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Deborah Sharp Libby
Early Childhood Language and Reading Expert
A leading expert in reading, Dr. Libby graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a Doctorate in Reading, Language Arts and Children's Literature. She has her Masters in Reading, a Reading Specialist Certificate and a Bachelors degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University. While working in higher education for 17 years, Dr. Libby taught elementary education courses at The University of Pittsburgh and both undergraduate and graduate courses in topics such as early childhood and elementary reading, language arts and children's literature at Slippery Rock University. Dr. Libby has worked as an elementary teacher, and as a freelance writer creating teaching guides to accompany reading and science material for elementary classrooms. Currently living outside of Pittsburgh with her husband and three daughters, she works with students in literature groups focusing on comprehension skills and conducts workshops for teachers.
Lise Eliot
Early Brain Development Expert
Dr. Lise Eliot is Associate Professor of Neuroscience at The Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science. A Chicago native, she received her bachelor's degree from Harvard University, Ph.D. from Columbia University, and did post-doctoral research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. In addition to teaching and writing, Dr. Eliot lectures widely about children's brain and cognitive development. She has published over 50 articles and two books: Pink Brain, Blue Brain, which examines the roles of nature and nurture in gender development and What's Going On In There?,which charts babies' brain development from conception onward and its relationship to children's emerging mental abilities. Dr. Eliot and her husband are parents of a daughter and two sons.
Carla C. Johnson
Science and STEM Expert
Dr. Carla Johnson is an internationally renowned scholar in science education and STEM education policy implementation. She is a Professor of Science Education and Associate Dean for Research, Engagement, and Global Affairs at Purdue University. She also serves as Editor of the School Science and Mathematics Journal. Dr. Johnson’s research has focused on educational reform through providing high-quality professional development for teachers of science, or specifically examining how students of various backgrounds and abilities can excel in science with effective instruction. She also conducts research on advancing STEM learning programs nationwide. As a STEM expert, she has authored more than 80 publications including several books, research manuscripts, and a curriculum series. She has received the Outstanding Early Career Scholar (2006), and Excellence in Integration of Science and Mathematics (2012) awards from the School Science and Mathematics Association, as well as the Outstanding Science Teacher Educator (2013) and Impact of Educational Research on Practice Awards from the Association of Science Teacher Education.
Francis (Skip) Fennell
Mathematics Expert
Dr. Francis (Skip) Fennell, is a mathematics educator whose work has been widely published in professional journals and textbooks relating to Pre-K to 8 mathematics education. He is the L. Stanley Bowlsbey professor of education and Graduate and Professional Studies at McDaniel College in Maryland, where he directs the Brookhill Foundation supported Elementary Mathematics Specialists and Teacher Leaders Project. Dr. Fennell has experience as a classroom teacher, principal, and supervisor of instruction and previously served as president of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE), the Research Council for Mathematics Learning (RCML), and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Dr. Fennell’s background in Pre-K to 8 mathematics education has involved key leadership roles with the Mathematical Sciences Education Board, National Science Foundation, and the U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction, as well as a position on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2006-2008). He also served as a writer for the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 2000), the Curriculum Focal Points (NCTM, 2006) and for the Common Core State Standards (CCSSO, 2010). Most recently, Dr. Fennell served as a member of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Commission (2012-2013) and was recently appointed to the inaugural CAEP Board of Directors. He is also currently serving as the mathematics advisor for the PBS television show Peg + CAT. Dr. Fennell has received numerous honors and awards, including Maryland’s Outstanding Mathematics Educator, McDaniel College’s Professor of the Year, the Glenn Gilbert National Leadership Award from the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, the CASE - Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year - Maryland, the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators’ Distinguished Outstanding Teacher Educator, and, more recently, the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award
Susan Bartell
Child Psychology Expert
Dr. Susan Bartell is a nationally recognized child and parenting psychologist, author and speaker who lives and works in the NY metro area. In addition to public speaking, she has a private practice and has been helping parents and children lead healthier, happier lives for over twenty years.

She is the author of eight books: The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask: PreK-2nd Grade; The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask: 3rd-5th Grade; Dr. Susan’s Fit and Fun Family Action Plan; Dr. Susan’s Girls-Only Weight Loss Guide; Dr. Susan’s Kids-Only Weight Loss Guide: The Parent’s Action Plan for Success; Stepliving for Teens; and Mommy or Daddy: Whose Side am I On?, and Your Personal Guide to Angioplasty.

Dr. Bartell also authors a syndicated parenting column, A Teachable Moment, which reaches well over half a million readers in the U.S. and Canada as well as a column for KIWI, a national publication for green parenting and a third column for Long Island Pulse magazine. Dr. Bartell is a recognized media expert who can frequently be found offering advice on all the major networks, as well as on national and local radio stations across the country. She is also frequently quoted in print media including. When she is not helping parents and kids manage issues such as discipline, social stresses, anxiety, learning disabilities and behavioral challenges, she can be found on Long Island laughing a lot with her husband, Lewis and their three awesome kids, Max, Gillian and Mollie.
Meet VTech's Expert Panel
Deborah Sharp Libby
Early Childhood Language and Reading Expert
Lise Eliot
Early Brain Development Expert
Carla C. Johnson
Science and STEM Expert
Francis (Skip) Fennell
Mathematics Expert
Susan Bartell
Child Psychology Expert
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