Dr. Sara Rimm-Kaufman conducts research on classroom social processes and their influence on children’s social and academic growth in the early years of school. Her research is interdisciplinary, drawing from the fields of psychology and education. Sara trained as a developmental psychologist and received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1996. She has been at the University of Virginia since that point, first in the role of post-doctoral fellow and now as a Professor. Currently, she is the Director of the Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science Program She teaches courses on Learning and Development, Classroom Social Issues, and Social Development. For fun, Sara enjoys spending time with her family and running.


Current Faculty Affiliates

Dr. Eileen Merritt is an assistant professor in elementary sustainability education at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and a researcher with the Sustainability Science Education initiative at Arizona State University. She received her B.A. in elementary education from The College of William and Mary, her M.Ed. in Science Education from the University of Virginia and her Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Science- Educational Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2012.Her research focuses on observational studies of classrooms; she loves seeing the wonderful work that teachers are doing every day to help their students learn and thrive. She is currently working as a Co-Principal Investigator on an Institute of Education Sciences development grant focused on training teachers to implement environmental service-learning projects with their students. She knows that educators and their students can work together to create a better future for our global community. Eileen taught fourth grade for many years at Stone-Robinson Elementary in Charlottesville, Va where she enjoyed hiking to the Rivanna River with her students. She also taught sixth grade math and science in Chesapeake City Schools. In her free time, Eileen likes to be outdoors whenever possible, and enjoys spending time with her family.

Dr. Lia Sandilos was an Institute of Education Sciences postdoctoral research fellow in the Social Development Lab at the University of Virginia. Lia continues to collaborate with our team on publications and research projects. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Psychological Studies in Education department of Temple University. Prior to joining the SDL team, Lia was employed as a postdoctoral researcher in the Language and Literacy in Diverse Contexts Lab at Temple University. She also worked as a school psychologist in public charter and non-public schools in Philadelphia. She received her M.Ed. and Ph.D. in School Psychology from Penn State University with a specialization in early childhood research. Lia’s current research focuses on the classroom environment and the provision of high quality instruction to young children, particularly those who are of low socioeconomic and culturally/racially diverse backgrounds. She is also interested in examining the psychometric properties of measures used in early childhood and elementary settings.


Recent Faculty Affiliates

Dr. Alison Baroody is an Assistant Professor in the College of Health and Social Sciences department of Child & Adolescent Development at San Francisco State University. She was an Institute of Education Science postdoctoral research from 2011-2013 at the Social Development Lab. During her postdoctoral training she worked on the Mathematics Learning Study (MLS) and the University of Virginia Environmental Service Learning Project (UVA-ESLP). Her research focuses on children’s engagement and interest in academic activities (e.g., math, literacy, science) and school interventions. Alison earned her PhD and Master’s degree from the department of Child Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, volunteering, and swing dancing.


Dr. Robert Berry is an Assistant Professor at the Curry School of Education with an appointment in Curriculum Instruction and Special Education. A former mathematics teacher, he teaches elementary and special education mathematics methods courses in the teacher education program at the University of Virginia. Additionally, he teaches graduate level mathematics education course and courses for in-service teachers seeking a mathematics specialist endorsement. His research focuses on equity issues in mathematics education and pre-and in-service teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching. Berry has extensive experience in classroom observation and has collaborated with other researchers to revise observations instruments to examine mathematics teaching quality. He has authored and co-authored 28 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and refereed proceeding. His articles have appeared in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Mathematics Educator, Journal of African American Studies, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, and others. Berry serves as chair of Teaching Children Mathematics journal editorial panel and serves on the editorial board of Journal of Educational Foundations and Urban Review.


Dr. Tim Curby received his PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education in May 2008. He is now an assistant professor of applied developmental psychology at George Mason University. Tim’s work focuses on the effects of the classroom environment on children’s behavior and development. Specifically, he focuses on the interactions that teachers have with children as a mechanism for children’s learning. Tim is also interested in developing and understanding observational measures of the classroom environment. You can now reach Tim at tcurby (at) gmu (dot) edu.


Dr. Shannon B. Wanless is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology in Education at the University of Pittsburgh ([email protected]). Her research focuses on the most effective ways to measure and influence social-emotional and self-regulatory development of children in classroom contexts. Specifically, she has worked on cross-cultural measurement development as a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan and has investigated predictors of the implementation of interventions to support social-emotional and self-regulatory skills. Dr. Wanless collaborates with the Social Development Lab on research examining predictors of fidelity of implementation of the Responsive Classroom Approach using mixed methods and longitudinal analyses.


Photo of Sara Rimm-Kaufman and Tim Curby courtesy of Dan Addison, UVa Public Affairs.

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