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IES Grant

Title: University of Washington SMART Center Postdoctoral Research Program
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Bruns, Eric Awardee: University of Washington
Program: Postdoctoral Research Training Program in the Education Sciences      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (09/01/2017 – 08/31/2022) Award Amount: $702,476
Type: Training Award Number: R305B170021

Co-Principal Investigators: Lyon, Aaron; Pullman, Michael; McCauley, Elizabeth; Davis, Carol

Purpose: SMART PREP recruited five education researchers, one of whom resigned for a different postdoctoral position shortly after beginning, two in the first cohort (starting in 2018) and three in the second cohort (starting in 2020). The remaining 4 fellows each received 2 years of training and mentoring. The focus of their training was to prepare them to conduct relevant, high-quality research focused on the social and behavioral contexts for academic learning and the use of mental health strategies in educational practice to improve student outcomes. The goal was to provide these fellows with the expertise necessary to become academic leaders conducting rigorous studies on the development, implementation, and impact of mental health strategies for all students.

Project Activities: As part of their fellowships, each SMART PREP fellow was paired with a senior mentor with whom they worked closely on existing funded development, evaluation, and measurement projects. Mentors also aided the fellows to develop grant-writing, manuscript preparation, analytic, communication and other skills necessary of education researchers. Fellows also (1) participated in coursework relevant to their individualized professional development plan; (2) interacted meaningfully with partners from schools, districts, and state or local education authorities; and (3) were immersed in a broad community of scholars working in multiple academic settings at the UW School MH Assessment, Research, and Training (SMART) Center (, and its network of national colleagues.

Key Outcomes: Upon completion of the project in 2023, all four completed fellows had published widely, presented internationally, and successfully secured academic positions in which they are conducting education research focused on the social and behavioral contexts for academic learning and the use of mental health strategies in educational practice.


Corbin, Catherine (ORCID)
Gaias, Larissa (ORCID)
Hugh, Maria (ORCID)
Zulauf-McCurdy, Courtney (ORCID)

As of the closing of the grant in 2023, Dr. Corbin was an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Florida, Dr. Gaias was an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Dr. Hugh was an assistant professor at Kansas University, and Dr. Zulauf-McCurdy was an assistant professor at the University of Washington.

Products and Publications

ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.

Project Websites:

Additional Online Resources and Information: Below are links to the fellows' professional websites.

Selected Publications by the Fellows:

Ahlers, K., Hugh, M. L., Frederick, L., & Locke, J. (2021). Two sides of the same coin: A qualitative study of multiple stakeholder perspectives on factors associated with implementation of evidence-based practices for children with autism in elementary schools. In International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities (Vol. 61, pp. 99–132). Academic Press.

Alamos, P., Corbin, C. M., Klotz, M., Lowenstein, A. E., Downer, J. T., & Brown, J. L. (2022). Bidirectional associations among teachers' burnout and classroom relational climate across an academic year. Journal of School Psychology, 95, 43–57.

Corbin, C. M., Downer, J. T., Lowenstein, A. E., & Brown, J. L. (2023). Reconsidering teachers' basic psychological needs in relation to psychological functioning across an academic year. Teaching and Teacher Education, 123, 103989.

Corbin, C. M., Hugh, M. L., Ehrhart, M. G., Locke, J., Davis, C., Brown, E. C., ... & Lyon, A. R. (2022). Teacher perceptions of implementation climate related to feasibility of implementing schoolwide positive behavior supports and interventions. School mental health, 14(4), 1057–1069.

Corbin, C. M., Lyon, A. R., Collins, V. K., Ehrhart, M. G., Goosey, R., & Locke, J. (2023). The incremental association of implementation leadership and school personnel burnout beyond transformational leadership. School Psychology. Advanced online publication.

Duong, M. T., Nguyen, L., Gaias, L. M., Benjamin, K. S., Lee, K., Buntain-Ricklefs, J., & Cook, C. R. (2020). Using stakeholder input to guide cultural and contextual adaptations for a universal school-based intervention. The Urban Review, 52, 853–879. doi: 10.1007/s11256-019-00547-w. Full text

Gaias, L. M., Cook, C. R., Nguyen, L., Brewer, S. K., Brown, E. C., Kiche, S., ... & Duong, M. T. (2020). A mixed methods pilot study of an equity-explicit student -teacher relationship intervention for the ninth-grade transition. Journal of School Health, 90(12), 1004–1018. Full text

Gaias, L. M., Duong, M. T., Pullmann, M. D., Brewer, S. K., Smilansky, M., Halbert, M., ... & Jones, J. (2020). Race and ethnicity in educational intervention research: A systematic review and recommendations for sampling, reporting, and analysis. Educational Research Review, 31, 100356.

Gaias, L. M., Gal-Szabo, D. E., Shivers, E. M., & Kiche, S. (2022). From laissez-faire to anti-discrimination: How are race/ethnicity, culture, and bias integrated into multiple domains of practice in early childhood education? Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 36(2), 272–295.

