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External Advisory Board

The UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute's External Advisory Board works with the Institute in a consultative capacity providing expertise and counsel relevant to the Institute’s work, with a special focus on three priorities:

  1. Strategic initiatives
    • Language and literacy in early development    
    • Innovative technology and data science in education  
    • Cultural resilience and wealth of marginalized and minoritized communities
    • Life course perspective on developmental disability and mental health 
  2. State engagement
  3. Community connections

Learn about each of our board members below.


amy cubbage; woman in red and black top smiles at camera
Amy Stephens Cubbage

Amy Stephens Cubbage, JD, is the president of the North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC), leading Smart Start, North Carolina’s comprehensive early childhood system. Smart Start is funded through a public/private partnership and consists of 75 local partnerships working in all 100 North Carolina counties to advance a high-quality, comprehensive, accountable system of care and education for each child beginning with a healthy birth. She worked as a National Head Start Fellow for the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF), then consulted with early childhood education agencies on a range of topics. She taught advocacy and leadership courses at both Wheelock College and Eastern Connecticut State University, and researched and wrote about early childhood education. Beginning in 2008, Stephens Cubbage’s work focused on the assessment and improvement of early childhood education programs, joining the National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education at the University of Virginia and then, in 2010, Teachstone. She served in various roles at Teachstone, managing teacher coaching, training, and professional development, as well as public policy, legal, and strategy work. Stephens Cubbage completed her undergraduate study at Brown University and went on to complete a J.D. at Northeastern University and an M.S. in Leadership and Policy in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College.

Learn more about Amy Stephens Cubbage.

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Leann Smith DaWalt

Leann Smith DaWalt, PhD, is the director of the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the Waisman Center. Her research employes multilevel modeling and other longitudinal techniques to answer questions of behavioral continuity and change for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families across the life course, with a specific emphasis on adolescents and adults with IDD and the contextual factors associated with positive outcomes.

Learn more about LeAnn Smith DaWalt.

james e. ford; man in colorful bow tie
James E. Ford

James E. Ford, PhD, is an award-winning educator and consultant on issues of equity in education. He is principal consultant at Filling the Gap Educational Consultants, LLC. and the founder and executive director of the Center for Racial Equity in Education (CREED). He was appointed by Gov. Cooper in 2018 to serve as a member of the North Carolina State Board of Education, representing the Southwest Region. In 2014-15, he was named North Carolina Teacher of the Year and the representative for 95,000 public school teachers throughout the state.

While in this position, Ford lobbied the state legislature to help secure the first post-recession raises for teachers and was made chair of the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee. The Governor acknowledged Ford during his 2015 State of the State address for his hard work and recognition. In Spring 2015, he, along with 54 other state teachers, was invited to the White House to be honored by President Obama in the Rose Garden during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Before deciding to become a teacher, Ford’s early career cemented his connection to children and youth. He worked as a truancy intervention specialist in high schools and director of a teen center that provided educational and after-school activities for youth at risk of dropping out of school.

Learn more about James Ford.

david j francis; man with gray hair, glasses and mustache
David J. Francis

David J. Francis, PhD, is the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Chair of Quantitative Methods in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston, where he also serves as Director of the Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics (TIMES), as well as Director of the Center for the Success of English Learners, a National Research and Development Center funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. He is a Co-Investigator on the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities, a P50 grant funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, on which he serves as PI of the Data Management and Statistics Core as well as PI of Project 1 on Classification and Identification. Francis obtained a doctoral degree in Clinical-Neuropsychology from the University of Houston in 1985 with a specialization in Quantitative Methods. He served as Chairman of the Department of Psychology from 2002 to 2014, and as Director of TIMES since its founding in 1999. He also served as Co-Director of the Texas Learning and Computation Center at the University of Houston from 2005-2012, and as Director/Co-Director of the Center for Advanced Computing and Data Science from 2015-2018.

Learn more about David J. Francis.

Koraly Pérez-Edgar; woman with dark curly hair and wearing red blouse
Koraly Pérez-Edgar

Koraly Pérez-Edgar, PhD, is the McCourtney Professor of Child Studies and a Professor of Psychology at Pennsylvania State University. She received her A.B. from Dartmouth College and her M.A. and PhD from Harvard University. Pérez-Edgar’s research focuses on the relations between temperament and psychopathology. In particular, she examines how individual differences in attention can work to ameliorate or exacerbate early temperament traits. In conducting her work, she has taken a multi-method approach involving direct observation of behavior, cognitive functioning, psychophysiology, and neuroimaging. Pérez-Edgar is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS).  Her work has been funded by the NIMH, NIDA, and NARSAD. Currently, she is the editor in chief for the journal Developmental Psychology.

Learn more about Koraly Pérez-Edgar.

james rehg; man with long dark hair and glasses wearing light gray suit and purple tie
James M. Rehg

James M. Rehg, PhD, is a founder professor of Computer Science and Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Previously, he was a professor in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he co-directed the Center for Health Analytics and Informatics (CHAI). He received his PhD from CMU in 1995 and worked at the Cambridge Research Lab of DEC (and then Compaq) from 1995-2001, where he managed the computer vision research group. He received an NSF CAREER award in 2001 and a Raytheon Faculty Fellowship from Georgia Tech in 2005. He and his students have received a number of best paper awards, including best student paper awards at ICML 2005, BMVC 2010, Mobihealth 2014, Face and Gesture 2015, and a Distinguished Paper Award from ACM IMWUT and a Method of the Year award from the journal Nature Methods. Dr. Rehg served as the General co-Chair for CVPR 2009 and the Program co-Chair for CVPR 2017. He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers and holds 26 issued US patents.

