Photo of Student Behavior Blog Staff

Our Student Behavior Research team, within SRI’s Education Division, includes staff with diverse and broad experiences. We partner with students, teachers, and administrators from preschool to post-secondary levels to learn about what works to support positive school climates. We share deep personal and professional relationships with educators and practitioners across many local and distant school districts and a passion to promote healthy and safe learning environments.

Our researchers have been awarded contracts from local communities, foundations, states, and governmental agencies including the federal Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Here are a few of our representative and recent projects:

  • A Study of “Discipline in the Secondary Classroom:” A Positive Approach to Behavior Management: Department of Education-funded study of a classroom management curriculum for 100 high school classes (2018-2023)
  • Effectiveness Study of Tools for Getting Along, Teaching Students to Problem Solve: Department of Education-funded large-scale study of a social problem-solving curriculum in fourth and fifth grade classrooms of 60 elementary schools (2016-2021)
  • Project SECURE: Keeping Kids Safe in San Francisco Unified School District: NIJ-funded study in 30 elementary schools investigating universal, secondary, and tertiary supports for students (2017-2020)
  • Efficacy Study of Foundations, School-wide Positive Discipline for Middle Schools: Department of Education-funded study of a school-wide positive and proactive behavioral intervention in 60 middle schools in 3 states (2016-2020)
  • Statewide Evaluation of the California Mental Health Services Authority’s Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives: Contract (funded by California’s Proposition 63 funds) with RAND Corporation to evaluate and provide technical assistance to Suicide Prevention, Stigma and Discrimination Reduction, and Student Mental Health initiative programs (2012-2015)
  • Predictors of Success in Postsecondary STEM Education and Employment for Students with Autism: National Science Foundation-funded study on success predictors in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for students with autism (2012-14)
  • Factors Associated with Positive Outcomes for Children and Youth with Autism: Department of Education-funded secondary analysis of data from the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) and National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) examining the effectiveness of academic, social/behavioral, and vocational interventions for students with autism (2012-2014)
  • Efficacy Study of Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools: Department of Education study of a Tier 2 trauma intervention in 12 middle schools (2011-2016)
  • Efficacy Study of Check & Connect: Department of Education-funded study of a dropout prevention program in 5 local high schools (2012-2017)
  • Effectiveness Study of First Step to Success: Department of Education-funded large-scale study of the effectiveness of an early intervention program for children in grades 1-3 who are at risk for developing, or who demonstrate, antisocial or aggressive behaviors (2006-2011)

Our team members

Carl Sumi Photo

W. Carl Sumi, Ph.D., manages the Behavior Research group at SRI International. Sumi is principal investigator of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES)-funded efficacy study of Foundations, a program to support schoolwide positive discipline and of the effectiveness study of Tools for Getting Along, a social problem-solving intervention for elementary school children. He is also principal investigator of Project SECURE, funded by the National Institute of Justice to evaluate a multitiered trauma-informed system in a large urban school district. Read more.

Michelle W. Woodbridge Photo

Michelle W. Woodbridge, Ph.D., has more than two decades of experience in research on and evaluation of children’s mental health services, educational practices, health and social services, and other community-based services. Woodbridge directs large-scale national, statewide, and local research, evaluation, and technical assistance projects in preschool through secondary school learning environments. Read more.

Kirby Chow Photo

Kirby Chow, Ph.D., specializes in the academic achievement and social and emotional well-being of children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. She uses qualitative and quantitative methods to research and evaluate education programs and interventions. Read more.

Maddie Cincebeaux Photo

Maddie Cincebeaux is an Education Research Assistant in SRI’s Menlo Park, California office. She supports a variety of projects at SRI and has experience in project coordination, intervention evaluations, and data collection through classroom observations and direct assessments.

Betsy Davies-Mercier Photo

Betsy Davies-Mercier, Ph.D., supports initiatives that promote children’s early learning and their social-emotional development from preschool through the secondary school years. Her work has addressed policies concerning early literacy and most recently early intervention and early childhood special education. Read more.

Kerry Friedman Photo

Kerry Friedman partners with educators and system leaders to build capacity for using data and evidence to improve teaching and learning. She has expertise in communicating and disseminating research in ways that are accessible and actionable. Read more.

Elisa Garcia Photo

Elisa Garcia, Ph.D., has broad expertise in early childhood education and child development. In particular, her research interests focus on language and literacy development of dual language learners, and the relation between the classroom context and academic and socioemotional outcomes among children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Read more.

Sara Gracely Photo

Sara Gracely supports a variety of projects with project management, data collection, direct assessments, classroom observations, and database management. These projects include the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), Check & Connect, and the WestEd i3 Early Math Project. Read more.

Lauren Jackson Photo

Lauren Jackson is an Education Research Associate in SRI’s Arlington, Virginia office. She supports technical assistance and research projects in early childhood education and has experience working with multilingual learners and students with interrupted/inconsistent formal education.

Jennifer Nakamura Photo

Jennifer Nakamura is an Education Research Associate in SRI’s Arlington, Virginia office. She contributes to mixed-methods research and evaluation of educational programs in PreK-12 schools. Her areas of expertise include social-emotional learning, supporting students with disabilities, and tiered systems of support.

Yunsoo Park Photo

Yunsoo Park, Ph.D., has broad scientific expertise in neurobiological and psychological risk factors in the etiology of psychopathology. Specifically, her research interests focus genetic markers, impact of early trauma and stress, and various psychosocial influences (e.g., parenting style) that are associated with the development of externalizing behaviors (e.g., aggression). Read more.

Samantha Peyton Photo

Samantha Peyton is an Education Research Assistant based in Seattle, WA. She supports data collection, coordination, and dissemination efforts on various early childhood and social emotional learning research projects. She also provides early childhood technical assistance to support states’ mixed delivery systems. Read more.

Kristen Rouspil Photo

Kristen Rouspil, M.P.H., is a project manager with more than 10 years of experience managing projects at SRI. Read more.

Terry Scott Photo

Terry Scott, Ph.D., conducts research focused on how teachers’ behaviors affect students’ academic and social success. He has developed training materials in the areas of social skills instruction, defusing escalating behavior, managing classrooms, and teaching behavior.


Patrick Thornton, Ph.D., is a lead programmer and develops and implements various data-related strategies across the project life cycle. Read more.

Xin Wei Photo

Xin Wei, Ph.D., has extensive experience in education policy research, experimental design, longitudinal data analysis, and psychometrics. Read more.

Jennifer Yu Photo

Jennifer Yu, Sc.D., specializes in the development, implementation, and evaluation of education and health-related supports and services for individuals with disabilities, with a focus on technologies and programs that improve the learning and quality of life for people with autism, learning disabilities, and mental/behavioral health issues. Read more.