About Us

Vision & Mission

The Ronald H. Fredrickson Center for School Counseling Outcome Research & Evaluation (CSCORE) is dedicated to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for all children through identifying and developing research-based and effective school counseling practices.

School counseling has great potential to help all students achieve to high standards, make wise vocational/career choices, and develop pro-social attitudes and skills. Powerful models of practice exist that can ensure that all students have access to the benefits of effective school counseling.

Modern School Counseling Practices emphasize:

  • A focus on helping all students achieve academically
  • The importance of systemic interventions that support students by influencing their families, schools, and communities
  • The critical importance of using research to guide practice, monitor effectiveness, and evaluate student outcomes

Effective counseling in schools requires high quality research about effective counseling, consultation, teaching, advocacy, academic advising, college placement, and the myriad activities and program components that are part of a successful school counselor’s daily work. It also necessitates consideration of how to bridge the gap between these research findings and what is actually done in schools, so that school counselors are using what is known about best practices to support students.

To move forward in these efforts, CSCORE is committed to creating, identifying, and disseminating:

  • Best practices in school counseling
  • Evaluation models for measuring systemic interventions
  • Instruments that measure school counseling outcomes
  • Methods for incorporating research and evaluation activities into the fabric of school counseling programs
  • Research-based school counseling group and curriculum interventions


Center Fellows

Elysia Clemens, Ph.D
Associate Professor
Department of Applied Psychology & Counselor Education
University of Northern Colorado

Elysia Clemens is an associate professor at the University of Northern Colorado. Current research projects are focused on educational outcomes for youth in the child welfare system. The goal of her research is to inform policy. She serving as the project director to design a system for Colorado Department of Education to measure the investments being made in the state related to dropout prevention and student engagement. She is also collaborating on the development of a software application “Apprentice-Counseling” to improve supervision of counseling students during practicum and internship.

Peg Donahue, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Department of Counselor Education and Family Therapy
Coordinator of the School Counseling Program
Central Connecticut State University

Peg Donohue is an Assistant Professor in the Counselor Education and Family Therapy Department at CCSU and Coordinator of the School Counseling Program. She spent 16 years working as a school counselor in elementary and middle school levels. She also worked as a teacher in alternative education settings on the high school level. Her primary research interests include the role of school counselors in making meaningful systemic change and fostering social and emotional skills. She is co-editor of The School Counselors Handbook on Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS) (Rutledge, 2019). Dr. Donohue is a founding member of the CCSU Center of Excellence in Social and Emotional Learning where she has developed a number of training opportunities for Connecticut educators. As an advocate for improved mental health supports in her state, she is training school teams to implement universal screening. She currently serves on the board of the Connecticut School Counseling Association and is President Elect of the Connecticut Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors.

Megan M. Krell, Ph.D, NCC
Assistant Professor
Behavioral Sciences Program
Fitchburg State University

Megan Krell is an assistant professor and internship coordinator in human services and counseling at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Megan received her doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology from the University of Connecticut. She has a Master of Arts in School Counseling from the University of Connecticut and she graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Human Services. Megan’s research interests include college and career readiness initiatives in school counseling, equitable college readiness counseling for students with disabilities, and using technology to enhance teaching.

Melissa Mariani, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Florida Atlantic University

Melissa Mariani is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counselor Education at Florida Atlantic University. She has ten years of experience as a school counselor and guidance program coordinator at the elementary and middle school levels. Her research interests include evaluating the effectiveness of evidence-based school counseling interventions, specifically those focused on improving students’ pro-social skills, fostering a positive classroom climate, and preventing bullying. Dr. Mariani is co-author of the book Facilitating Evidence-Based, Data-Driven School Counseling: A Manual for Practice (Corwin, 2016). In 2011, she was awarded Florida School Counselor of the Year for PK-8 and was recently honored University Scholar of the Year at the Assistant level. Dr. Mariani is passionate about professional service and currently sits on national, state and local advisory councils. She has held various leadership positions for the Florida School Counselor Association (FSCA), serves on several editorial review boards for professional counseling journals, and is a national trainer for the Student Success Skills (SSS) curriculum.

Ian Martin, Ed.D
Associate Professor
Counseling Program
University of San Diego

Ian Martin is an assistant professor at the University of San Diego within the Counseling program and teaches classes in school counseling and career development. Prior to coming to USD, he was a school counselor at the elementary and middle school levels. Ian completed his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and worked as a Research Assistant within CSCORE. He credits CSCORE with shaping his current research agenda and is honored to continue his relationship with CSCORE as a Center Fellow. Ian has published and presented on such topics as program development, evaluation and school counseling policy.

Erin Mason, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Counseling Program
DePaul University

Erin Mason is an associate professor at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to her career as a counselor educator, Erin was a school counselor for 13 years in two of the largest districts in the Atlanta area. Erin is active in a variety of leadership positions in professional associations and she enjoys providing presentations and trainings to state, national, and international audiences. Erin has published on topics including leadership and professional identity in school counseling, the ecological school counseling model, and has a growing research agenda on the impact of technology on school counseling and school counselor education. As a CSCORE Fellow, Erin is eager to work collaboratively with those in the field and to strengthen the connection between evidence-based school counseling practice and research.

