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 the 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.


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 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 has been at Towson University for 12 years. At Towson, she the Assistant Dean of the College of Education, Professor and the co-chair of the Latinx Faculty and Staff Association. 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. Raymond Lorion, Evaluation Team

Dr. Raymond P. Lorion holds a B.S. in Psychology and French from Tufts University (Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude). He was awarded the University Fellowship in Clinical Psychology at the University of Texas in 1968 and a V.A. Fellowship from the University of Rochester (1969 – 1972), where he earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Lorion has served as Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at the University of Maryland and University of Pennsylvania. After serving as the Dean of the College of Education at Towson University for more than a decade and spending the first 30 years of his professional life focusing on early detection of disorders in children and youth, he established the Center for Application and Innovation Research in Education (CAIRE) in 2010 and has served as its Executive Director since then. From 2010 – 2015, the center was responsible for evaluating the Maryland State Department of Education’s Race To The Top grant. In addition, CAIRE has worked with Baltimore County Public Schools designing, implementing and evaluating an innovative approach to teacher induction. In 2015, Dr. Lorion received the Society for Community Research and Action’s (SCRA) award for distinguished contribution to theory and research in community psychology. His major research interests include university-school-community partnerships, education policy and innovation, and evaluation of educational interventions in challenging communities.

Dr. Gregory Knollman, Evaluation Team

Greg Knollman, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education at Towson University. In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities with the university, he is serving as a 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 a proud alumna of Towson University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.Ed. in Reading Education. She is triple certified as an Elementary educator, Reading specialist and ESOL teacher. While teaching in Anne Arundel County Public Schools, she served as team lead for three years, school STEM team lead at the MSDE Conference, and was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 2014. As part of her work as EMPOWER Project Manager, Danielle supports ESOL instruction and professional development at Monarch Academy Annapolis and Monarch Global Academy. In the Fall of 2019, she began teaching as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Special Education at TU.



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