Dr. Lorelei Pisha is on faculty as a Lecturer and Instructional Design Specialist at the Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development. She teaches pre- and in-service early childhood intervention personnel enrolled in the Certificate for Early Intervention and designs instructional resources for early intervention practitioners. In addition, she delivers customized professional development programs to early intervention systems and is a pioneer in the use of telehealth technology to deliver coaching-based intervention in natural environments. Dr. Pisha is passionate about inclusive service provision, cultural competence, the use of technology as a tool for professional learning, and the role of practitioners’ dispositions and beliefs in practice change. She has presented and published on these topics and many others related to young children with and at risk for developmental disabilities.
Dr. Pisha received her training in early childhood intervention at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. As an Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) scholar, she learned from leaders in the field of special education and educational psychology, such as Drs. Martha Snell and Robert Pianta, how to effectively support young children with complex disabilities through evidence-based strategies and relationship-based approaches. Here, she also further cultivated the belief that all children learn best in natural environments with their peers. Therefore, following the completion of a Master’s in Education in 2001, she accepted an offer from Chicago Public Schools to serve as a City-Wide Early Childhood Inclusion Facilitator. In this position, she built strong relationships with early childhood educators, families, and children to strengthen service provision and help foster the belief that high-quality inclusion benefits all children. She later returned to Virginia and worked for Fairfax County Public Schools as a Non-Categorical Special Education Teacher for children in grades kindergarten through second. In this position, she served as the Local Screening Chairperson, collaboratively developed an inclusive primary program, mentored colleagues in positive behavior support, and led county-wide trainings in various topics such as reading instruction for children with intellectual disabilities.
In 2006, Dr. Pisha accepted a scholarship for doctoral studies from the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development. As a doctoral student, Dr. Pisha pursued the topics of early identification of learning disabilities, cultural and linguistic diversity, early childhood mental health, physical activity, and educational neuroscience. During this time, she studied as a Leadership in Education of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) fellow at the National Children’s Medical Hospital and interned with the Center for Alexandria’s Children to support the development of the City-wide Playgroup Initiative as a multi-agency collaboration to facilitate primary prevention of maltreatment and early identification of developmental delay. GW is also where Dr. Pisha learned of her passion for personnel preparation. Under the mentorship of Dr. Marian “Bunny” Jarrett, she carefully designed, thoughtfully instructed, and reflectively evaluated courses within the Early Childhood Special Education Program of Study. She later served as the Project Coordinator for two OSEP-funded personnel training programs for which she was co-author.
Dr. Pisha is an avid volunteer. She serves in leadership roles that impact young children’s development and learning in her community. For example, she actively serves on the Learn and Playgroups Steering Committee (Alexandria, VA), as well a board member of the Carderock Springs Elementary School Educational Foundation. Dr Pisha also volunteers her time in the service of the early childhood intervention community by reviewing conference proposals and journal submissions, and mentoring students and colleagues.