Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning

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Leadership Strategies for Supporting Children's Social and Emotional Development and Addressing Challenging Behavior

Barbara J. Smith, Ph.D.

Dr. Barbara J. Smith is Research Professor, School of Education, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center. Her areas of interest include early childhood special education policies and program development, leadership and collaboration, and research utilization. She received her master's degree in early childhood special education and doctorate in special education and public policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She has held early childhood and early childhood special education positions for the past 30 years including: early childhood teacher, Executive Director of the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children; Policy Specialist, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC); and Program Specialist, US Office of Special Education Programs. She has served as a consultant on state and national early childhood policy. She has served as an expert witness in right-to-treatment litigation, prepared and delivered legislative testimony to the Congress as well as state legislatures, and worked with many parent and professional groups in their state policy efforts. She has worked with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and other early childhood leadership organizations to help shape quality-inclusive early childhood environments and the policies and guidelines that support them.

Dr. Smith has authored over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and 15 books and chapters, and has been awarded nearly $6 million in grants and contracts. She is currently Principal Investigator for several federally funded, multi-year grants. In 1988 she was honored with the Division for Early Childhood's (DEC) Award for Service to the Division and the DEC award for Service to the Field. In 2002, DEC honored her again with its Service to the Division Award. She currently serves on several national Boards and Commissions.


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