Meet The Tough Kid Authors

William R. Jenson, Ph.D.

Dr. William R. Jenson is a professor and past chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Utah. He received his Ph.D. in School Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis from Utah State University in 1975. He directed the Adolescent Residential Unit in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Children’s Behavior Therapy Unit (CBTU) for Salt Lake Mental Health. CBTU is a day hospital program for severely emotionally disturbed and autistic children. Dr. Jenson’s interests include behavior management for severe behavior problems, behavioral assessment, school-based interventions, parent training, applied technology, and meta-analytic research. He has authored and coauthored more than one hundred articles, chapters, and books, including The Tough Kid Book, Tough Kid Tool Box, Tough Kid Parent Book, Tough Kid New Teacher Book, Tough Kid Principal’s Briefcase, Understanding Childhood Behavior Disorders, Structured Teaching, Best Practices: Behavioral and Educational Strategies, Teaching Behaviorally Disordered Students: Preferred Practices, School-Based Interventions for Students with Behavior Problems, Functional Assessment, the Get ’Em on Task computer program, and several others.

Ginger Rhode, Ph.D.

Dr. Rhode is the Deputy Superintendent for Academic Achievement in the Canyons School District in Sandy, Utah. Previous assignments in other school districts have included director of special education, director of federal and state programs, elementary school principal, junior high school vice principal, and teacher in elementary and secondary classrooms for severe behavior disordered/emotionally disturbed students. Dr. Rhode is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Utah in the Educational Psychology Department. She has taught numerous university classes and has published many books, journal articles, book chapters, and professional papers. Her main areas of interest and expertise include classroom and schoolwide management, social skills training, generalization and maintenance of behavior, legal issues affecting students with disabilities, and providing a rigorous academic environment for all students.

Natalie Allen Williams

Dr. Williams is a professor in Teacher Education and codirector of the CAPES! (Children’s Adaptive Physical Education Society) program at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where she received the 2018–2019 Presidential Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Williams earned her Ph.D. in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis at The Ohio State University in 2005, and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Utah State University and the University of Utah, respectively. She has worked at both the state and district levels supporting students with behavior disorders in a variety of school settings. Her interests include supporting students with behavior disorders in the classroom both academically and socially.

Susan M. Sheridan, Ph.D.

Dr. Susan M. Sheridan, Willa Cather Professor and Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska, is Director of the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families, and Schools. After receiving her doctorate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1989, she began her career at the University of Utah, moving to the University of Nebraska in 1998. Dr. Sheridan’s research focuses on family engagement and family-school partnerships to support young children’s behavioral, social-emotional, and academic functioning. She leads several intervention studies on these and related topics, including federally funded research programs that are identifying effective methods to decrease disruptive behaviors across home and school, and uncovering important strategies to support families and teachers in early childhood interventions. She has a rich background of experience working directly with children, families, and teachers in developing, implementing, and evaluating social skills interventions for both externalizing and internalizing disorders. Dr. Sheridan was awarded the American Psychological Association’s Division 16 1993 Lightner Witmer Award for early career accomplishments and NASP’s 2005 Presidential Award. She is president of the Society for the Study of School Psychology and chair of the Futures Task Force on Home–School Partnerships.

James Knorr, Ph.D.

James Knorr is a postdoctoral resident at the Neurology Learning and Behavior Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. He earned his Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Utah in 2015. James has previously worked in schools as a school psychologist.
His interests include assessment and intervention of children and adolescents with neurodevelopment disorders, severe behavior disorders, and disorders with genetic etiology. He is also interested in technology-based interventions.



Laura Lopach, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Laura Lopach is a school psychologist in Granite District in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a certified behavior analyst. She is a member of the district autism team and oversees districtwide autism assessment and eligibility determination. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Utah in 2016 and her M.A. in School Psychology from the University of Montana in 2012. She has years of experience providing comprehensive services to children and adults with behavioral, social, and emotional challenges and their families. She has provided evidence-based intervention services in home, school, and residential treatment settings. Her research interests include identifying effective and practical interventions to support learning and
prosocial behavior.

