CREST-Ed Faculty

Gwen BensonGwendolyn Benson serves as the associate dean for school, community and international partnerships in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University at Georgia State University. She previously served as coordinator of the Low Incidence Disabilities Unit of the Division for Exceptional Students in the Georgia Department of Education; director of educator preparation for the Georgia Professional Standards Commission; and director of the Program for Exceptional Children with the Atlanta Public Schools. She was an associate professor at Southern University at Baton Rouge, La., assistant professor at Louisiana State University and has taught graduate courses at Clark-Atlanta University as an adjunct professor.

Benson also currently serves as the principal investigator for the Collaboration and Resources for Encouraging and Supporting Transformations in Education (CREST-Ed), a collection of projects funded by a $7.5 million Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education designed to prepare teachers for the demands of teaching high-need subjects in high-need schools. Previously, she served as the principal investigator for the Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality (NET-Q), another 13.5 million dollar TQP grant. She also works to sustain the CEHD’s professional development school network, facilitates international outreach and partnerships and works closely with the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence.

  • Dr. Gladys Yarbrough, CREST-Ed Project Director

Gladys YarbroughGladys Yarbrough is the Collaboration and Resources for Encouraging and Supporting Transformations in Education (CREST-Ed) project director in the Middle and Secondary Education (MSE) Department at Georgia State University. Her research focuses on teacher beliefs and online learning and developing effective community partnerships. Yarbrough teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy, specifically, reading and children’s literature. She has been active in community service in her neighborhood and at Georgia State University. She currently serves as a member of the board of directors at The Study Hall, Inc. and is the faculty advisor of Omicron Gamma Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society for the College of Education, Georgia State University. She is also the co-founder of Ubiquity, an online journal of literature, literacy, and the arts, and serves on the executive committee of the International Women’s Think Tank in Georgia. Yarbrough is married to Dean Yarbrough, has two daughters, Danielle and DeAnna, and a dog named Babygirl.

Design Team

Susan OgletreeSusan L. Ogletree is currently the founding director of the Center for Evaluation and Research Services in the College of Education at Georgia State University. She is passionate about improving school services in urban high-need low income schools though the evaluation of in and out of school programs. Ogletree serves as co-project investigator for the Collaboration and Resources for Encouraging and Supporting Transformations in Education (CREST-Ed) grant which is designed to increase the number of teachers committed to high-need schools in urban and rural settings using the Professional Development School (PDS) Model. Her primary research interest includes the PDS Model implementation both nationally and internationally, and the impact of the model on academic achievement. Prior to entering higher education, Ogletree worked as a school principal for over 20 years.

Bill CurletteWilliam L. Curlette is a co-principal investigator on the CREST-Ed grant for research and evaluation activities. Curlette is chairperson and professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies where he teaches courses in research methodology. He has worked previously on grants and contracts for over thirty-five years with the federal government, foundations, and school systems. Currently, he is directing the newly approved Certificate in Program Evaluation by the University System of Georgia. He is a diplomate in Adlerian Psychology and co-editor of The Journal of Individual Psychology.

DaShaunda PattersonDaShaunda Patterson is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Special Education and Communication Disorders at Georgia State University. Patterson has also served as the project director and is the co-principal investigator for a USDOE Teacher Quality Partnership. In her roles at GSU, Patterson enjoys teaching, coaching teachers and mentors in the field, co-teaching coursework with colleagues, and collaborating with leaders in the central offices of six metro-Atlanta school systems. Her areas of research and inquiry include preparation and retention of highly qualified special educators, academic strategies for students with behavior disorders, and positive academic and behavior interventions and supports.

FeinbergJoseph R. Feinberg serves as an associate professor in the Department of Middle and Secondary Education at Georgia State University. As a result of several years of Professional Development Schools (PDS) site work, Feinberg was lead author for two reflective research chapters for a PDS book (Clinical Teacher Education: Reflections from an Urban Professional Development School Network, 2011). In addition, he is a co-principal investigator for NET-Q and now CREST-Ed grants. Feinberg also actively researches and publishes scholarship on teacher education, citizenship education, simulation games, and service learning.

Connie ParrishConnie Zimmerman Parrish is a former elementary and middle grades school teacher, Foxfire Teacher Outreach network coordinator, and university trainer for school literacy coaches. As a coordinator for Cross Career Learning Communities at GSU and a national facilitator for the School Reform Initiative, she supports teachers and schools in developing professional learning communities guided by principles of critical friendship.

