Goodling Institute Staff
Barbara Van Horn, Co-Director
Prior to joining the Institute, Barbara spent 12 years teaching high school English and remedial reading, developmental reading, adult basic education (ABE), and GED© preparation in various settings. She also developed and ran a library-based volunteer literacy program. With the Institute since 1986, Barbara's Institute projects and consulting have focused on adult learning and literacy in family and work contexts. In these areas, she has experience in designing and evaluating programs, curricula, and instructional materials for adults. She has served as Co-Director for the Goodling Institute and Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy since 2003.
Barbara Van Horn
Bachelor of Arts, English (1970)
Master of Education, Reading Education (1973)
Dr. Esther S. Prins, Co-Director
Esther provides leadership and research in adult and family literacy. Her research examines the ways in which social class, culture, race/ethnicity, and gender influence how learners participate in, and benefit from, adult education. Her other research interests include gender and adult education, civic engagement, and participatory approaches to education, community development, and research. Esther previously coordinated an adult education program and taught ESL classes to Latino/a immigrants in Chicago. She has conducted research and worked in rural and urban educational and community settings in the U.S., Belize, El Salvador, and Ghana. She also teaches the following graduate courses: Family Literacy; Language, Literacy, Identity, and Culture in Global Contexts; and Politics, Language and Pedagogy: Applying Paulo Freire Today.
Dr. Esther S. Prins
Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, Summa Cum Laude (1994)
Master of Science, Adult Education (1999)
Ph.D., Adult Education (2003)
Dr. Elisabeth L. Grinder, Early Childhood Specialist
Elisabeth has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from The Pennsylvania State University. She joined the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy and the Goodling Institute in 2002, but has been working with family literacy programs since 1997. Dr. Grinder's work with family literacy programs included providing support in the areas of early childhood assessment and evaluations; conducting assessment trainings; development of training materials; development of family literacy standards; and development of self-assessment and monitoring tools for the early childhood, parenting education, and parent-child interactive literacy components of family literacy programs. Her current work involves research on parent leadership in literacy programs and updating the Goodlng Institute website.
Dr. Elisabeth L. Grinder
Bachelor of Arts, Psychology (1981)
Master of Science, Child Psychology (1989)
Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction (Early Childhood Education) (1994)
Dr. Sheila M. Sherow, Research Associate
Sheila has a doctorate in adult education from Penn State with an emphasis on distance learning. She has worked at the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy since 1987 and served as the statewide coordinator of the PA Literacy Corps for more than 20 years and as an Even Start Local Evaluator for 14 years. Over the past six years, she has taught three of the Goodling Institute's Family Literacy Certificate's courses. In addition to her work in family literacy, she has developed, implemented and evaluated a variety of adult literacy programs, and has provided professional support to PA's Adult Basic and Literacy Education Interagency Coordinating Council since 1997. She currently directs two of Pennsylvania's Adult Education Professional Development System projects.
Dr. Sheila M. Sherow
Bachelor of Arts, Fine Arts (1973)
Master of Education, Education (1986)
D.Ed., Adult Education (1989)
Dr. Blaire Willson Toso, Research Associate
Blaire conducts research on a variety of topics, such as parent engagement and leadership and the benefits and outcomes of literacy for adults. She is also involved in professional development projects that focus on career pathways for adult basic education students, teaching reading to adults, and English as a second language (ESL). Her work continues to build on her studies and her past experiences as an ESL teacher, curriculum designer, and ESL and bilingual methods instructor. She has lived and worked extensively outside of the U.S. and brings this perspective to her work. She continues to present and publish on a variety of topics pertaining to adult education, family literacy, and English language acquisition. Her particular interests within these arenas are student leadership, immigrant experiences with education, mothering and literacy, and agency.
Dr. Blaire Willson Toso
Bachelor of Arts, Spanish Literature (1987)
Master of Arts, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (1989)
Ph.D., Adult Education, (2010)
Drucie Weirauch, Family Literacy Specialist
Drucie Weirauch has a B.A. in English with a teaching certificate and an M.Ed. in Adult Education from Penn State. She taught language arts in public schools for 7 years and was a museum educator/coordinator for literature and music at The Carnegie in Pittsburgh for five years. In the five years prior to coming to Penn State, she was on the faculty in the College of Education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, directing two programs to recruit and train teachers to work in urban schools. Her current work involves improving data quality and use, professional development, and practitioner action research. She teaches the on-line course, "Introduction to Family Literacy," for Penn State's World Campus. Her research interests include social value of adult learning, self-efficacy, and action research.
Bachelor of Arts, English (1972)
Master of Education, Adult Education (1994)