Tampa Staff

Sheryl Turner, M.Ed., Director

Sheryl has extensive experience in providing consultative assistance to educational agencies in their planning, implementation, and evaluation of literacy and school readiness initiatives. She serves as a high-quality resource in identifying evidence-based tools and resources, developing literacy products, and collaborating on professional development to build capacity and sustainability at the state, district, and school levels. Sheryl currently manages the School Readiness Partnership for the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast. She also works with the Southeast Comprehensive Center, providing technical assistance to states in the areas of literacy, school improvement, school readiness, and sustainability of initiatives.

Sheryl is an avid baseball fan, with a personal goal of visiting all the Major League baseball stadiums, as well as the many spring training camps throughout the Grapefruit League.

Diana Sharp, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate

Diana has more than 25 years of experience in national educational research projects aimed at producing usable knowledge for a wide range of stakeholders, through partnerships among academics, classroom practitioners, district leaders, state leaders, and businesses. A cognitive scientist by training, she specializes in research on literacy, K-12 virtual education, and technology supports for learning. She also works with community groups to apply cognitive research to help families use museum, zoo, and library visits to increase their children’s language and literacy skills.

Diana loves exploring Florida’s natural areas with her husband and children, especially while kayaking. She is a huge fan of leisure reading, from travel adventures, to children’s literature, to nonfiction, magical realism, and female detective novels.

Archie Hill, Ph.D., Research Associate

Archie provides professional development and technical assistance in the areas of school improvement, standards and assessments, and effective family and community engagement with a focus on improving literacy through partnerships in rural and disadvantaged communities. He is the manager of the Improving Schools in Alabama Research Alliance at the REL Southeast, and he is a staff member on the Southeast Comprehensive Center, providing expertise and technical assistance in the areas of educational equity and college and career readiness.

When not at work, Archie enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, making sure they arrive to various activities on time. He enjoys living a healthy life-style through weight training and long runs and serving the community through volunteer activities with his alumni association and Boy Scouts of America.

Julie Christman, M.Ed., Research Associate

Julie has a passion for empowering parents and teachers to use best practices in literacy. She brings more than 25 years of teaching, training, and product development experience, having served as a regional coordinator for a statewide literacy initiative, providing technical assistance to build capacity in Florida’s public schools. She believes that effectively bridging the gap between scientific research and practice begins with relationships. Her primary areas of expertise include translating research into multimedia tools for families and educators, curating evidence-based resources, and working with state departments to improve literacy outcomes in early childhood education.

Julie loves the outdoors, especially the coastal waters. She volunteers at Tampa Bay Watch and serves on the Board of Directors for S.O.S. Sailing Adventures. She also plays tennis and is a former city commissioner.

Michael McLaughlin, M.A., Research Associate

Mike McLaughlin has more than 25 years of experience in research and policy development at the state level. He served as senior policy advisor to two statewide elected officials and won national awards as the long-time editor of a leading public policy journal. Mike has extensive experience in survey construction and execution as well as in qualitative research and communications generally. Mike has a passion for public education, having written or co-authored numerous articles on education and economic development policy. He served for five years as a member of the North Carolina State Board of Education’s Charter School Advisory Board and has held numerous other state-level appointments.

In his leisure time, Mike enjoys the literary arts, distance running, reading, and travel − particularly exploring the nooks and crannies of North Carolina, his lifelong home. He is married and has two adult children.

Joshua Melton, Ph.D., Research Associate

Josh is a highly trained, applied quantitative methodologist, receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. He has worked on projects for a variety of educational constituents including local, state and national education agencies, a national testing company, national conferences, a teacher preparation program, and for administrators, teachers and students. At RMC, Josh co-manages the Mississippi Alliance for the Southeast Regional Education Laboratory. Also, he provides support for the Southeast Comprehensive Center and Native Youth Community Project (NYCP). Though Josh enjoys trying to solve all educational problems, he especially enjoys problems related to teacher/school performance, school choice, and growth mixture modeling. Earlier in his career, Josh worked as a secondary teacher of mathematics and science and also served as a high school principal for 5 years.

Josh has coached baseball from tee ball to high school varsity over the last 13 years. Last year, he coached the Willamette (OR) Valley All Stars 9U team to a Southern Oregon championship and third place finish at the Northwest Regional Championship. Outside coaching, Josh enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.

Clarissa Hernandez, A.A., Office Manager

Clarissa uses her skills to support RMC Research projects, such as assisting in document and material production, graphic design, and editing. Clarissa maintains the office’s financial accounts and records. She collaborates with IT to troubleshoot technology issues and is the office’s human resources liaison. Clarissa uses her past experiences in customer service, management, and as a bilingual health insurance representative to support RMC Tampa work. Clarissa is certified in Red Cross First Aid and CPR.

Clarissa is an avid reader and a lifelong learner. She is looking forward to continuing her education in Human Resources and Labor Law, when she is not working on her autobiography or officiating weddings as a Florida Notary.

Trudy Hensley, Ed.D., Vice President Emeritus

For the past 30 years, Trudy has used her expertise in leadership, literacy, and evaluation to work with state departments of education, school districts, and organizations to improve education for all students. She is the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator for a number of research and evaluation projects and is the manager of the Improving Schools in Mississippi Research Alliance for the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast. The alliance is comprised of school districts and universities located in the Delta region.

Trudy is an avid tennis player and enjoys working in her yard. She is active in her church as an usher and Bible study facilitator.

Elizabeth Bright, Ed.D., Consultant

For over 25 years, Elizabeth has been conducting educational program evaluation and research and providing technical assistance at the district, state, and regional levels. She currently serves as the RMC principal investigator for two federally-funded grants – Professional Development for Arts Educators and the Nevada Native Youth Community Project. She is a “triple Gator graduate,” having received her Ed.D. in Educational Research and Evaluation, her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, and her B.A. from the University of Florida.

Elizabeth enjoys traveling, especially to Germany, as well as cooking and spending time with her family.

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