Meet Our Research Team
With over 30 years of combined experience in education, social and emotional learning, and resilience; Aperture Education takes pride in its strong research and development team. Led by our Vice President of Research & Development and former Director of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, Paul LeBuffe, our team is actively engaged in conducting research and evaluation studies that advance knowledge and practice in the SEL field and support our mission. Below, you will find the research and publications specifically related to our Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA), a key feature of the DESSA System.
Paul LeBuffe, Vice President of Research & Development
Paul’s career has focused on providing teachers, program staff, and parents with tools and strategies to promote the social and emotional well-being of children, adolescents and the adults themselves. He is an author of many widely-used assessments in this area including the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA). Paul has published widely and presented internationally on the measurement and promotion of resilience and social and emotional competence. He lives in Downingtown, PA with his wife Penny, a special education teacher. To promote his own resilience, Paul enjoys canoeing and playing the piano very badly.
Jennifer Robitaille, Senior Research Associate
Jennifer is a Senior Research Associate at Aperture Education, where her primary research interests include the measurement and promotion of social and emotional competence and resilience in children and youth. Her role at Aperture allows her the opportunity to do many of the things she loves (reading, writing, and crunching numbers) while working to support the well-being of children. She lives in the Lehigh Valley of PA with her husband Rob, a high school science teacher and swim coach. When she’s not working, you can find Jen hiking, exploring local craft breweries, and spending time with family and friends.
Alyssa Ciarlante, Research Associate
Alyssa is a Research Associate at Aperture Education, where she works to support the development of new social and emotional assessments. A self-proclaimed “numbers nerd” with years of experience working with children and youth, Alyssa’s position allows her to combine two of her passions: supporting the healthy development of children and gaining insight through data analysis. She lives in Havertown, PA and enjoys cooking, spending time with her family and friends, and adding to her ever-growing book collection.
Kim Williams, Strategies Development Specialist
Kim is a Strategies Development Specialist and Master Trainer for Aperture Education. Kim has been immersed in the world of social and emotional learning since 2001. While not an “official” teacher, Kim has worked in classrooms, schools, and other youth serving organizations guiding their processes, structures, policies, and resources in support of the whole child. Her love of travel has been fed by her experiences as a trainer for evidence-based SEL programs. She has traveled to China, the UK, and all over the U.S. training and learning from others. Kim lives in FL with her husband, Bob, and their dog, Gracie.