  • Dr. Susan Taylor
  • Dr. Regina Speights

Regina SpeightsRegina Speights began her career at Georgia State University, College of Education & Human Development in 2004. She currently holds the position of associate director of sponsored funded programs for two 14 million dollar projects including NET-Q and CREST-Ed. As a design team member, Speights serves to ensure fiscal responsibilities are adhered-to with internal and external partnerships. She taught undergraduate and graduate business courses while living in Virginia. She works with GSU partners, like “The Study Hall” to inform students on STEM education and careers. As a design team member, she has facilitated focus groups on professional development training and served as moderator for conference events. She is a native of Los Angeles, California and currently resides in Stone Mountain, Georgia with her spouse, Jeffrey. She has three children and six grandchildren. She holds an undergraduate degree in Business and Management, MBA, and doctorate in Educational Leadership, Ed.D.

Other CREST-Ed faculty are:

District Coordinators

  • Dr. Ann Ferrell

ann-ferrellAnn Ferrell is the CREST-Ed district coordinator for Fulton County. Originally from North Carolina, Ferrell moved to Atlanta in 1979 and served as teacher, curriculum consultant, assistant principal and principal during the 32 year tenure with Fulton County Schools. In 2003, she was asked to open Autrey Mill Middle School as a principal, where she served until her retirement in 2011. Her undergraduate degree in reading education is from Appalachian State University; her master’s degree is from Emory University; and she proudly holds a specialist and doctorate in educational administration from Georgia State University. Ferrell was Fulton County’s district coordinator for the Net-Q grant from 2012 until 2015, and is excited to continue serving both Fulton and Georgia State University with CREST-Ed. In addition, she works as an instructional leadership coach for principals and with school leadership teams to help schools thrive as professional learning communities. Ferrell enjoys time with her family and her two dogs, Ruby and Abby.

  • Terry Magaro

Terry MagaroTerry (Theresea ) Ligon Magaro, an Atlanta native, is a life-long learner and passionate about teaching others of all ages. As a result of her father’s military career, Magaro lived in numerous locations and attended school from Oklahoma to Germany. She earned her B.A. at Auburn University and a masters in Instruction and Curriculum and leadership certification from West Georgia College.

Her professional path began with 21 years of teaching broad field social studies at Forest Park High School in Clayton County, Georgia. From the classroom, she moved to the front office as the instructional lead teacher (ILT) in which she supervised one hundred teachers in all secondary content areas. She then became an area instructional specialist, which consisted of working with the principals and ILTs in nineteen schools from grades pre-K through high school (including both alternative and night school). Magaro has also worked at Clayton State College in the middle grades program and Mercer University, where she supervised undergraduate and master’s degree teaching candidates. Magaro presently works with Georgia State University on the NET-Q program and supervises in the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education.

Magaro is a widow with two grown sons; both of whom live in the Atlanta area. She has one grandson, Joseph, who is three and a half years old. She also has two dogs and a cat, all of them rescue pets with their own story.

  • Mina Veazie, District Coordinator, DeKalb

Mina VeazieMina Veazie, is the CREST-Ed project coordinator for DeKalb County Public Schools and served as the NET-Q sixth year extension project director. Veazie earned her M.Ed. in Educational Sociology at Wayne State University and a B.A. in Sociology at Xavier University of Louisiana. Over a twenty-year career span she has served non-profit organizations, public and independent schools in which she helped to enhance services to students, parents and instructional leaders to increase student performance. She has designed and led programs to develop organizational, professional accountability and capacity. She is widely recognized for her expertise in building partnerships, increasing diversity and engaging the broader community.

  • Dr. Qualyn McIntyre

Qualyn McIntyreDr. Qualyn McIntyre currently serves as teacher development program manager with Atlanta Public Schools and is responsible for the development and oversight of teacher preparation and teacher leadership initiatives. She has just completed her sixteenth year in education. McIntyre received her B.S. degree in elementary education from Alabama A&M University, an M.Ed. from Cambridge University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University. She has a strong passion for students and believes that our children are our greatest resource and feels that they have the best learning opportunities and experiences. Moreover, McIntyre values the field of education and the educators that lead in the field. She believes that in order to ensure quality learning experiences for students, we must ensure that our teachers and leaders are effective and supported. She is a passionate educator committed to the preparation and development of effective teachers and leaders. Overall, McIntyre is driven to inspire, in teachers and leaders, a commitment to lifelong learning and a desire to continue to grow personally and professionally.