Center Team

Kari Sassu

Dr. Kari Sassu
Interim Dean, College of Education
Director, Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning

NU 101 B
(203) 392-5912

Kari Sassu, Ph.D., NCSP, is the Founding Director of the Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning (CTL), and a Professor in the Counseling and School Psychology department at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). Previously, she served as Director of Strategic Initiatives for SCSU’s Center of Excellence on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), and has sustained a strong partnership between the two centers.

Prior to joining the faculty of SCSU in January of 2010, Dr. Sassu was employed by the Center for Behavioral Education and Research at the University of Connecticut, where she served as the Implementation Coordinator of System-Wide Positive Behavioral Supports across multiple urban school districts throughout the state of Connecticut. Dr. Sassu’s professional history also includes service as a public school psychology practitioner and work within a private practice of pediatric neuropsychologists.

Outside of her professional work, Dr. Sassu is committed to service within the larger community. She is a member of her local Board of Education and also serves on multiple state-level boards, including the Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Council for the Department of Social Services.

Dr. Sassu earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Psychological Services, both from the University of Pennsylvania. She holds both a Master’s degree and Sixth Year Professional Diploma in School Psychology from the University of Connecticut, a Sixth Year Professional Diploma in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University, and a doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut.  She is a licensed psychologist, a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP), and holds certifications as both a school psychologist and a school administrator in the state of Connecticut.

Olcay Yavuz

Dr. Olcay Yavuz
Associate Professor / Internship Coordinator
Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
WT 125-9
(203) 392-5442

Dr. Olcay Yavuz serves as Internship Coordinator and Associate Professor in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department where he teaches Leadership Development and Advanced Research Methods courses as well as supervises dissertation defenses. Currently, Dr. Yavuz also serves as the SCSU Early College Faculty Coordinator. 

Dr. Yavuz earned his doctorate in Teacher Leadership from Rutgers State University. He also received his Master of School Counseling from the New York Institute of Technology and obtained his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Science Education.

Prior to coming to SCSU, Dr. Yavuz spent twelve years of his professional career as an educational leader, supervisor, school counselor, and teacher in K-12 public schools. He holds a K-12 Supervisor Certificate, a Director of K-12 School Counseling Services Certificate, as well as K-12 Standard Mathematics Teaching and Professional School Counseling Certifications. 

As the founding editor of the Journal of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (JELPS), Dr. Yavuz also designed and launched a new scholarly journal which is indexed in Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) that is used by over 12 million researchers around the world each year.

Izzy Satmary
Graduate Assistant
NU 101
(203) 392-6920

We are thrilled to welcome Izzy Satmary as our 2023-24 Graduate Assistant. She completed her undergrad at SCSU with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology, and is currently working on her Master’s degree in School Counseling at SCSU. 

During undergrad, Izzy worked on campus as part of the Programs Council. This opportunity helped her make many connections and brought new event ideas to the campus for students to enjoy. While at the Council, she served as the Senior Daytime programmer and the Programs Council Manager.  

Izzy volunteered her time from Spring 2020 through Spring 2023 in her sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha (ASA) at SCSU. ASA raised money for Camp Rising Sun, Special Olympics, Girls on the Run, and the ASA Foundation. She also served as the Vice President of Membership Education and the Social Chairman. 

Outside of work and school, Izzy loves to meet new people and go on new adventures. She spends most of her time with her friends and family or traveling to new places. She loves to read as well as watch horror movies in her free time!