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Primrose Schools® Expands Early Learning Council with Board Members

ATLANTA (September 7, 2021) – Primrose Schools, a national premier early education and care provider, has announced the addition of five experts to the Primrose Schools Early Learning Council: Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter of Vanderbilt University, Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Dr. Gloria Julius, former Chief Academic Officer of Primrose Schools, Dr. Chih-Ing Lim of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Rebecca Parlakian of ZERO TO THREE.

As part of the Primrose Schools Early Learning Council, Dr. Hemmeter, Dr. Iruka, Dr. Julius, Dr. Lim and Ms. Parlakian will join seven education and child development experts from across the country in providing insight for continuous improvement for Primrose Schools exclusive Balanced Learning® approach, ensuring it is aligned with leading early education philosophies and the latest child development research.

“The expanded expertise these five new council members bring to the Early Learning Council is invaluable in informing Primrose Schools Balanced Learning® curriculum,” said Dr. Lauren Starnes, Vice President of Early Childhood Education Research and Development for Primrose Schools. “Joining seasoned council members, these early learning experts will serve as informed advisors on issues that impact children, families, staff and school communities, each new council member will help Primrose continue to provide children and families with an unparalleled early learning experience.”


About Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter

Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter is a Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Her research is focused on effective instruction, supporting social emotional development and addressing challenging behavior, and coaching teachers.

She has directed numerous projects funded by the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. Through her work on the National Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning and IES-funded research projects, she was involved in the development of the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Young Children and the Practice Based Coaching Model. Additionally, she is a co-author on the Connect4Learning Early Childhood Curriculum and the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool.

Dr. Hemmeter will counsel Primrose Schools on strengthening integrated social-emotional development in its Balanced Learning curriculum and advise on addressing challenging behavior in young children.


About Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka

Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka is a Research Professor of Public Policy, a Fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG), and the Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Iruka is engaged in projects and initiatives focused on how evidence-informed policies, systems, and practices in early education can support the optimal development and experiences of racially minoritized children and those from low-wealth households and communities.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Temple University, a master’s degree in psychology from Boston University, and doctoral degree in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami, Florida.

Dr. Iruka will advise Primrose Schools and the Primrose Schools Children’s Foundation on the latest early childhood research, programming and policies to help ensure healthy development and excellence for young learners from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.


About Dr. Gloria Julius

Dr. Gloria Julius is a Strategic Consultant advising on research and development of early childhood curriculum and instructional programming. Prior to consulting, Dr. Julius served as Chief Academic Officer for Primrose Schools, overseeing the research, development, evaluation, and continuous improvement of the Primrose Balanced Learning® curriculum. Prior to joining Primrose, Dr. Julius served as the Chief Learning Officer for Calvert Education Services, a 115-year-old home schooling and virtual learning provider.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in music from Elizabethtown College, a master’s degree in education with a concentration in curriculum development from Towson University, and a doctoral degree in education policy, planning and administration from the University of Maryland College Park.

Dr. Julius will advise on the importance of music in early learning and child development, specifically providing counsel on Primrose Schools exclusive Harmony & Heart(R) music, literacy and character development program.


About Dr. Chih-Ing Lim

Dr. Chih-Ing Lim is a Senior Technical Assistance Specialist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the co-director of the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center, which works to build the knowledge on early STEM learning for children, especially those with disabilities. She also leads Supporting Change and Reform in Preservice Teaching in North Carolina, where she works with community college faculty to better prepare early childhood professionals to serve children with disabilities and those who are from culturally and ethnically diverse families.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of York in England, a post-graduate diploma in music and math education from Nanyang Technological University-National Institute of Education in Singapore, and master’s and doctoral degrees in early childhood, families, and literacy education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Lim will counsel Primrose Schools on how to further integrate STEM innovations into its Balanced Learning curriculum and advise on providing more equitable access to STEM learning for children from culturally diverse backgrounds and children with disabilities.


About Rebecca Parlakian

Rebecca Parlakian serves as Senior Director of Programs at ZERO TO THREE where she directs a portfolio of projects related to child development, parenting, early learning, social-emotional skills, and high-quality teaching/caregiving. In her role, she has co-authored five parenting and professional curricula and developed resources for teachers, home visitors, and parents in various media formats. Ms. Parlakian’s written work has appeared in a variety of publications and she has been quoted by media outlets, including the New York Times and the Washington Post.

She holds a master’s degree in infant and toddler special education from George Washington University where she currently teaches as an adjunct professor in their Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Ms. Parlakian will advise Primrose Schools on the latest research regarding early childhood development and emotional nourishment, emphasizing the utilization of Primrose Schools exclusive Balanced Learning curriculum to advance public-private partnerships and maximize parental engagement.


Primrose Early Learning Council Members

Following today’s announcement, the Primrose Early Learning Council members are:

Dr. Carol Donovan, University of Alabama

Dr. Chih-Ing Lim, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Dr. Douglas Bell, Kennesaw State University

Dr. Gloria Julius, University of Maryland

Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Dr. Jennifer Sutton McDonel, Radford University

Dr. Kathy Trundle, Utah State University

Dr. Laura Jana, Penn State University

Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter, Vanderbilt University

Dr. Meg Small, Penn State University

Dr. Sandra Linder, Clemson University

Rebecca Parlakian, George Washington University