The Gordon R. Alley Partnership Award

The Gordon R. Alley Partnership Award honors the legacy of Gordon R. Alley, one of the founders of the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning and a master at mentoring the young and inexperienced assistant professors assembled to conduct the Center's first research studies. Dr. Alley generaously shared his expertise and time to enable others to reach their goals and taught that partnership is vital to successfully conducting large-scale research and development efforts. This award is presented to professionals who contribute to the work of the Center in the same spirit.


Paula Crawford - North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction
Sherry Thomas - North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction
Jose Blackorby - CAST, Inc.
Ellen Schiller - SRI
Suzanne Myers - Kansas Department of Education
Read More about 2018 awardees (.pdf)


Mary Ann Ahearn - Program Administrator fo the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System  
Read More about 2014 awardees (.pdf)


Carol Deshler
Carol Deshler has been the ultimate partner and supporter of the work conducted by KUCRL.  She was instrumental in pushing Don Deshler, an economics major, toward a career in education.  After they graduated from college, the two of them moved to Barrow, Alaska, where they taught Eskimo children and Don first became interested in finding answers to why some children struggle to learn. Later, when Edge Enterprises publishing company was just starting, Carol assembled and shipped Edge materials from the garage in their home.  She has been a lifelong partner in raising a loving, caring and successful family -- four grown children and 13 grandchildren.  Throughout, she has made room for all of us connected with SIM.  We can think of no one more deserving of the Gordon R. Alley Partnership Award.


Dubuque Community School DistrictDubuque, IA
Read More about 2012 awardees (.pdf)


Janet Marquis – University of Kansas
Read More about 2010 awardees (.pdf)


Sue Vernon – EDGE Enterprises


Andres Henriquez - Carnegie Foundation​ 
In recent years, adolescent literacy has catapulted to prominence in the consciousness of educators, researchers, and policy makers across the country. In large measure, this newfound focus can be traced to the unflagging efforts of Andres Henriquez, director of the Advancing Literacy Initiative for Carnegie Corporation of New York


Randy Sprick - Safe and Civil Schools 
Randy Sprick is the lead author of the Safe and Civil Schools series.  In his work with KUCRL, he has repeatedly demonstrated the generosity and collaborative nature the award is intended to honor. Read More about 2007 awardees (.pdf)


Mark Cooper - Professor of Early Childhood and Special Education ad Director of the Mashburn Institute, University of Central Arkansas
For the past 10 years, the Mashburn Institute has been devoted to providing professional development on SIM interventions to teachers in central Arkansas.  Through Mark Cooper's persistent and visionary leadership with the Arkansas State Department of Education and other key educational leaders throughout the state, SIM has now been adopted by special education, general education, and alternative education as the key secondary school instructional model.  Mark's most recent book, Bound and Determined to Help Children with Learning Disabilities Succeed, is consistent with many SIM interventions and has become a centerpiece of the Mashburn Institute for Preparing teachers to work more effectively with struggling learners to nurture a more positive outlook within these students.


Jerry D. Bailey - University of Kansas
Jerry has been a strong supporter of SIM and KUCRL for more than 15 years. As Director for the Institute for Educational Research and Public Service (IERPS), as interim dean, and as associate dean, Jerry has been an influential advocate with the School of Education, the university as a whole, and the educational community at large.  SIM Professional Developer Vicki Cottsworth first worked with Jerry when she served as a SIM instructor in the Kansas Governor's Academy, a program attended by teams consisting of a teacher and two sophomores in need of academic support.  Teachers attended academic classes--including one focusing on SIM interventions--with their students in the mornings and spent afternoons learning more about SIM. Jerry also included SIM in five GEAR-UP grants submitted by IERPS, and SIM has been the cornerstone of one of those grants for the last six years.Jerry has worked behind the scenes on behave of KUCRL on numerous projects and initiatives, and he has opened district doors for our researchers throughout the Midwest.  Jerry is passionate about things that make a difference in the quality of education for struggling learners and takes every opportunity to elaborate on the power of SIM.


