Meet the Staff
Beverly Hand works with the Hemmeter Lab Project to support the team in its day to day activities. Beverly has worked for decades in the University on projects that support children, families, students and educators.
Kiersten Kinder supports work across multiple Hemmeter Projects and coordinates the research lab. Her main role is to support collaboration with Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) and the research study associated with the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant. Dr. Kinder coordinates coaching support, data collection, and handles overall grant management. Before moving to Nashville, Kiersten worked for ten years in the Chicagoland area as a teacher in inclusive early childhood special education and state funded PreK classrooms. Since leaving the classroom, Kiersten has had several roles supporting preschool children and their teachers, including coach, lab school director, and multi-classroom leader in an MNPS Early Learning Center. She is passionate about finding innovative, evidence-based ways to support teachers as they implement the Pyramid Model. She has worked on developing and refining Practice-Based Coaching and enjoys supporting coaches in the field.
- B.A. in Early Childhood Education from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- Ph.D. in Special Education from Vanderbilt University
Kymberly Horth is an education consultant across grants in the Hemmeter lab. On the Education, Innovation, and Research grant in partnership with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Kymberly works as the kindergarten specialist and as an external coach. On the IES-funded Program-Wide Supports for Pyramid Model Implementation grant, she is an external coach and the IV data manager. She provides training and coaching support, works on the adaptation of the Pyramid Model to the kindergarten context, and supports IV data processing. She previously served as a coach on the Embedded Instruction for Early Learning project. Kymberly has experience as a teacher in early childhood, kindergarten, and K-4 English learners settings. She also spent two years training, coaching, and supervising college students serving as AmeriCorps members in preschool classrooms.
- B.A. in Child Development, Tufts University
- M.Ed. in Teaching English Language Learners, Lipscomb University
Tara works primarily as a coach on the Teaching Pyramid Infant-Toddler Observation Scale (TPITOS) project supporting infant-toddler teachers in implementing Pyramid Model practices in their classrooms. Additionally, she collects and manages data on the TPITOS project as well as across multiple other projects. Tara began her career at Vanderbilt University as an early interventionist providing a play-based social communication intervention to young children with Down syndrome. In this role, she worked with each child to develop play skills and increase vocabulary. She also trained parents to use the same data-based strategies with their children at home and in common daily routines. Tara has numerous years of experience working with children of all ages in a variety of settings and with a range of abilities, but feels most passionately about serving children and their families from birth to five years old. Tara believes in a strength-based approach in all intervention models and that building and maintaining relationships is fundamental in creating overall positive outcomes for children.
- B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Health Psychology from Wayne State University
- MSW with a concentration in Children & Families and a specialization in Military Families from Baylor University
Sarah Basler is an education consultant across projects in the Hemmeter lab. On the Education Innovation, and Research grant in partnership with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Sarah works as an external coach and the IV data manager. She provides coaching support and supports IV data processing. Sarah also supports the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (NCECDTL) as a facilitator of the Practice-Based Coaching community on MyPeers and provides training for the Coaching Corner Webinar Series. She previously served as a coach and IV data manager on the Embedded Instruction for Early Learning project. Prior to joining Hemmeter lab, Sarah was an Assistant Director of a university childcare program, a curriculum coordinator, and an early childhood teacher.
- B. S. in Elementary Education from Tennessee Technological University
- M. A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Tennessee Technological University
Ashley Nemec supports work with the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI), the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning (NCEDTL), and the Metro Nashville Public Schools grant. Ashley’s role on these projects includes training and technical assistance to state implementation teams and professionals working in Part C, and data collection. Ashley has worked in the field of special education for nine years with children of various ages and abilities, but is most passionate working with children birth to five years. Ashley began her career training as an assistant to middle school children with autism using applied behavioral analysis (ABA), worked for three years as a self-contained PreK-2 teacher in Ridgefield Public Schools in New Jersey, and worked for four years as an early intervention teacher in New Jersey and in Tennessee. Throughout her career in special education, Ashley has been committed to using relationship-based approaches and data-based practices to provide positive outcomes for young children with disabilities in relation to challenging behavior, social emotional learning, and supporting young children with disabilities in inclusive settings.
- B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Gettysburg College
- M.A. in SpecialEducation and Elementary Education from Montclair State University
Beth Vorhaus is an education consultant for Vanderbilt University supporting the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations(NCPMI)and National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning(NCECDTL) by providing training and technical assistance on social emotional development and learning.Prior to joining the Vanderbilt team, she was an education consultant for the Tennessee Department of Education working on the Preschool Development Expansion Grant and was a co-facilitator for the state Team TN Pyramid Model (CSEFEL) Partnership supporting social emotional learning from birth to 8 across TN. She has spent over 15 years working in the educational research field, working with grants involving social emotional development, self-regulation, school readiness, pre-K and family support. Her experience includes training teachers in curriculum and social emotional development, consulting teachers in classroom management and challenging behavior, working with community tutors, leading peer supported friendship groups, developing observation and assessment measures for curriculum and classroom evaluations. Beth spent three years providing technical assistance and training teachers, coaches and administrators on the Pyramid Model across Tennessee. She started her career in education as a transition 1st grade and kindergarten teacher in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.
- B.S. in Early Childhood Education from George Peabody College, Vanderbilt University
- M.Ed. in Human Development Psychology from Harvard University Graduate School of Education
Ragan works with the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and
Learning (NCEDTL). Ragan’s role on this project includes developing materials and providing
training and technical assistance related to Practice-Based Coaching. Ragan began her career
teaching general and special education classes in a public prek – fifth grade school in Arlington,
Virginia. After teaching a preschool special education class for two years, Ragan returned to
Vanderbilt to obtain her PhD in special education with an early childhood focus. Currently, she
is an Assistant Professor and coordinator of the early childhood special education program at the
University of Alabama in the Special Education and Multiple Abilities department. Her research
foci are language and literacy interventions for young children at risk and professional
development to support teachers to implement evidence-based practices.
- B.S. in Special Education and Elementary Education from Vanderbilt University
- M.Ed. in Reading Education from the University of Virginia
- Ph.D. in Special Education from Vanderbilt University