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Education Faculty & Staff

Dr. Robert B. Cooter, Jr. (webpage and contact information) is Dean of the Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education and Ursuline Endowed Professor at Bellarmine University. Dr. Cooter previously served as editor of The Reading Teacher, the world’s largest circulation refereed journal for literacy educators and is published by the International Reading Association. His research focuses on the improvement of literacy instruction for children living at the poverty level. In 2008 Dr. Cooter received the A.B. Herr Award for contributions to the field of literacy given by the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers. 

In the public schools, Dr. Cooter served as the first “Reading Czar” (associate superintendent) for the Dallas Independent School District (TX) and was named a Texas State Champion for Reading. In 2007 Robert Cooter and and Kathleen Spencer Cooter received the Urban Impact Award from the Council of Great City Schools for their work designing and implementing highly effective training programs for teachers of reading serving in high poverty elementary schools in Dallas and Memphis. The academic book, Perspectives on Rescuing Urban Literacy Education: Spies, Saboteurs, & Saints, details some of the lessons learned by Cooter and his colleagues. Dr. Cooter later designed and served as principal investigator of a five-year, $16 million middle school literacy research project in Memphis funded by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Dr. Cooter has authored or co-authored more than 20 books on ways to teach children to read, and has also published more than 60 articles in professional journals. Some of his books include the best-selling Teaching Children to Read: The Teacher Makes the Difference (7th ed.) and Strategies for Reading Assessment and Instruction (4th ed.) used at over 200 universities; and The Flynt/Cooter Comprehensive Reading Inventory. He is currently working on a new book with his wife and colleague, Dr. Kathleen Spencer Cooter, entitled Urban Literacy Education: Helping City Kids in Regular and Special Education Classrooms.

Corrie Block, Ph.D. (webpage and contact information), received her doctorate from the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation at the University of Kentucky. She holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching as well as a Bachelors of Science in History and a minor in Sociology. She is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Bellarmine University where she teaches courses in social studies methods, research methodology, assessment development and evaluation methods. Areas of scholarship include cultivating the skills of teachers in the design and interpretation of their own classroom level cognitive and affective assessments, evaluation methodology and social studies methods.

Sarah Bush, Ph.D., (webpage and contact information)  is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education. She earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Mathematics Education from the University of Louisville. Her scholarship interests include: making mathematics meaningful through interdisciplinary learning, the learning of algebra, and the role of technology in the teaching and learning of mathematics. She frequently publishes in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, sharing interdisciplinary ideas through articles such as: Framing Measurement: An Art Gallery Installation, What's on your Plate? Thinking Proportionally, Hunger Games: What are the Chances?, and Invest in Financial Literacy!. These articles often involve local teachers and current undergraduate students as co-authors. Additionally, she has been lead author or co-author of work published in other peer-reviewed journals such as: American Education Research Journal (AERJ)Journal of Mathematical Behavior, andTeaching Children Mathematics. She is currently serving as President of the Greater Louisville Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She served as program chairperson for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) 2013 Louisville Regional Meeting. She currently serves on NCTM’s Educational Materials Committee, is a program committee member of the NCTM 2016 San Francisco Annual Meeting, and serves on the program committee for the Annual Conference of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE). She is a recipient of the Helen Cunningham Educator Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics. At Bellarmine, she teaches methods of teaching mathematics to pre-service elementary, middle, and secondary teachers and supervises middle and secondary mathematics student teachers.  

Martha Combs, Ed.D., (Curriculum Vitae pdf) is an Associate Professor at Bellarmine University. She received her doctorate from the University of Florida in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in literacy. Before becoming a teacher educator she taught in public schools for 14 years in a variety of grade levels and served as a curriculum specialist for elementary schools. She has held certification in early childhood and elementary education, reading, and administration/supervision. She has served as a faculty member and program coordinator at Oklahoma State University (OSU), the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), and Marian University in Wisconsin. She has also served as Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and as Dean for Graduate Studies at Cabrini College. Martha has been recognized as Teacher of the Year in the College of Education at OSU, twice as Mentor to the Senior Scholar in the College of Education at UNR and as the Regents’ Academic Advisor by the Board of Regents in Nevada. She has published numerous books, book chapters, and referred articles in the areas of literacy, teacher education, foundations, and higher education. Currently, her research interests focus on improving teacher preparation and teacher education as a moral endeavor.

