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Center for Educational Research and Technological Innovation (CERTI)

Throughout its 30-year history, Chesapeake Bay Academy (CBA) has demonstrated an enduring commitment to innovation. CBA is excited to take the lead once again in an ambitious new endeavor that will gather the region’s most skilled special educators, IT professionals, curriculum designers, and education researchers. The project is designed to shape the future of educational study and practice in Hampton Roads and beyond.

With the advent of the COVID pandemic, the use of educational technology has accelerated in totally new and unanticipated ways. CBA has seized the moment to study the wide range of instructional technology, methodologies, and interventions that have been implemented in service to all students, and particularly those with learning differences. Chesapeake Bay Academy, in partnership with Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), Old Dominion University (ODU), and Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) has created the Center for Educational Research and Technological Innovation (CERTI). 

The mission of CERTI is to develop, evaluate, and disseminate new programs and practices utilizing innovative, student-centered technology in partnership with institutions of higher education and in collaboration with select member schools of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS).


•To develop a model, research-based virtual learning program at CBA for students with learning differences.

•To evaluate new and emerging hardware and software applications for students with specific learning differences.

•To explore the efficacy of online learning environments for students with a variety of physical and cognitive differences.

•To identify best practices in a virtual environment to support student motivation and engagement.

•To inform the development of content for teacher education programs that will develop the necessary skills for teaching in a virtual environment.

Why CBA?

•CBA strives to be a beacon for best practice methods in individualized learning – now evidence-based best practice

•CBA size and nature makes it conducive to innovation and flexibility

•CBA has a foundational research infrastructure built on prior research projects within the school

•CBA has foundational alliances with area institutions of higher education

The future of education is NOW and CBA is committed to leading the way!

CERTI Advisory Council

J.D. Ball, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Eastern Virginia Medical School
Dr. J.D. Ball holds a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychologists. He served for 35 years as a neuropsychologist performing clinical services, teaching doctoral level clinical psychologists, mentoring and conducting clinical research, and assuming various administrative leadership roles. At the time of his retirement from EVMS, he was Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, having attained over a dozen local, state and national teaching awards and having mentored 24 doctoral dissertations.  Dr. Ball has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in professional journals, 5 book chapters, and an edited book; he was the principal investigator for 15 funded research projects, and he has given over 100 professional presentations.  He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the academic journal, Perceptual and Motor Skills and Vice Chair of the Virginia Board of Psychology.  He is continuing a service period on the Board of Trustees for Chesapeake Bay Academy that has spanned 30 years.

Linda Miller-Dunleavy
Master Lecturer, Old Dominion University (retired)
Linda Miller-Dunleavy is a newly retired Master Lecturer from the Communication Disorders & Special Education Dept. in the College of Education & Professional Studies at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Linda began her journey in the special education field in 1978, when the laws were just beginning to embrace students with disabilities in the educational systems. Her teaching experiences were diverse, to include students with Intellectual Disabilities; Mild & Moderate to Severe and Profound (Multiple disabilities), students with Emotional and Behavioral disorders, and students with Severe Mental Illness. Linda’s background has spanned forty-two years as a special education professional in teaching K-8 & higher education, private business owner for individuals with disabilities requiring adaptive movement programs and opportunities to be included in dance and karate. She was also a Certified Supreme Court mediator and is a bilingual translator for parent meetings, to include IEPs. Linda’s expertise areas are in advocacy & special education law, content area expertise in High Leverage Practices for reading and math, and lastly development and implementation of IEPs. She spent 22 years at ODU facilitating special education teacher training. She also was a mentor for future special education leaders in pre-service and in-service High Leverage Practices. Linda has served on several Boards in advisory roles. She was reappointed for ten years to the ODU Board of Visitors as a Faculty Representative to the Student Engagement and Enhancement Committee. She is also an advisor for Hearts & Homes for the last 10 years. Hearts & Homes is a charitable organization dedicated to addressing the severe housing shortage for adults with developmental disabilities in Virginia Beach. Originally founded under the name BizNet, Inc., it is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors.  Since 2016, Linda has served on the Chesapeake Bay Academy Board of Trustees.

