Working Together

We’re motivated by the transformative power of partnerships and their potential to change lives. We believe TAPP is more than a process—it’s a pursuit to empower families and schools. It all begins when we build common ground for children’s success.

Susan Sheridan, Ph.D.

  • Director, Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools
  • Director, National Center for Research on Rural Education
  • George Holmes University Professor & Willa Cather Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology

Throughout her career, Susan Sheridan’s research has focused on family engagement and family-school partnerships to support young children’s behavioral, social-emotional, and academic functioning.

She is leading several federally funded research programs to uncover important strategies to support families and teachers for both early childhood and elementary school programs, and identify effective methods to support children’s academic and social development.

Her research on family-school partnerships forms the foundation for TAPP (Teachers and Parents as Partners), a service model that brings together parents, teachers and care providers to address shared concerns for children. She serves as TAPP’s lead consultant and regularly delivers training for schools and early education programs across North America.

Sheridan has published and edited numerous books on family-school partnerships, including “The Tough Kid: Teachers and Parents as Partners.” This teacher resource book includes an in-depth overview of the TAPP process and implementation tips and strategies.

To advance the field of family-school partnership research, Sheridan is also serving as an editor and contributing author for a multi-volume research series. The series’ first book, “Foundational Aspects of Family-School Partnership Research,” was published in June 2015.

Sheridan received the American Psychological Association’s Division 16 1993 Lightner Witmer Award for early career accomplishments and the 2015 Senior Scientist Award for sustained career excellence. She is the chair of the Futures Task Force on Home-School Partnerships, the past president of the Society for the study of School Psychology and the past editor of School Psychology Review.

After receiving her doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1989, Sheridan began her career at the University of Utah and moved to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1998.

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Susan Sheridan, Ph.D.

Amanda Witte, Ph.D.

  • Project Manager, Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools

Amanda Witte serves as a family-school consultant, training supervisor, and TAPP project manager. She delivers workshops and training in family-school partnerships to educators and service providers across North America, and also facilitates the ongoing coaching of TAPP consultants.

Witte has also served as the project coordinator for two federally funded family-school partnership studies. In this role, she managed collaborative teams of consultants, parents and teachers; maintained partnerships with school personnel; and developed working relationships with new schools and communities.

Witte has contributed to numerous research publications and publications relating to family-school partnership research. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in educational psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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Amanda Witte, Ph.D.

Samantha Angell, M.A.

  • Graduate Research Assistant, Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools

Samantha Angell is pursuing her doctorate in school psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work focuses on promoting family-school partnerships, investigating the link between parent-child relationships and child outcomes, and identifying efficient and effective behavioral health practices for underserved populations.

Angell contributes to the development and delivery of TAPP training programs. She also plays a key role in measuring adherence to TAPP procedures and processes, and provides feedback to ensure the TAPP model is delivered with high quality. Angell is also responsible for several aspects of TAPP research. She helps ensure accurate and efficient data collection, data entry and organization, and contributes to preliminary analysis. Angell also helps disseminate TAPP research results to researchers and educational practitioners by contributing to several publications and delivering local and national presentations.

Amanda Witte, Ph.D.