Lee Kern, professor of special education in Lehigh’s College of Education has been appointed as the new director of the Center for Promoting Research to Practice. She succeeds the late Edward S. Shapiro, professor of School Psychology at Lehigh since 1980 and the center’s director from 2004 until his passing earlier this year.
“Dr. Kern is uniquely qualified to lead the Center into a prominent national position and we are excited to have her on board,” said COE Dean Gary M. Sasso.
Kern will lead the center in its mission to generate knowledge that will truly impact the lives of individuals with, or at risk for, disabilities. The primary objective of the center is to establish partnerships with schools, parents and families, and community service providers to enhance the use of best practices for individuals with, or at risk for, disabilities.
“It is an honor to be appointed as director of the Center for Promoting Research to Practice,” said Kern. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue the important work that Ed Shapiro initiated and also to take the center in new directions. The faculty members affiliated with the center continue to produce significant and innovative research that is making a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of children who are vulnerable, at risk, or have disabilities.
“The center will continue to engage in efforts to assure this extraordinary work reaches many more children, adolescents, families, and teachers. In addition, we will work to help address service gaps in the Lehigh Valley and beyond.”
Kern has worked with students with emotional and behavioral problems for more than 25 years as a classroom teacher, behavior specialist, consultant, and researcher. She has received more than $20 million in grant support to conduct research in emotional and behavioral problems. She has written numerous articles, book chapters, and three books addressing student behavior problems.
As principal investigator for the Center for Adolescent Research in Schools—established with more than $10 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education—Kerm led a large, five-year study conducted by researchers at Lehigh and six other institutions—Ohio University, the University of Missouri, the University of South Carolina, the University of Kansas, the University of Houston (TIMES) and Miami University of Ohio. CARS worked with more than 600 students at 54 high schools. Twelve of the schools were in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley and the surrounding region.
Kern’s research interests include emotional and behavioral disorders, positive behavior support, school-based interventions and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). She received her Ph.D. from the University of South Florida.