Mindy Gumpert, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Education, Virginia Wesleyan University, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Old Dominion University
Dr. Mindy Gumpert has been an educator for over 24 years. She was a kindergarten through 12th grade special education teacher for 18 years before resigning to pursue her doctoral degree. Dr. Gumpert has taught classes at the university level for the past six years.  Dr. Gumpert earned both her M.S. degree in Education and her PhD in Education with a Concentration in Special Education from Old Dominion University. Dr. Gumpert has leadership experience in several professional organizations. She is the President of the Virginia Council for Learning Disabilities (VCLD). VCLD designed and implemented a series of six free webinars for general educators, special educators, pre-service teachers, and university faculty across Virginia. The webinars provided professional development to over 800 educators in 2020-2021. Dr. Gumpert has presented at 27 national, state, and local conferences and has several publications and manuscripts in preparation. Dr. Gumpert is a member of the Norfolk Women Leaders and serves as a board member on the Virginia Wesleyan University Elementary Education Advisory Board, the Diversity Committee for the Virginia Council for Exceptional Children, the Special Needs Advisory Board for the National Science Teachers Association, and the Reading Enriches All Children Board of Directors. Dr. Gumpert conducted her dissertation research at Chesapeake Bay Academy and is excited for the opportunity to give back to CBA through her work on the CERTI Advisory Council. Also, Dr. Gumpert is the Principal Investigator for a research team examining the relationship between special education placement and student academic outcomes.

Taryn Myers, Ph.D.
Director of Academic Effectiveness and Associate Professor of Psychology, Virginia Wesleyan University
Dr. Taryn A. Myers earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Kent State University, where she served as a Teaching Fellow and Assistant Director of the Psychological Clinic. She received her B.A. in Psychology with an interdisciplinary minor in Women's and Gender Studies from Kenyon College. A native Midwesterner, Dr. Myers completed her clinical residency at the Medical College of Georgia and the Charlie Norwood Veteran's Affairs Medical Center prior to moving to Hampton Roads in 2010. She chose to come to Virginia Wesleyan because of her passion for teaching and the liberal arts. Dr. Myers' research interests include risk and protective factors for body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. She enjoys integrating stories from her clinical work and findings from her research into her teaching to make the material come alive for students. She also engages in editorial activities for such journals as Body Image and Sex Roles. In addition, Dr. Myers enjoys sharing her research with students through independent projects and encourages them to present their work at state and national conferences. Dr. Myers is currently serving as Director of Academic Effectiveness for the University as well as Co-Chair of the Women's Issues Special Interest Group of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). She is the 2017 recipient of an Early Career Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, the 2018 recipient of the Samuel Nelson Gray Distinguished Teaching award from VWU, and the 2019 recipient of the ABCT Women's Issues Special Interest Group Early Career Award.

Mary Roberts, Ph.D., LPC-ACS, ATR-BC, ATCS
Associate Professor, Art Therapy and Counseling, Eastern Virginia Medical School
Dr. Mary Roberts began her appointment to the Graduate Art Therapy and Counseling Program at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) as Program Director and Assistant Professor on June 17, 2013 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017. She is a graduate of Eastern Virginia Medical School, with a Master of Science degree in Art Therapy in 1997 and from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art in 1995, after completing studio art foundations and sculpture work at Virginia Commonwealth University from 1991-1993. In May 2013, Dr. Roberts completed her Education Specialist degree from the Curry School at the University of Virginia. She earned her doctoral degree in Counselor Education at Old Dominion University in 2018.

Judy Jankowski, Ed.D.
Head of School, Chesapeake Bay Academy
Judy Jankowski, Ed.D., began her tenure as Head of School in 2013. Dr. Jankowski has over 35 years of experience in education, serving first as a special education teacher and later as an administrator in independent schools outside of Chicago and Washington, DC. Dr. Jankowski received her Doctorate in Education at National Louis University and completed post-graduate study in Leadership for Independent Schools at Johns Hopkins University. She currently serves on the boards of Horizons Hampton Roads, the Westminster-Canterbury Foundation, Vanguard Gifted Academy, and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) where she serves as the Board Liaison to the Advocacy committee. Most recently, Dr. Jankowski was the recipient of a Klingenstein Fellowship at the Teacher's College at Columbia University in New York City, and was selected as a 2020 Woman of Distinction in the category of Community Champion by the YWCA of South Hampton Roads.





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