Leadership Team


Executive Committee

Kathleen Brinegar Kathleen Brinegar, Chair (2022-2024)
University of Vermont

Dr. Kathleen Brinegar is Associate Professor of Education at Northern Vermont University where she serves as program director of Middle and Secondary Education. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses related to equity and cultural responsiveness, disciplinary literacy, curriculum development and assessment, and school organization and pedagogy. She currently serves as co-editor of Middle School Journal and program chair of the American Educational Research Association’s Middle Level Education Special Interest Group. She is committed to a research agenda that promotes equity and cultural responsiveness by honoring the experiences of young adolescents with marginalized identities. Her research has been published in venues such as; Teaching & Teacher Education, Middle Grades Review, Research in Middle Level Education Online, Middle Grades Research Journal, and The Handbook of Research in Middle Level Education series.

Lisa Harrison Lisa Harrison, Program Chair (2022-2024)
Ohio University 

Dr. Lisa Harrison is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Ohio University where she serves as the Middle Childhood Education Program Coordinator.  Dr. Harrison is co-editor of Middle School Journal, and is a member of the Association for Middle Level Education Board of Trustees. She also is the chair of the Professional Preparation Advisory Committee for AMLE. Her research interests are in socio-cultural issues relating to young adolescent development, equity-oriented teacher education, and teaching for social justice. Previous to entering higher education, Dr. Harrison taught middle school mathematics in Brooklyn, NY.

Stacie Pettit Stacie Pettit, Vice Chair (2022-2024)
Augusta University

Dr. Stacie Pettit is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Leading at Augusta University. She serves as the Middle School Program Coordinator and Collegiate Middle Level Association (CMLA) Advisor. Under her leadership, the AU CMLA chapter won the distinction of national host site for 2019-2021. She received the Outstanding Professor of Middle Level Education Award from NAPOMLE at the 2019 AMLE conference. Dr. Pettit received her undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Georgia in Middle School Education and has 18 years of experience teaching middle school (math, language arts, and ESOL) or in higher education (University of Mississippi and AU). Dr. Pettit has taught over 30 different university courses on young adolescent development, active learning, and middle level programs and schools, among others. Her research interests include teaching English Language Learners (ELLs), PDS partnerships, and interdisciplinary initiatives such as Junior Model United Nations. She is an executive board member and AMLE affiliate liaison for the Georgia Association of Middle Level Education (GAMLE).

Miller Nicole C. Miller, Treasurer and Webmaster (2022-2024)
Mississippi State University

Dr. Nicole C. Miller is an Associate Professor of Middle Level Education  at Mississippi State University in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education. She engages in research activities focused on middle level education, middle level teacher preparation, technology integration, and teaching with primary sources.  Dr. Miller teaches the only middle level education course. She is also currently the SIG’s webmaster and regularly attends and presents at AERA and AMLE. Dr. Miller  has reviewed for the Middle School Journal, for the Middle Grades Research Journal, and AERA conference proposals for the SIG. Previously, she worked as a social studies and educational technology teacher at a Los Angeles middle school.

Smith Kristie Smith, Secretary (2022-2024)
Gardner-Webb University, GA

Kristie W. Smith, Ph.D. is a long-time middle grades educator and teacher educator. Kristie has rich experiences in the P-12 classroom, serving a broad range of students and across diverse communities, mostly in the Atlanta metro area. Kristie also has a strong background in the leadership of teacher professional development. In her university work, Kristie has served Mercer University, Atlanta as a middle grades/secondary literacy education adjunct and Minnesota State University, Mankato as an Assistant Professor of Communication Arts and Literature. Kristie’s current academic appointment is as an Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Gardner-Webb University. Additionally, Kristie serves as Literacy Instructional Specialist for Gwinnett County Public Schools of Georgia.

Kristie is an active member of AMLE, AERA, and NCTE. Kristie’s professional passions include creative teaching practices, the scholarship of teaching and learning, literacy education as equity, and 21st century teacher development through culturally responsive, socially just frameworks.

Micki Caskey, Executive Advisor (2022- )
Cheryl Ellerbrock Cheryl Ellerbrock, Immediate Past Chair (2022-2024)
University of South Florida

Dr. Cheryl Ellerbrock is an Associate Professor of Middle Grades and General Secondary Education at the University of South Florida. Dr. Ellebrock has over 30 publications that center on ways to promote responsive secondary school experiences for young adolescent learners. In 2014 she co-edited a book published by Teachers College Press entitled, “Talking Diversity with Teachers and Teacher Educators: Exercises and Critical Conversations Across the Curriculum.” At USF, Dr. Ellerbrock teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in middle level and general secondary education. Dr. Ellerbrock is the principal investigator and program coordinator of the Helios STEM Middle School Residency Program funded by a multi-million dollar grant-that created a residency-based undergraduate program for middle grades preservice teachers. In 2016 she won the Paul S. George Award in Recognition of Leadership and Service for the Advancement of Middle School Level Education in the State of Florida and in 2011 she was the recipient of USF’s Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher of the Year award. focus on middle level education.

SIG Association Council Members

Weiler Headshot Christopher Weiler, Ph.D. (2021-2023)
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Christopher S. Weiler. Ed. D., is a long-time middle grades educator, having begun his education career as a sixth-grade teacher in suburban Philadelphia. He is currently an Associate Professor at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Elementary, Middle Level, Library, and Technologies Education. He engages in research activities focused on middle level education, middle level teacher preparation, science education, and justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Dr. Weiler is an active member of AMLE, on the board of the National Professors of Middle Level Education, and serves as a Council Member for the MLER Sig. He has reviewed for the Middle School Journal, Research in Middle Level Education Online, Current Issues in Middle Level Education, and AERA conference proposals for the SIG.

Katherine Main headshot Katherine Main, Ph.D. (2021-2023)
Griffith University

Katherine Main is an Associate Professor and Program Leader in the School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University, Australia. She serves on state, national, and international committees involved with young adolescents and has advised national and state government education authorities during the development and implementation of the Australian National Curriculum. Katherine has been a lead or co-lead on the planning and delivery of several large-scale state and national professional development programs (both face-to-face and online) aimed at building the capacity of teachers working with young adolescent learners. Her research areas include middle school/junior secondary reform and the need for targeted professional development. Her most recent work is focused on student and teacher wellbeing including the need for the development of social and emotional competencies.

Gayle Andrews, Council Member (2022-2024)
University of Georgia
Amanda Wall, Council Member (2022-2024)
Georgia Southern
Toni M. Williams, Council Member (2022-2024)
University of South Carolina
David C. Virtue, Council Member (2022-2024)
Western Carolina University
Wally Keith Burgess, Graduate Student Representative (2022-2024)
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Previous Leadership Team Members