Julie Bowen, Ph.D.

Dr. Bowen has worked with children and adolescents for more than 28 years as a preschool teacher, elementary teacher, and school psychologist. Dr. Bowen is currently a licensed psychologist and practicing school psychologist in the Jordan School District in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a school psychologist she has worked for several years with educators in Utah to develop and implement programs that address bullying prevention and intervention at the individual, classroom, and schoolwide level. Her research and professional interests include psychological assessment, academic and behavioral interventions, schoolwide interventions, and bullying prevention. Dr. Bowen has coauthored several books, including School-Based Interventions for Students with Behavior Problems and Homework Partners—Study Buddies: Parent Tutoring Tactics. She is also a co-author of The Tough Kid Bully Blockers Book and The Tough Kid Bully Blocker Shorts.

Paula Ashcraft, M.S.

Paula Ashcraft is currently a school psychologist in the Jordan School District in Sandy, Utah.

A 30-year career educator, Paula has worked as a speech-language pathologist, special educator, cluster leader/coordinator for classrooms designed for students with emotional disturbance/behavior disorders, and districtwide behavior specialist. Paula has served as auxiliary faculty at the University of Utah for the Departments of Educational Psychology, Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Special Education.

A major area of focus for Paula is schoolwide discipline and positive behavioral supports. She has presented bullying prevention training for educators throughout Utah and is committed to creating a positive and safe school community environment where all students are valued and experience social and academic success.

Paula is a coauthor of The Tough Kid Bully Blockers Book and The Tough Kid Bully Blocker Shorts.

Daniel P. Morgan, Ph.D.

Daniel Morgan received his bachelor’s degree in special education at Western Michigan University, his master's degree in special education at Michigan State University, and his Ph.D. in special education from The Florida State University. He was on the faculty at Utah State University in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation for 27 years and spent 10 years with the Utah State Personnel Development Grant.

His professional interests include new teacher induction programs, personnel preparation in special education, legal issues in special education, and evidence-based instructional practices for students with disabilities.

Currently, he is Chair of the Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Morgan is coauthor of The Tough Kid New Teacher Book.

Melanie Hepworth Neville, M.A.

Melanie Hepworth Neville received a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from University of the Pacific.

As Family/Generalization Therapist for Salt Lake Mental Health Children’s Behavior Therapy Unit, she developed a practical parenting course based on proven behavior management strategies. Her interest in difficult children and parent training expertise has led to several manuals, research articles, and presentations. She is a coauthor of The Tough Kid Parent Book.

Ms. Hepworth Neville enjoys her real job as an at-home parent, where she has to prove she can practice what she preaches!

Marilyn Sprick, M.S.

Marilyn has been a classroom teacher, special education teacher, and Title 1 learning
specialist. As a consultant, she has provided inservice for thousands of teachers in literacy, curriculum adaptation, and collaborative instruction. Marilyn is the Senior Author of the Read Well K–2 reading series and The Third Quest intervention for struggling adolescent readers. She is also the author of “Intervention B: Academic Assistance” in Interventions: Evidence-Based Behavioral Strategies for Individual Students, and coauthor of Meaningful Work and SMART Kids: Social Grace, Manners,
and Respectful Talk
. Marilyn’s focus is on the interaction of classroom management, explicit instruction, scaffolding curriculum, and diagnostic prescriptive teaching.


In memoriam: H. Kenton Reavis, Ed.D.

Dr. Ken Reavis, our honored colleague and former collaborator with The Tough Kid Series, passed away in 2001. Dr. Reavis’s work continues to benefit teachers, administrators, resource personnel, and parents today and to influence us as well. Dr. Reavis’s extensive educational experience in the field as classroom teacher, university professor, and
administrator was reflected in his research, writing, and presentations. Most of all, Ken loved Tough Kids!