Learn more about James Rehg.

michele sarche; woman with brown bob haircut with blonde highlights
Michelle Sarche

Michelle Sarche, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor in the Centers for American Indian & Alaska Native Health and Department of Community & Behavioral Health at the Colorado School of Public Health. Sarche has worked with American Indian and Alaska Native communities for more than 25 years. Her work has focused on children’s development, parenting, and early care environments such as Head Start, home visiting, and child care.

Learn more about Michelle Sarche,

Natalie Slopen; woman with short dark curly hair
Natalie Slopen

Natalie Slopen, ScD, is an Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and an affiliated faculty member at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. As a social epidemiologist, her research focuses on social and contextual factors that shape childhood development and inequities in health, with a focus on psychiatric and cardiometabolic health outcomes. The goal of her research is to identify processes and conditions that can be targeted by intervention programs and social policies to reduce socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic health disparities and promote health equity across the life course. She is currently leading several projects related to housing, neighborhoods and children’s health, and the long-term health consequences of parent-child separation in early life. She has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, including both empirical and systematic review articles, and she served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee that produced the report Vibrant and Healthy Kids: Aligning Science, Practice, and Policy to Advance Health Equity.

Learn more about Natalie Slopen.

Nnicole Patton Terry; woman with shoulder length dark hair with glasses smiles at camera
Nicole Patton Terry

Nicole Patton Terry, PhD, is the Olive & Manuel Bordas professor of Education in the School of Teacher Education, director of the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR), and director of the Regional Education Lab—Southeast at Florida State University (FSU).  Prior to joining FSU in 2018, she was an associate professor of Special Education at Georgia State University (GSU). She is the founding director of two university-based research entities where researchers work collaboratively with diverse school and community stakeholders to promote student success among vulnerable children and youth: The Urban Child Study Center at GSU and The Village at FCRR.

Terry’s research, innovation, and engagement activities concern young learners who are vulnerable to experiencing poor language and literacy achievement in school, in particular, African American children, children growing up in poverty, and children with disabilities. Her research and scholarly activities have been supported by various organizations, including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the Spencer Foundation. She currently serves as president elect for the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, associate editor for the Journal of Learning Disabilities, and a member of the National Academies’ Committee on the Future of Education Research at the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education. Terry earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, with a specialization in learning disabilities, in 2004. She was a special education teacher in Evanston Public Schools in Evanston, IL.

Learn more about Nicole Patton Terry.

Dan Tetreault
Dan Tetreault

Dan Tetreault, MEd, is assistant director of early learning in the Office of Early Learning at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. He started his career in education as a kindergarten teacher and early literacy trainer. He began with the Department in 2006 as a state-funded prekindergarten program consultant and has since served in several roles supporting state-wide preschool through grade 3 initiatives.

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Dan Wuori

Dan Wuori, PhD, is a Senior Early Childhood Advisor with The Hunt Institute.

A former kindergarten teacher and school district administrator, Wuori served as deputy director of South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness – the state’s comprehensive, public-private early learning initiative – from 2005-2018. In this role, he worked alongside elected leaders to develop significant, bipartisan support for early childhood education and oversaw system innovations including the delivery of public prekindergarten in private, community- and faith-based preschools, improvements to the state’s IDEA Part C early intervention system, the creation of statewide program accountability standards, and the expansion of evidence-based home visiting programs. A past president of the SC Early Childhood Association, Wuori was honored as South Carolina’s 2018 Champion for Children.

Emeritus Members

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Kenneth A. Dodge

Kenneth A. Dodge, PhD, is the William McDougle Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. He is also the founding and past director of the Center for Child and Family Policy. Dodge joined the faculty of the Sanford School of Public Policy in September 1998. He is trained as a clinical and developmental psychologist, having earned his B.A. in psychology at Northwestern University in 1975 and his PhD in psychology at Duke University in 1978. Prior to joining Duke, Dodge served on the faculty at Indiana University, the University of Colorado, and Vanderbilt University. Dodge was elected into the National Academy of Medicine in 2015. He also served on FPG’s Executive Leadership Board from 2014-2022. A few of Dr. Dodge’s honors include President, Society for Research in Child Development; Distinguished Scientist, Child Mind Institute; Research Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health; and inaugural recipient of the Presidential Citation Award for Excellence in Research from the Society for Research on Adolescence.

Learn more about Kenneth A. Dodge.

Marvin H. McKinney; man with graying hair wears navy sweater vest, medium blue shirt, and colorful tie
Marvin H. McKinney

Marvin H. McKinney, PhD, is a senior consultant at Michigan State University in University Outreach and Engagement. Previously, McKinney was the program director for youth programs at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. McKinney earned his Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Teaching at Eastern Michigan University, and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Michigan. FPG launched a program in McKinney’s honor, open to students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree program at a North Carolina HBCU.

jim perrin; man with gray hair and glasses wearing light gray suit with bold tie
James Perrin

James (Jim) M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, is the John C. Robinson Distinguished Chair of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and associate chair of pediatrics at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children. As past director of the Division of General Pediatrics, he founded the MGH Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy and its associated research fellowship program and directed the center for over 15 years. He is a past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, former chair of its Committee on Children with Disabilities, and past president of the Ambulatory (Academic) Pediatric Association. For 10 years, he headed the Clinical Coordinating Center for the national Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network and directed the federally funded Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health. Dr. Perrin is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Children, Youth, and Families, and has served on many Institute of Medicine committees on maternal and child health, health care reform, health care quality, long-term care, disability, and children’s mental health. A graduate of Harvard College and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, he had his residency and fellowship training at the University of Rochester and has also been on the faculties of the University of Rochester and Vanderbilt University, in pediatrics and public policy.

Learn more about Jim M. Perrin.