Board of Directors


The Association for Constructivist Teaching is a professional organization promoting children's construction of knowledge in all domains –intellectual, physical, social, emotional and moral.

Our Leadership Team

Board of Directors

ACT Advisory Board Bios

Seong Bock Hong is the Rosalyn Saltz Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She studied constructivism learning theory under the guidance of Dr. George Forman at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She teaches courses in curriculum development and constructivist education. Her research interests have focused on the exploration and development of Reggio-Emilia inspired educational system and tools such as the Cycle of Inquiry System that guide pedagogical documentation practices in emergent curriculum approaches to early childhood education. In 2017, she co-hosted “The Wonder of Learning-Hundred Languages of Children” exhibition to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Meir Muller has earned rabbinical ordination as well as a doctorate in the area of early childhood education. Dr. Muller serves as an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of South Carolina. His research interests include culturally relevant pedagogy, anti-racist pedagogy, constructivist theory, and Jewish early childhood education.  In 2016 Dr. Muller was awarded the Early Childhood Teacher Educator Award by the National Association for Early Childhood Teacher Education. Recently Dr. Muller has served as lead author of South Carolina’s early childhood state standards and is part of a team of educators developing curricula that prepare European teachers to address bias, prejudice and anti-Semitism. Dr. Muller is also in his 27th year as head of the Cutler Jewish Day School, a NAEYC accredited school for children birth through fifth grade.

Carolyn Black began her career as a constructivist, while studying with Rheta DeVries in Houston, Texas. She attended ACT since 1997, where her work in the Child Development and Early Childhood Education was enhanced. Carolyn was a faculty member at the University of Arkansas, San Jacinto College, and the University of Houston Clear Lake before becoming the founding Principal/Superintendent at the University of Houston Charter School. In retirement, she worked in archiving the work of Rheta DeVries.

James Pelech is in his 16th year at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois where he will be department chair in the fall. Prior to that he was a high school math teacher for 30 years. Jim, a former President of ACT,  has written two books on Constructivism. He is working on a third book which will focus on Constructivism and action research. He was a Fulbright Specialist to Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He and his wife, Gwen, live in Joliet, Illinois.

Cris Lozon is the Early Childhood Director for St. Margaret’s Episcopal School  in San Juan Capistrano, California. She brings over 30 years of experience working with young people from infants to adults. Dr. Lozon presents nationally on children’s construction of knowledge through play.

Sonia Akiko Yoshizawa served as a Director for the US Embassy Children’s Garden School in Tokyo, Japan, prior to moving to the US with a scholarship to study constructivism under Rheta DeVries at the University of Northern Iowa. She currently serves as a Research Coordinator at the East Tennessee State University, where she also chairs the Annual Early Childhood Conference. Sonia has been a featured presenter at NAEYC and a co-author of two books: Nurturing Creativity: An Essential Mindset for Young Children’s Learning (NAEYC), and STEM Learning With Young Children: Inquiry Teaching With Ramps & Pathways (Teacher College Press). She has two grown children living in Iowa and Tokyo, Japan.

Thomas Chiaramonte brings over 35 years of experience in the fields of child development and early childhood education. He has been serving as a faculty in the Department of Child Development and Educational Studies at Fullerton College (CA) since 1989 and in 2009, he was named Director of their Child Development Laboratory School. Tom has been a keynote speaker and presenter throughout the country, and is currently working on a book about burnout in early childhood educators. He is the father of two great children, Claire and Thomas.

Kelly Russell studied Piaget’s constructivist theories under the tutelage of Dr. Constance Kamii. After graduating from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in epistemology, she began teaching at Birmingham-Southern College where she has been since 2007. She teaches classes in child development, science education, and developmental math.

Dr. Randa Dunlap received her Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education from East Tennessee State University where she not only taught and advised undergraduate-level students in the Early Care and Education program, but she also worked with young children in a multi-age preschool classroom at a Reggio Emilia-inspired lab school.  She spent time collecting data for her dissertation in public elementary school third grade classrooms in Northeast Tennessee.  Dr. Dunlap is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina Aiken where she teaches literacy-related courses.

Sonja de Groot Kim received her PhD in Early Childhood Leadership from NYU. Her interest in constructivist theory was nourished at the Pedagogic Academy in the Netherlands. She has been a lifelong early childhood educator and teacher educator and was strongly influenced by the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education. At Kean University, where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses, she infused constructivist and social-constructivist pedagogy into all her courses, including co-constructing some course syllabi with her students. As faculty liaison to the campus laboratory school on campus she collaborated with educators to develop topics of study with the children and presented at national and state conferences with them.

James Foss is an educator and curriculum writer who has worked in early childhood and elementary education both nationally and internationally for over 17 years. Concern for the rights of children is the inspiration for research on teacher personal epistemology, teacher guided inquiry, and constructivist principles for learning. In 2018, he joined teacher education faculty at the University of Minnesota Crookston as an assistant professor and now resides in Grand Forks, ND, with his wife, and three children.

Tim Constant is the Manager of Education Outreach at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan where he coordinates a team of educators who develop and deliver instructional programs for Michigan teachers regarding the Holocaust and other genocides. The success and extent of his education outreach program was recently recognized by the Michigan Museums Association with the 2019 Outreach Programming Award. Prior to his current position, Tim was a high, middle and elementary school principal and assistant principal specializing in school turnaround. He was also the Director of Teacher Evaluation and Instructional Improvement for one of the most diverse high schools in the United States and served as the Academic Dean for a Detroit area Upward Bound program. Before school administration, Tim was a middle and high school Social Studies and English teacher for 11 years where he was awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year from one of his schools and was nominated for Michigan Teacher of the Teacher and a finalist for Charter School Teacher of the Year. Tim currently is pursuing his doctorate in education from the University of Michigan Dearborn with a concentration in Curriculum and Practice and recently received the 2019 Different Maker Alumnus of the Year from the University of Michigan Dearborn. Tim also has a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Michigan Dearborn, a Master of Science in Finance from Walsh College, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Lawrence Technological University and an educational leadership certification from Eastern Michigan University.