Erikson Team

We are excited for our 2020 Erikson Institute that has focused on early math, language and literacy and the addition of a third component, social & emotional learning. Below is a brief description of the instructors who will be joining us this year.

Erikson Early Math Series

Lisa Ginet, KEIKImath20 Leader – Currently the director of Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative, Lisa M. Ginet, EdD, has spent more than three decades as a professional educator in various positions (classroom teacher, child care provider, parent educator, home visitor, teacher trainer, adjunct faculty) in diverse settings (child care centers, elementary and middle schools, family resource agency, family child care home, community college, private university).  In all her roles, Lisa Ginet has worked to engage children in active and meaningful learning, to support families as their children’s first and closest teachers, and to involve educators in reflective and practical dialogue to help improve their teaching/caregiving. Her research interests lie at the intersection of theory and practice – What does it mean for a teacher/caregiver to have taught a concept or for a child to have learned it? What sort of supports help teachers/caregivers become most effective in their work with children? How do we nurture relationships among children and adults in classrooms, schools and communities, so that that all children are nurtured and challenged in safe and appropriate settings?

Erikson Social & Emotional Learning Series

Amanda Moreno, SELove20 Leader – In high school, Amanda Moreno, PhD, read a book called “Dibs in Search of Self” that influenced her entire career path. The story of a gifted child who has trouble expressing himself and how his interactions with the book’s author, clinical psychologist Virginia M. Axline, brought about remarkable changes, resonated with the young Dr. Moreno. “After reading the book, I kept thinking, ‘If only all children had greater opportunities and resources to help them realize their full potential,’” she says. “That’s what holds people back — not their level of intelligence.”

Throughout her career, which has included direct service, research, and instructional roles, her focus has been on understanding the connections between children’s social-emotional well-being and learning. Of particular interest is the role adults play in providing children with conditions that foster positive development and the factors that impact the ability of adults to fulfill that role.

Her current research includes a federally funded, four-year study on mindfulness practices in Chicago Public Schools classrooms, the first one of its kind looking at a large sample of kindergarten through second grade students in high-poverty schools. She also has studied preschools and child care centers to understand how best to work with adults and provide resources to enhance their sensitivity to the interactions they have with children.

Erikson Language & Early Literacy Series

Gillian McNamee, KEIKI-literacy-20 Leader – A firm belief in the power of education for young children led Gillian D. McNamee, PhD, to pursue a career focused on high-quality teaching of young children — and she has channeled that passion through her work at Erikson Institute for over four decades. Her love for teaching began as a child interacting with her grandmother, whose piano playing and storytelling helped her connect with children. In the 1960s, her grandmother volunteered as a teacher in the early days of Project Head Start; today, Dr. McNamee keeps a certificate hanging in her office signed by Lady Bird Johnson and Sargent Shriver that recognizes her grandmother’s efforts to help launch Head Start in Boston. “I’ve always wanted to understand how education could provide every child with the opportunity to achieve their potential, giving their talents and capacity for empathy to family and society,” she says. Dr. McNamee serves as Erikson’s director of teacher education, a role in which she designs courses for students learning on campus and online. As the principal investigator for Erikson’s Language and Literacy Partners (formerly New Schools Project), She leads a team of experts working in schools located in under-resourced urban neighborhoods and focusing on the foundations for learning to read and write in preschool through third grade. Dr. McNamee also has authored three books, the most recent of which is “The High-Performing Preschool: Story Acting in Head Start Classrooms,” published in 2015.