Our Team

We're professors, doctoral students, research managers, undergraduate and master's research assistants, and coders. We come from several institutions, bringing together multiple forms of expertise in research design, reading theories, managing large-scale research projects, and digital coding.


Dr. Amanda Goodwin, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University

Dr. Goodwin is an expert in the field of morphology. That means she studies how students use units of meaning like root words, suffixes, and prefixes to build word knowledge that then supports literacy endeavors. Dr. Goodwin’s interest in morphology stems from her prior experiences as an elementary and middle school teacher.  When working with students, she noticed that they tended to skip words even when they had the knowledge to figure those words out. Skipping words impacted their comprehension, so she set out to figure out how to give students the tools to figure words out.  Dr. Goodwin has published over 20 articles in research and teacher journals. She hopes this assessment tool makes it so that researchers and teachers can accurately link instruction to student strengths and weaknesses.


Yaacov Petscher, Director of Research, Florida Center for Reading Research

Dan Reynolds - Doctoral Candidate, Vanderbilt (now Assistant Professor at John Carroll University)

Dan Reynolds taught high school English for seven years in Louisiana and Texas and received his PhD at VU in the Language, Literacy, and Culture track. He is interested in supporting students’ access to the challenging vocabulary and morphology that are the backbone of complex texts.  He enjoys working with  in-service teachers as well as developing education coursework to prepare the next generation of teachers.

Tess Lantos - Doctoral Student, Vanderbilt

Tess is currently a second-year PhD student at VU in the Language, Literacy, and Culture track, studying adolescent reading and teacher learning. She is excited to be a part of this project because it offers teachers a chance to better understand what their students can do as well as their struggles with reading and academic language. Prior to starting her work at Vanderbilt, she taught English in the Bay Area, with a special focus on struggling readers.

Sara Jones - Doctoral Student, Vanderbilt

Sara is a Doctoral student in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Vanderbilt University. She is specializing in Language, Literacy, and Culture and is interested in teaching practices that best serve and support students that have historically been marginalized in Literacy classrooms. Prior to her doctoral studies, Sara taught middle school Literacy (4th-6th grades) for 8 years in Washington, D.C.

Sara McFadden - Research Coordinator, Vanderbilt

After teaching English as a Second Language for almost ten years, Sara McFadden moved into healthcare quality improvement research several years ago, and then into education research management. As a former teacher, she enjoys working to better understand how students learn new words and how we can use what we learn about student’s language skills and morphological awareness to better support teachers in their goal to improve students’ literacy. She’s greatly enjoyed working with the wonderful teachers and students in our Nashville middle schools.