Sharyl Kennedy - Horizon Academy​
Sharyl Kennedy is principal and executive director of Horizon Academy in Roeland Park, Kan., the second of two SIM schools she has helped develop from the ground up. In the 1990s, she worked with Don Deshler and Jean Schumaker to provide SIM professional development to all of the staff at Summit School in Dundee, Ill., a school for students with learning disabilities where she served as principal. In 1999, Don recommended her for her current position at Horizon Academy, another school for students with learning disabilities, and she has again worked to make her school a SIM school. Horizon Academy has grown from 12 to 70 students in five years, and those students consistently employ an array of SIM Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routines. Sharyl shared that at each of the 70 annual review meetings she recently attended, students ran the meetings, shared their strengths and weaknesses, presented their accomplishments for the school year, and told their goals for the next school year and their career goals for the future. Some of the 2004 award recipients students were as young as 6 years old. Sharyl says that because of SIM, 58 students over the past five years have been able to successfully return to traditional schools. She recently received a letter from one such student, and he reported that he still uses SIM and has “A”s in every subject except math. He added that he can maintain friendships and participate in after-school activities without worrying about it hurting his school work. When new staff join Horizon Academy, they are sent through SIM professional development during the summer and then are guided throughout the year as they implement SIM in their classrooms. In other examples of Sharyl’s partnership with CRL, she has allowed CRL to film in her classrooms numerous times, helped CRL engage her teachers in research studies, talked at national conferences about creating strategic schools, hosted a conference that featured SIM, and helped launch the Division of Learning Disabilities Kansas chapter.


Paul Buskirk - University of Kansas
Paul Buskirk, Associate Athletics Director for Student Support Services at the University of Kansas, has been a partner in research, development, and service to academically at-risk university students for the past 15 years. With Paul’s support, CRL researchers have developed several new interventions that not only meet the needs of university students, but also address the strategic tutoring and motivational needs of students enrolled in elementary, middle, and high school. Paul’s support of and partnership with CRL has helped continue the Center’s commitment to quality, innovation, and growth.


Tom Skrtic - University of Kansas
Tom Skrtic was one of the initial CRL researchers in its formative years. Since that time,he has been a strong advocate for the CRL research agenda throughout the universityDuring the past five years, while serving as chair of KU’s Department of Special Education, Tom has ensured that the needs and interests of have been strongly supported.Without his strong leadership on behalf of CRL, we would not have made the progress that we have in recent years.

John Poggio - University of Kansas
John Poggio, an internationally recognized expert on assessment and evaluation and professor of education at KU, has consulted with several researchers, teachers, and graduate students affiliated with CRL. John never says “no” to a request for assistance or input. Not only is he always exceedingly willing to help, but he also offers brilliant insights for ways to improveour research and intervention efforts.


Anne Clouatre - Louisiana State Department of Education
Anne began her education career as a special education teacher in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Now supervisor of programs for students with learning disabilities for the Louisiana Department of Education, her primary responsi­bility is staff development for teach­ers of students with disabilities. In 1999, Anne launched a Strategic Instruction Model program in Louisiana. It has grown into a statewide project. Anne is a certified Content Enhancement Trainer and is work­ing toward certification as a Learning Strategies Trainer.

Barbara Duchardt - Northwestern State University, Louisiana
Barb completed a Ph.D. in Special Education and Administration at the University of Kansas-Lawrence, where she was a research assistant at CRL. Presently, she is an associate professor in the College of Education at Northwest­ern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and is the recipient of the Arthur C. Watson Endowed Profes­sorship. She has been instrumental in fostering the growth of regional SIM programs in northern Louisi­ana.

