Dr. Patricia Rice Doran, Principal Investigator

Dr. Patricia Rice Doran holds a B.A. in English and Education from the University of Notre Dame, a M.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan, and an Ed.D. in Bilingual Special Education from George Washington University. She is currently an Associate Professor of Special Education at Towson University, where she has taught for seven years. Her current areas of specialization are cultural and language diversity, neurodevelopment, and teacher knowledge and skills. She has published and presented extensively on teacher knowledge and skills, particularly related to culturally and linguistically responsive classroom practices. In 2017, she was awarded a five-year, $2.2 million professional development grant for the EMPOWER Project, from the United States Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition.

Dr. Elizabeth Neville, Co-Principal Investigator

Elizabeth Neville is a clinical professor and chair in the Department of Special Education at Towson University.  She was awarded her doctorate in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University in 1995. Prior experiences include working in Baltimore County Public Schools for 32 years as a speech/language pathologist, special education department chair, area specialist, and coordinator of related services, Alt-MSA, and autism.  Dr. Neville has consulted for Maryland and New York school districts and presented at numerous state and national conferences.  Her current scholarship interests are in the areas of UDL, culturally responsive and inclusive practices, and IHE program development.

Dr. Gilda-Martinez Alba, Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Gilda Martinez-Alba is the Assistant Dean of the College of Education at Towson University. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education-Science from the University of Maryland–College Park in 1996, and then went on to earn her Master of Science in Education-Reading (in 2000), and Doctorate in Teacher Development and Leadership (in 2005) from the Johns Hopkins University. She is a Professor and the co-chair of the Latinx Faculty and Staff Association, with her career at TU spanning over 15 years. She also works with international and national associations on work related to English learners. For example, she is the chair for TESOL’s International Publishing Professional Council.

Dr. Gregory Knollman, Evaluation Team Lead

Greg Knollman, Ph.D. is aassistant professor in the Department of Special Education at Towson University. In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities with the university, he is serving aa member of the evaluation team for Project Empower. He received a B.S. in Special Education and M.S. in Educational Leadership from Indiana University, a M.S. in Career and Technical Education from Purdue University, and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Special Education and Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida.

Mrs. Danielle Turner, Project Manager

Danielle Turner is the Project Director for ELEVATE. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.Ed. in Reading Education from Towson University. She is triple certified as an Elementary educator, Reading specialist and ESOL teacher.  She began her career in education teaching in Anne Arundel County Public Schools, and was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 2014. She served as Project Manager for the EMPOWER Project from 2018 to 2022, supporting ESOL instruction and professional development at partner schools in AACPS.  She is also a graduate instructor in the Department of Special Education at TU.