Dr. Ruth Eren
Ruth Eren, Ed.D., Center Director, also serves as Professor of Special Education at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). In addition to her Center responsibilities, she is currently the area head for the MS program in teacher preparation for teaching children with ASD at SCSU. Dr. Eren is a member of the CT State Task Force that wrote the CT Guidelines for Educating Children and Youth with Autism in CT Public Schools and was an active participant in the Special Act No. 08-5 legislative initiative. She has consulted with public school districts in CT for over fifteen years focusing on individual and system program development and curriculum design for children with ASD.
Barbara Cook, MS, CCC-SLP, Coordinator of Training, contributes experience in the development and implementation of workshops, presentations, and trainings for school-based personnel working with individuals with ASD. Her training focus has been in the areas of speech and language, social communication, and social competency. Ms. Cook has worked as a private consultant with The Eden Family of Services Outreach-Connecticut Division and is pursuing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Southern Connecticut State University.
Dr. Mark Groskreutz
Mark Groskreutz, Ph.D., recently joined SCSU as an Assistant Professor. He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) who has worked with individuals with ASDs in public and private school settings, their homes, and vocational and community settings. His experience has focused primarily on designing individualized social and educational curricula, interventions for challenging behavior, classroom specific and district wide professional development programs, and research studies based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
Dr. Karen Meers
Karen Meers, Ph.D., BCBA, brings experience in transition planning. She has assisted individuals with ASD in achieving independence through the development of self-determination, goal setting, and both educational and vocational skills. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Ph.D. in Adult and Vocational Education. In addition to her work with individuals with disabilities, Dr. Meers spent several years as a corporate trainer, training/development consultant, and instructor for the business and higher education fields.
Dr. Deborah Newton
Deborah Newton, Ed.D., a former professor of Special Education is currently serving as the Interim Dean of the School of Education at Southern CT State University. Dr. Newton, who has provided hundreds of consults to districts and schools in the areas of assistive and instructional technologies, provides the Center with ongoing expertise in improving outcomes for children with ASD through the use of technological tools and other assistive or adaptive devices.
Deborah Puglia, M.S., Sixth Year Professional Certificate, brings to the center 36 years of experience as a special education teacher and administrator. Throughout her career, Ms. Puglia has been active in the State Department of Education's BEST and TEAM initiatives a s a mentor trainer, assessor, portfolio scorer and module scorer. Ms. Puglia has led many professional development trainings for both teachers and paraprofessionals. Her special area of interest is the transition of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Ms. Puglia serves as a trainer in the Center's professional development activities.
Dr. Michael Ben-Avie
Michael Ben-Avie, Ph.D., the Senior Research Analyst in SCSU's Office of Assessment and Planning, provides research technical support. His expertise is in national and large-scale assessments that encompass grant writing, instrument development to measure educational outcomes, design of assessment systems, development and maintenance of complex databases, performance of statistical procedures, and data interpretation workshops. Previously he served as a teacher of youth with ASD.
In Memory of James (Jim) Michael Granfield
February 16, 1951-July 28, 2010
Dr. James Granfield, former Co-Director of the Center, passed away in July of 2010. As interim Dean of the Southern Connecticut State University School of Education, Jim had the vision and the courage to support the concept of a Center of Excellence that would serve individuals with autism spectrum disorders. An active member of the 08-5 study group, Jim contributed tremendous effort, knowledge and skill in acquiring and evaluating the information needed to move ahead with initiatives to support the ASD population in Connecticut. He enthusiastically embraced the concept of a Center of Excellence; in fact, Jim would accept nothing short of "excellence" here at Southern Once the Center concept was developed into a specific framework with goals and objectives, Jim worked tirelessly with the team to acquire federal funding to support the Center's first year initiatives. Jim's presence and influence will remain with the Center for many years to come.