James Glass - Topeka Kansas School District
James is a grant specialist for Topeka, Kansas, Public Schools, managed grants totaling $9,493,587 for the district in the 2000-2001 school year. One of the grants he works with is CR.Ls Pathways to Success, funded through the U.S. Department of Education's GEAR-UP program (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Under­graduate Programs). Jim's work within the school district has paved the way for the success of the Path­ways project.


Douglas Eicher - Lawrence Kansas School District
John Emerson - Casey Family Programs


Carmen Cantrell - Shawnee Mission Kansas School District
An inclusion facilitator in the Shawnee Mission School District, Carmen has participated in several of the KUCRL's research studies and has been one of the lead demonstration teachers in our training videos. The videos have significantly contributed to the ability of others to understand the process of teaching.

Randy Weseman - Lawrence Kansas School District
Associate Superintendent of Schools in Lawrence, Kansas, Randy has fostered a partnership environment within Lawrence schools that has allowed the Center to conduct numerous, meaningful educational research studies. We would not have been able to accomplish as much as we have without his support.

Thomas L. Lowe - Muskegon Michigan School District
Coordinator of Special Education Services at Muskegon (Michigan) High School and past president of the Michigan Association for Learning Disability Educators. As president of MALDE, T.L. led the organization to support a statewide effort to increase the number os SIM Professional Developers in Michigan. He also was instrumental in integrating SIM throughout Muskegon High School.


Hugh W. Catts - University of Kansas
Edwin S. Ellis - University of Alabama
Robert E. Frederick - University of Kansas


Philip C. McKnight - University of Kansas
Jean Peterson - Learning Disabilities Association
Nancy L. Peterson - University of Kansas


Michael Pressley - State University of New York at Albany
Charles Hughes - Pennsylvania State University
Michael Pressley and Charles Hughes have made outstanding contributions to the collaborative research conducted by KUCRL. Providing unlimited inspiration and ideas, Michael has served as a consultant for various grants for CRL for the past eight years. Charlie has worked collaboartively with KUCRL researchers for more than 10 years, conducting research and writing research articles and strategy manuals.  Perhaps he is best known to the SIM Network as the first author of the Test Taking Strategy and Assignment Completion Strategy manuals


Jerry Chaffin - Professor, University of Kansas
Dr. Jerry Chaffin was recognized for his efforts over the life of the Center with regard to  helping the staff stay current technologically. Because of Jerry's counsel, help, and many hours of connecting and fixing computers, the Center is fully computerized, and the Network is "on line" with StrateNET.

Carl Skordahl - Director of Special Education, Osseo Area Schools, Osseo Minnesota
Carl  Skordahl was recognized for the leadership he has  exercised in the state of Minnesota and in his district  with regard to providing training and ensuring SIM  implementation. Over the course of many years, Carl  has systematically obtained funding and organized  training sessions for many teachers and has  spearheaded the effort to have certified trainers within  the district. As a result, his district has implemented SIM in the elementary through secondary grades across  numerous schools in a coordinated way.

Ron Wolf- Associate Professor, West Virginia Graduate College
Dr. Ron Wolf was recognized for the work he  has done in the state of West Virginia with regard to  disseminating the SIM. Because of Ron's personal  efforts, the state now has a group of enthusiastic  certified trainers, and large numbers of teachers have  received SIM training. 


Robert Taylor - Assistant Superintendent, Lawrence Kansas Public Schools
Ann Hoffman - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Conn Thomas - West Texas A&M
Gary M. Clark - University of Kansas, Department of Special Education


Marty Beech - Florida State University
Judy Petry - University of Kansas
Nona Tollefson - University of Kansas


Richard Schiefelbusch - University of Kansas
Cecil D. Mercer - University of Florida


Edward Meyen - University of Kansas
Bruce Passman - Blue Valley Kansas School District
Donald E. Wilson - Shawnee Mission Kansas School District

An accessible version of the documents on this site will be made available upon request. Please contact the KU CRL Professional Development Research Institute, at to request the document be made available in an accessible format.