IBCCES is excited to introduce new Executive Director Dr. Melanie Bolt to the global community of autism specialists. As Executive Director of IBCCES, Dr. Bolt draws on her expertise in educational research and evaluation to unite people, processes, and productivity for the purpose of providing autism training and certification for professionals who work in the fields of healthcare and education. Her goal is to better-equip teachers, paraprofessionals, therapists and other healthcare professionals to successfully address the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Dr. Bolt obtained the bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi (1994) and Texas Christian University (1997), respectively. The doctorate degree was subsequently conferred on her in the area of Educational Research and Evaluation from Virginia Tech (2003).
During her early career, Dr. Bolt studied overseas and taught lower school students in Redhill, England as well as taught middle grades in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Her classroom experience informed her early research of teachers’ roles and responsibilities in light of Deweyan educational philosophy. This focus lay the foundation for Dr. Bolt’s study of educational issues by applying quantitative and qualitative approaches to inquiry. Given this line of research she discussed the need for a broader public discourse on high-stakes accountability-based school initiatives and underscored teachers’ perspectives. The domains of interest included (1) the adequacy of curriculum and the diversity of teachers’ instructional strategies, (2) the quality of student learning, (3) teachers’ sense of professional autonomy and level of teacher tension, and (4) school quality.
At Virginia Tech, Dr. Bolt conducted program evaluations on behalf of the University as well as taught doctoral level courses for educational leaders and students of diverse graduate program areas. More recently, Dr. Bolt served as Director of Assessment and Project Manager of Project Proficere, a statewide federally-funded grant to develop sophisticated computer-based assessments for World Languages—including French, German, Latin, Italian, and American Sign Language. In this capacity she managed Florida’s statewide processes and outcomes pertaining to developing partnerships, recruiting World Languages teachers; presenting statewide training sessions and evaluating teachers’ workflow. Also, Dr. Bolt managed the State’s electronic test-item repository for WL, conducted pilot-testing and statewide field-testing as well as led panel presentations at professional conferences that supported the effort of developing sound assessments for students of World Languages.
Dr. Bolt is excited for her new journey within the IBCCES community, and welcomes insight from the autism community on what we are doing well and how we can improve. To reach Dr. Bolt, please email [email protected].