George McMahon, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
University of Georgia

George McMahon is an assistant professor at the University of Georgia in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services in the College of Educations, where he serves as the Clinical Coordinator for the MEd in school counseling program and teaches in the PhD program in counselor education and supervision. George has published and presented in the areas of school counselor leadership, school counselors' use of data, group work, and privilege and advocacy. Most recently, George developed and is researching Ecological School Counseling, a new paradigm for envisioning school counseling practice. George has been on the Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference Advisory Council since 2012, and served as co-host for the conference in Athens, GA in 2016. Prior to becoming a school counselor educator, George was an elementary and middle school counselor in his hometown of New Orleans, LA.

Timothy A. Poynton, Ed.D
Associate Professor
School Counseling Program, Director
University of Massachusetts Boston

Tim Poynton is an associate professor and director of the school counseling program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  A former school counselor in New York State, Dr. Poynton has shifted the focus of his work from practicing school counseling to school counselor education and research. He worked as a research fellow at the Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation in 2004-2005, and is the developer of the EZAnalyze data tools for school counselors.  His current research is focused on the post-secondary transition, and he has published in journals such as Professional School Counseling, Career Development Quarterly, and theJournal of College Access.

Christopher Sink, Ph.D
Professor and Batten Chair, Counseling
Old Dominion University
Darden College of Education
Department of Counseling and Human Services
Education Building II
4301 Hampton Blvd
Department of Counseling & Human Services 2101
Norfolk, VA 23508

Christopher Sink, PhD, NCC, LMHC (WA) is a Professor and Batten Endowed Chair of Counseling (since July 2015) at Old Dominion University, Department of Counseling and Human Services (Darden College of Education). Earlier, he spent 21 years as a professor of counselor education at Seattle Pacific University and five years at Northwest Missouri State University. Prior to serving in the professoriate, Dr. Sink worked as a secondary and post-secondary counselor. He has many years of chief editorial experience in counseling-related journals (American School Counselor Association’s Professional School Counseling and American Counseling Association’s Counseling and Values). Dr. Sink currently serves on the editorial board of multiple peer-refereed journals, including The Professional Counselor (the National Board of Certified Counselors), Professional School Counseling (American School Counselor Association), Counseling and Spirituality (Canadian), Counseling and Values (American School Counselor Association and Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling), and Journal of Research on Christian Education. Currently, he is associate editor, Counseling and Values and chief editor, Journal of School-based Counseling Policy and Evaluation (JSCPE). Dr. Sink does extensive consulting for school systems and organizations (e.g., conducting program evaluations) as well as regularly presents at scholarly and professional conferences including those held in the U.S. and internationally. He has been invited to be a keynote speaker at multiple professional conferences. Dr. Sink is serving a three-year appointment as Visiting Professor at York St. John University, School of Psychological and Social Sciences, York, England. He also consults with school districts around the country on school counseling restructuring.

Elizabeth Villares, Ph.D
Associate Professor
Florida Atlantic University

Elizabeth Villares, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Doctoral Program Coordinator in the Department of Counselor Education at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Villares has worked as a teacher, school counselor, and guidance director at the secondary level. Her areas of specialization include integrating technology in school counseling programs to improve data-driven practices, and collaborating with school counselors to develop action and outcome research and program evaluation projects. Her current research focus includes implementing school counselor-led evidence-based programs to improve the academic achievement and social-emotional development of students in grades K-12. Dr. Villares has published more than 15 publications in national/international peer reviewed journals and done over 40 refereed presentations. She has received numerous awards including the 2011 Association for Assessment in Counseling and Evaluation, Outstanding Outcome Research Article of the Year award, Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Emerging Leader Fellow, and the Florida Atlantic University, College of Education, Associate Professor Scholar of the Year.

Brett Zyromski, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Ohio State University

Brett Zyromski is co-founder and co-chair of the national Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference. He is involved with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) as one of fifteen Lead Recognized-ASCA-Model-Program Reviewers (LRR’s) nationwide, and has also serves as a trainer of the ASCA National Model for the American School Counselor Association. Recently, Dr. Zyromski was a writer and service provider for a 1.2 million dollar Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grant received by the Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services. Dr. Zyromski has published over a dozen articles related to school counseling issues, and has delivered over 30 national, regional, and local presentations. He was the invited chair of the revision team for the Development Counseling Model for Illinois Schools and founded and coordinated the Southern Illinois School Counseling Interest Network. Dr. Zyromski has consulted with numerous school districts on evolving guidance programs to data-driven, comprehensive school counseling programs. He has provided workshops on crisis preparation and response in schools, supervision in counseling, using school counseling to change sundown town communities, and data-driven school counseling practices. Dr. Zyromski has served as a reviewer for the Professional School Counseling Journal and has been recognized for numerous awards and recognitions, including the 2010 North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Professional Leadership Award, the 2010 Illinois School Counseling Association Presidential Award, and the 2008 North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Outstanding Professional Teaching Award.