Dr. Kristin Cook (website and contact information) is an Assistant Professor of Science Education. She received her doctoral degree at Indiana University in Curriculum & Instruction specializing in Science Education and Environmental Sciences. A former high school biology teacher, Kristin has served as a professional developer and consultant for both STEM-focused school reform and project-based learning development. Kristin’s research focuses on engaging students and pre-service teachers with the community of science through the exploration of socio-scientific inquiry. She has authored several manuscripts and book chapters, most recently including Connecting to our community: Utilizing photovoice as a pedagogical tool to connect college students to science featured in the International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, which won the Innovations in Teaching Science Teachers Award at the Association for Science Teacher Educators. At Bellarmine University, she currently teaches Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Science Methods, as well as School Health, Nutrition, and Physical Education.

Kathleen Cooter, Ph.D. (webpage and contact information) is Professor of Early Childhood/Special Education. Before joining Bellarmine in 2008, she taught at the University of Memphis and Texas Christian University. She served as Outreach Coordinator for the New Teacher Center at Memphis and directed the teaching and research activities of both TCU’s laboratory schools and received awards as a Mortar Board Professor and “Employer of the Year Award” for employing adults with Down Syndrome. In December 2003, a new wing to TCU’s laboratory school was built and named in her honor.

Dr. Cooter served for some twenty years as a teacher and administrator in both private and public schools. She has been twice honored as a Texas Teacher of the Year. Currently she is the Executive Director of the Kentucky Council for Economic Education.

Elizabeth Dinkins, Ph.D. (website and contact information) is an Assistant Professor of Literacy and Language Arts Education. She received her doctorate in English Education from the University of Virginia, her Master’s in education from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and her Bachelor’s from The Evergreen State College. Before beginning her career in higher education, Dr. Dinkins taught middle school language arts and coordinated school-wide literacy instruction. Her research interests include writing instruction, instructional use of young adult literature, approaches to school-wide literacy, and how critical literacy can be used to help students read and write their world. She teaches classes in literacy education and qualitative research methodologies.


Theresa Magpuri-Lavell, Ed.D. (webpage and contact information) is an Assistant Professor of Education. She received her doctorate in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership with a specialization in Reading Education from the University of Memphis. After receiving her Master's in Education from Lesley University, she taught elementary school for ten years in Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Japan. Her research addresses literacy issues for K-3 students and urban adolescents with a specific focus on reading fluency and building teacher capacity on evidenced-based reading instruction. Other scholarly interests involve students with dyslexia and literacy coaching. Research by Dr. Magpuri-Lavell has been published in the Journal of Adult and Adolescent Literacy and the Journal of Literacy Research.  At Bellarmine, she coordinates and teaches in the MAEd Literacy Specialist P-12 program. Dr. Magpuri-Lavell is also the Project Director for the Oldham County K-3 Reading Academy and the Jefferson County Public Schools Literacy Project, initiatives to train K-3 teachers in the use of evidenced-based literacy practices with the goal of raising literacy achievement for all students.

Christy D. McGee, Ed.D. (webpage and contact information) is a Professor of Education and Chair of the Master of Arts in Teaching Program. She taught at both the elementary and high school level  before beginning her career in higher education. Before coming to Bellarmine in 2005, Dr. McGee was an associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Arkansas. She was also a visiting assistant professor at University of Indiana and she directed student teaching at the University of Louisville. She has published over 20 articles in her career exploring children at risk for failure, teacher education reform, student empowerment, and gifted students. She is a national consultant in the process of differentiated instruction. As an active member of the National Association for Gifted Children, she served as chair of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction, chair of the Parent and Community network, a Parent Advisory Committee member, and one of the developers of the highly popular “Mile Marker” CD. She also wrote a column for the journal Parenting for High Potential from 2011-2013.

Dr. McGee is very involved in service to the university.  She has served on Faculty Council for extended terms at the University of Arkansas where she served in a variety of positions including secretary, president-elect, and president. She was also a university senator and received the College of Education and Health Sciences award for service.  At Bellarmine, she has continued in that tradition by serving on a variety of committees including Rank and Tenure, Handbook Committee, President-Elect of Faculty and Faculty President.

