Meet our Student Behavior Research Team

Photo of Student Behavior Blog Staff

Welcome to SRI Education’s new Student Behavior Blog, where we aim to share news and information about our team’s research, evaluation, and technical assistance work in partnership with schools and communities around the country. Our goal is to help educators, administrators, school social workers, counselors, parents/caregivers, students, and other researchers learn about evidence-based practices that ultimately support all students’ positive behavior, mental health and well-being. In this first blog entry, we want to take the opportunity to introduce our research team and the way we do business—and to describe why we love our work so much.

What we wanted to be when we “grew up”

Carl Sumi and Michelle Woodbridge co-lead the Student Behavior Research program at SRI Education, and they bring their own motivation and passion to the job.

photo of Carl Sumi

W. Carl Sumi, Ph.D., has been with SRI Education since 2003. He is a Senior Principal Researcher and co-Director of SRI Education’s Student Behavior Research program.

“As a former special education teacher and parent, I wanted to do more for kids who had the odds stacked against them.”

“Growing up in New York City and being a special education teacher opened my eyes to the challenges of educating students and the entrenched inequities in the system. For me, it’s all about helping kids and families—and also about helping teachers, counselors, and principals be more successful at their jobs so that, ultimately, kids and families benefit. I root for the underdog—for the kids who have the odds stacked against them. I want to be their advocate. In my days with students in a self-contained special education classroom, I realized my teaching could only impact about 8 to 10 kids per year. I gradually took on more jobs and roles (such as behavior specialist, graduate student, and researcher) where I could affect more kids and more classrooms on a larger scale. Now I have the potential to impact thousands of kids by working with school districts and educators across the country, and I love being on the same team with these folks—with the same mission and goals.”

Watch these short videos to hear Carl talking about his work:

photo of Michelle Woodbridge

Michelle Woodbridge, Ph.D., has been with SRI Education since 2004. She is the Executive Director of SRI Education’s Center for Learning and Development and co-Director of the Student Behavior Research program.

“I wanted a chance to learn from my heroes.”

“I always wanted to be a teacher or counselor when I grew up, because those folks were my heroes. But I don’t feel like I have what it takes to be a good teacher, and during the short time I was a career counselor, I literally sweated through every session. Fortunately, my job at SRI provides me with the opportunity to learn from my heroes—to observe and study how good teachers and principals put effective practices into place; to participate in trainings with school social workers on evidence-based programs—and then hear what they think about the feasibility and potential impact of these interventions; and to conduct research and share results that promote the work of these amazing, generous, inspiring professionals. Ultimately, our collaboration helps the kids and families that we care about so much. I can’t think of a better or more inspiring position.”

Watch these short videos to hear Michelle talking about her work:

Our outstanding team of researchers, analysts, and data collectors

Our team of researchers, evaluators, and technical assistance providers brings a wealth of expertise, with a common emphasis on the social and emotional well-being of children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Please browse through the biographies of our team members to learn about the capabilities and interests they bring to their work every day.

Photo Carl SumiCarl Sumi
Interests/Expertise:
– Student mental health
– Research and evaluation
PBIS/MTSS
Photo Michelle WoodbridgeMichelle Woodbridge
Interests/Expertise:
– Student mental health
– Research and Evaluation
Technical assistance
Photo Kirby ChowKirby Chow
Interests/Expertise:
– Research and Evaluation
– Poverty/homelessness
Social-emotional development
Photo of Betsy Davies-MercierBetsy Davies-Mercier
Interests/Expertise:
– Early Childhood Education
– Early Intervention
– School Readiness
Photo Kerry FriedmanKerry Friedman
Interests/Expertise:
Technical assistance
– School climate/culture
Photo Elisa GarciaElisa Garcia
Interests/Expertise:
– Early Childhood Education
– Dual Language Learners
Social-emotional Development
Photo Sara GracelySara Gracely
Interests/Expertise:
– Early Childhood Education
Social-emotional skills
Trauma
photo of Tali KlimaTali Klima
Interests/Expertise:
– Student mental health
Trauma/stress
– Substance use
Photo Jenn NakamuraJenn Nakamura
Interests/Expertise:
– Supporting students with Disabilities
MTSS/RTI
Social-emotional skills
Photo of Yunsoo ParkYunsoo Park
Interests/Expertise:
– Student mental health
– Parenting
Trauma/Stress
Photo of Samantha PeytonSamantha Peyton
Interests/Expertise:
– Early Childhood Education
Social-emotional Development
– Education Policy
Photo Kristen RouspilKristen Rouspil
Interests/Expertise:
– Early Childhood
– School climate/culture
Trauma/stress
Photo Patrick ThorntonPatrick Thornton
Interests/Expertise:
– SAS programming
– Data preparation
– Analysis of quasi-experimental and experimental study designs
Photo Xin Wei Xin Wei
Interests/Expertise:
– Statistical modeling
– Experimental designs
– Education policy and interventions to improve student outcomes
Photo Jennifer YuJennifer Yu
Interests/Expertise:
– Autism Spectrum Disorder
STEM self-efficacy and motivation
– Technology-based supports for students with disabilities

Our extraordinary collection of research and evaluation projects

Our team has deep experience conducting evaluations of school-based behavior interventions in preK–12 through post-secondary school environments. Through this collaborative work, we share personal and professional relationships with educators and other professionals who serve students in many school districts across the country. We have been awarded contracts from local communities, foundations, state agencies, and federal government agencies including the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Office of Innovation and Improvement, and Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in the U.S. Department of Justice. Please browse through this list of sample projects to learn about our past and current partnerships and engaging work.

Please engage with us!

Over the next months and years, we will be sharing lessons learned from our years of work, resources for supporting effective behavior management and social-emotional learning for students, and interviews with educators and experts. We hope that you will follow along, share helpful Student Behavior Blog posts with your networks, and contact us to contribute to the discussion. We’re available at studentbehaviorblog@sri.com.

Topics: Research design

Tags: Meet Our Team Student Behavior Research Team