Gaias, L. M., Johnson, S. L., Bottiani, J. H., Debnam, K. J., & Bradshaw, C. P. (2019). Examining teachers' classroom management profiles: Incorporating a focus on culturally responsive practice. Journal of school psychology, 76, 124–139. Full text

Gaias, L. M., Lindstrom Johnson, S., White, R. M. B., Pettigrew, J., and Dumka, L. (2019). Positive School Climate as a Moderator of Violence Exposure for Colombian Adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 63 (1): 17–31. Full text

Hugh, M. L., Ahlers, K., Joshi, M., & Locke, J. (2021). School-implemented interventions for preschool to high school students with autism: An update on recent research. Current Psychiatry Reports, 23, 1–11.

Hugh, M. L., Johnson, L. D., & Cook, C. (2022). Preschool teachers' selection of social communication interventions for children with autism: An application of the theory of planned behavior. Autism, 26(1), 188–200. Full text

Hugh, M. L., Pullmann, M. D., Joshi, M., Tagavi, D. M., Ahlers, K., Hernandez, A. M., & Locke, J. (2023). Educators' perspectives on training mechanisms that facilitate evidence-based practice use for autistic students in general education settings: A mixed-methods analysis. Teacher Education and Special Education, 08884064231178768.

Larson, M., Cook. C. R., Brewer, S. K., Pullmann, M. D., Hamlin, C., Merle, J., Duong, M. T., Gaias, L. M., Sullivan, M., Morrell, N., Kulkarni, T., & Weeks, M. (2021). Examining the effects of a brief, group-based motivational implementation strategy on mechanisms of teacher behavior change. Prevention Science, v22, p 722–736. Full text

Locke, J., Corbin, C. M., Cook, C. R., Ehrhart, M. G., Davis, C., & Lyon, A. R. (2023). Using stakeholder input to guide data visualization and reporting to promote evidence-based practice use in public schools. Global Implementation Research and Applications, 3(2), 99–111.

Locke, J., Hernandez, A. M., Joshi, M., Hugh, M. L., Bravo, A., Osuna, A., & Pullmann, M. D. (2022). Supporting the inclusion and retention of autistic students: Exploring teachers' and paraeducators' use of evidence-based practices in public elementary schools. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13, 961219.

Locke, J., Hugh, M. L., Pullmann, M. D., Cook, H., Coifman, J., McRee, E., ... & Schwartz, I. (2021). Exploring individual and organizational mechanisms of implementation of evidence-based practices for the inclusion of elementary students with autism: Study protocol. International Journal of Educational Research, 108, 101779. Full text

Lyon, A. R., Cook, C. R., Duong, M. T., Nicodimos, S., Pullmann, M. D., Brewer, S. K., Gaias, L. M., & Cox, S. (2019). Impact of a blended, theoretically informed pre-implementation strategy on clinicians implementing an evidence-based trauma intervention in the education sector. Implementation Science, 14, 54–69. doi: 10.1186/s13012-019-0905-3. Full text

McLean, L., Abry, T., Taylor, M. & Gaias, L. M. (2020). The influence of adverse classroom and school experiences on first year teachers' mental health and career optimism. Teaching and Teacher Education, 87, 1–13. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2019/102956. Full text

Merle, J. L., Larson, M. F., Cook, C. R., Brewer, S. K., Hamlin, C., Duong, M., ... & Lyon, A. R. (2022). A mixed-method study examining solutions to common barriers to teachers' adoption of evidence-based classroom practices. Psychology in the Schools, 59(9), 1825–1843.

Mesler, R. M., Corbin, C. M., & Martin, B. H. (2021). Teacher mindset is associated with development of students' growth mindset. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 76, 101299. Full text

Pullmann, M. D., Gaias, L. M., Duong, M. T., Gill, T., Curry, C., Cicchetti, C., ... & Cook, C. R. (2022). Reducing racial and ethnic disproportionality in school discipline through an assessment-to-intervention process: A framework and process. Psychology in the Schools, 59(12), 2486–2505.

Sibley, M. H., Ortiz, M., Rios-Davis, A., Zulauf-McCurdy, C. A., Graziano, P. A., & Bickman, L. (2022). Stakeholder-generated implementation strategies to promote evidence-based ADHD treatment in community mental health. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 49(1), 44–58.

Taylor, M., Pratt, M., Gaias, L. M., van Huisstede, L., & Gal, D. (2020). Improving parenting to promote school readiness: A preliminary evaluation of the Books Can…© public library program. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 8(2), 47–57. doi: 10.11114/jets.v8i2.4544

Wymer, S. C., Corbin, C. M., & Williford, A. P. (2022). The relation between teacher and child race, teacher perceptions of disruptive behavior, and exclusionary discipline in preschool. Journal of School Psychology, 90, 33–42.