Dr. McGee received her bachelor’s degree from Murray State University in theatre arts and communication with a minor in secondary education, her master’s degree from the University of Louisville in science education, and her doctoral degree from University of Louisville with concentrations in urban studies and science education.

David D. Paige, Ed.D. (webpage and contact information) is Associate Professor of Education at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. After a 20-year career in business, Dr. Paige began his educational career as a special educator in an urban middle school in Memphis, Tennessee where he taught reading and math for five years to children with mild to moderate learning disabilities in both pull-out and collaborative class settings. Dr. Paige completed his doctoral studies at the University of Memphis. Paige’s research interest utilizes statistical modeling to address literacy issues, particularly those concerning the role of oral reading fluency and prosody in reading. Dr. Paige has developed the SER-C®, a web-based instrument to assess the impact of higher order thinking on behavioral engagement of students. The SER-C® has been used in over 35 schools by some 500 teachers to assess the presence of higher order thinking in classrooms. Research by Dr. Paige has been published in The Reading Teacher, Reading Psychology, Reading Horizons, the Journal of Adult and Adolescent Literacy, Research and Instruction, the Journal of Literacy Research, the NASSP Bulletin, the Kentucky Reading Journal, as well as several book chapters including Fluency Instruction. Dr. Paige is also the Executive Director of the Thinking Schools Academy, an initiative to train Indian teachers in the use of 21st century instructional techniques which encourage higher-order thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving in students. Dr. Paige has presented at numerous national and international conferences on topics of literacy and higher-order thinking and is currently developing a web-based instrument to assess reading fluency. David and his wife Elizabeth live in a restored, circa 1890 home in the Victorian neighborhood of Old Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. David has four sons, Garrett, Taylor, Cameron, and Logan.

Dr. Fred Rhodes is currently serving as Professor and Chair of the Ph.D. in Leadership in Higher Education program. He served as Vice President for Student Affairs at Bellarmine University from 1991-2014. During his tenure at Bellarmine, he also served in the roles of Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students and Professor of Education prior to joining the graduate faculty full time in January 2015.

Dr. Rhodes is a seasoned student affairs professional with 35 years of senior level experience serving as a Dean of Students or Vice President for Student Affairs in both the public and private sector. He has been active in his respective professional associations serving as President of the Southern Association for College Student Affairs and the College Personnel Association of Kentucky. Dr. Rhodes was selected by his peers to be inducted into the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Pillars of the Profession. Also, he has been recognized for his leadership, service, and contributions to the field of higher education at the regional and state level.

He has served on numerous Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation teams as both Chair and committee member. Dr. Rhodes has served as a faculty member at the University of South Florida, University of Tennessee and the University of Louisville. He has served as the director and/or faculty member for higher education institutes for higher education administrators at Clemson University, University of Georgia, Tulane University, University of South Carolina, Emory University, University of Arizona and University of Louisville. He has served as a consultant to numerous higher education institutions and private consulting agencies during his tenure in higher education.

Dr. Rhodes has served as a national exchange delegate for NASPA to both France and The United Arab Emirates. He served as a faculty member at the University of Kentucky’s Leadership Institute at Cambridge University, England. He has traveled with students to India, Peru, France, Germany, England, Greece, Jamaica, Belize, Guatemala, and El Savador.

He received his doctorate in higher education from Mississippi State University, his masters in counseling psychology from the University of Tennessee and his undergraduate degree in history from Maryville College. He has done post-graduate study at Harvard University.

Dr. Rhodes was selected as Fulbright Scholar for study in Germany.

Belinda C. Richardson, Ed.D. (webpage and contact information) Assistant Professor of Education, began her career in education after receiving her initial teaching certification from North Georgia College and University. She expanded her knowledge base by receiving a Masters Degree in Special Education from the University of Nebraska and taught special education for seven years. She then went on to earn a Masters Degree in Counseling Education from Texas Tech University and to work as a school counselor for eight years. She earned her Doctorate Degree in Special Education from Texas Tech University in 2007. Her research experience and interest is in the study of undeveloped attachment in children and its effects on their connection with and behavior in the school setting.

