the national Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference. He is involved with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) as one of fifteen Lead Recognized-ASCA-Model-Program Reviewers (LRR’s) nationwide, and has also serves as a trainer of the ASCA National Model for the American School Counselor Association. Recently, Dr. Zyromski was a writer and service provider for a 1.2 million dollar Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grant received by the Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services. Dr. Zyromski has published over a dozen articles related to school counseling issues, and has delivered over 30 national, regional, and local presentations. He was the invited chair of the revision team for the Development Counseling Model for Illinois Schools and founded and coordinated the Southern Illinois School Counseling Interest Network. Dr. Zyromski has consulted with numerous school districts on evolving guidance programs to data-driven, comprehensive school counseling programs. He has provided workshops on crisis preparation and response in schools, supervision in counseling, using school counseling to change sundown town communities, and data-driven school counseling practices. Dr. Zyromski has served as a reviewer for the Professional School Counseling Journal and has been recognized for numerous awards and recognitions, including the 2010 North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Professional Leadership Award, the 2010 Illinois School Counseling Association Presidential Award, and the 2008 North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Outstanding Professional Teaching Award.
Karen Harrington is currently the Assistant Director of the Center for Youth Engagement at UMass Amherst and previously served as Assistant Director for CSCORE from 2005-2016. She has extensive experience in the management of large funded grant projects and has served on evaluation teams for projects focused on social emotional skill development and assessment, innovative models of school-based counseling, college and career readiness, arts integration, charter schools, and students with disabilities. In addition, she has provided professional development and technical assistance to school districts nationwide on systemic change and data-based decision-making. Karen has delivered more than three dozen keynote and refereed presentations at state, national, and international conferences and has co-authored 10 articles and book chapters. She has also taught graduate courses in evidence-based practice and curriculum design and is currently teaching career development to incarcerated youth.
Michael Krezmien is an assistant professor in special education. His research interests include understanding and solving the complex problems facing high risk and proven risk youth. He is currently directing three major research initiatives. The first is as the Holyoke / Chicopee Shannon Community Safety Initiative Research Partner. This project examines prevention and intervention strategies to prevent youth violence and gang involvement. The second is the Holyoke 21st Century Project. Dr. Krezmien leads a collaborative team who are designing and implementing project based learning activities with high school students in the Holyoke Public School Alternative Education programs. The third is an international collaboration to develop empirical research on inclusion in the U.S., Germany, Turkey, and now Italy. Additionally, Dr. Krezmien is an expert in juvenile justice and school disciplinary problems as well as reading interventions for diverse learners. Finally, Dr. Krezmien researches disproportionate representation of minority students in special education, and minority students and students with disabilities in school suspensions.
Alexandra A. Lauterbach is an assistant professor of special education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her scholarly interest centers on effective literacy instruction for students with high incident disabilities, and effective professional development for teachers of such students. Specifically, she is interested in literacy in inclusive content area classrooms, recently focusing on science classrooms at the secondary level. She also examines the connection between secondary instruction, inclusive environments, and post-secondary outcomes for students with disabilities. The secondary strand of Dr. Lauterbach’s research is rigorous research methods in education, specifically qualitative methods, mixed methods, and survey methods. In this role, she has acted as the research methodologist in research in special education, school counseling, and school psychology.
Amanda Marcotte researches educational practices designed to prevent academic and behavioral problems in schools. She investigates prevention through the relationship of assessment and intervention, researching measures that are used to identify students with risk factors and evaluation procedures to assess effective instructional programming. Dr. Marcotte’s research draws on academic and behavioral interventions, school-based prevention programs, formative assessment and curriculum-based measurement, Specific Learning Disabilities, and preventative reading instruction.
Rebecca H. Woodland is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Educational Policy, Research and Administration. She is a recognized scholar in the areas of leadership for curriculum and instruction, school improvement, and social network analysis (SNA). She has published numerous refereed journal articles, two encyclopedia entries and a book. Her publication, “Communities of Practice as an Analytical Construct: Implications for Theory & Practice,” was the International Journal of Public Administration’s most widely read article for 2009. Her most recent articles are: “Social Network Analysis and the Evaluation of Teacher Collaboration: A District Case Study” in press with the Journal of School Leadership and “A Validation Study of the Teacher Collaboration Assessment Survey” (June 2013) in Educational Research and Evaluation. Dr. Woodland is a member of the Editorial Board for the American Journal of Evaluation, and the 2005 winner of AEA's prestigious Marcia Guttentag Award. In addition to research, Dr. Woodland actively works to build innovative and effective school-university partnerships and engage in state level policy making. From 2007-2010, she led the team that developed the Massachusetts' Standards and Indicators of Effective Administrative Leadership Practice, and she was recently appointed to the Design Team for the Performance Assessment for MA Leaders Project by the Office of Educator Policy, Preparation and Leadership at the MA Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. Dr. Woodland is a member of the Connecticut Valley Superintendents Roundtable and works closely with teams of school leaders in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the US to build K-12 system capacity for high quality instruction and disciplined teacher collaboration that lead to increases in student engagement and achievement.