John Sizemore, M.Ed., Rank I (webpage and contact information) teaches in the Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education both undergraduate students seeking initial certification and graduate students seeking principal certification. John brings a practioneer's perspective to the students entering the field of education or honing their skills to be principals. He has served in many administrative roles in public education, most recently as assistant superintendent in the 100,000 student Jefferson County Public Schools. John has served as consultant to a variety of urban and rural districts across the country, focusing on restructuring schools. Additionally, John has published articles on teacher advisory programs and principal leadership in restructuring the middle school. John received his B.A. in Social Studies, his MA in Guidance and Counseling, and his Rank I in Supervision and Instruction from Eastern Kentucky University.

Dr. Maureen A Schloss, Ph.D. (Curriculum Vitae pdf) is an Associate Professor of Education. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Special Education from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY; her master’s degree in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University in Washington, DC; and her doctorate in Special Education from the University of Buffalo. Dr. Schloss was a professor and Associate Chair in the Exceptional Education Department at Buffalo State College and held a joint appointment at the University of Buffalo where she was chair of the Joint Ph.D. program in Special Education. Dr. Schloss was the Superintendent of the South Dakota School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, then a professor of Special Education at Northern State University. Prior to entering Higher Education, Dr. Schloss gained extensive classroom experience, working with P-12 students with hearing losses and severe emotional and behavioral disorders in Minnesota, Illinois, and Georgia in the Deaf Education programs at Lowndes County Schools in Valdosta, GA. Dr. Schloss has written over 50 journal articles, co-authored six books, and made numerous presentations at local, state, and national conferences. Her research interests included behavior management, social skill development, and effective instructional practices for students with hearing losses and multiple disabilities. At Bellarmine, she teaches courses related to assessment of learners with special needs and professional partnerships.

Grant Smith, Ph.D. (webpage and contact information) is an Assistant Professor of Educational Research.  Grant spent over 20 years in the private sector working in operations management, mergers and acquisitions and the design and execution of feasibility research and process improvement studies.  His research interests include accountability measurements, and the relationship of educational outcomes and economic opportunity.  He received a B.A. from the University of Florida, a Ph.D. in measurement and statistics from the Florida State University and is currently completing postdoctoral studies at Harvard University where he works with the National Center for Teacher Effectiveness at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  At Bellarmine Grant teaches courses in statistics, research methods and evaluation.

Kevin Thomas, Ph.D. (webpage and contact information) Curriculum Vitae (pdf) Associate Professor, received his B.A. in Academic Psychology from the University of Tennessee, a Master’s in Administration and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University, and his Ph.D. from the School of Education at the University of Tennessee, with a specialization in Instructional Technology. After receiving his teaching certification from Trinity College of Vermont, he taught secondary English for 15 years in Knoxville, TN. His research interests include the classroom application of Web 2.0 tools and the integration of mobile devices.

Dottie Willis, Ed.D. (webpage and contact information)joined Bellarmine in August, 2008. She earned her B.A. at George Peabody College-Vanderbilt University, M.S. at Indiana-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Ed.D. at the University of Louisville, and principal certification at Spalding University. Her research focuses on literacy and writing instruction. As Writing Specialist for the Jefferson County (Kentucky) Public Schools from 2002-2007, she published twenty units for teaching middle and high school language arts. She has also authored articles in theKentucky English Bulletin and Kentucky Library Association Journal. Dr. Willis has served on the Kentucky Writing Advisory Committee and currently is a member of the Louisville Writing Project Board of Directors.

Rosie Young, Ed.D. (webpage and contact information) serves as the Field Placement Coordinator at Bellarmine University.  She worked in the Jefferson County Public Schools for 38 years, 28 years as an elementary school principal.  In 2011, she was named Kentucky’s National Distinguished Principal for 2012.  She holds certification in elementary education 1-8, school guidance counselor, principalship, ECE supervisor, and superintendency. In addition, she was a Bellarmine Alumni award recipient in 2006 and received the Caritas Medal from Spalding University in 2011.  Rosie co-chaired the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) committee that developed the Accomplished Principal Standards.  She serves on the Board of Examiners for NCATE and has completed training to become a lead site visitor for CAEP.  Rosie also serves as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Elementary School Principals.  She volunteers her time in support of this association’s mission to lead and serve all elementary and middle level principals in Kentucky. She earned her B.A. from Bellarmine University, her M.Ed from the University of Louisville, and her Ed.D. from Spalding University.

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