Meet our SMARTS Executive Function Trainers

Jane Gertler, Ed.D., is the former Director of The Office of Teaching and Learning at The Churchill School and Center, a K – 12 school for students with learning disabilities in New York City. Dr. Gertler was responsible for designing and reviewing curricula, leading professional development, and developing a parent educational network. Her areas of expertise and interest include differentiated instruction and executive function strategies. Prior to working at The Churchill School and Center, Dr. Gertler spent more than 20 years as a public school administrator in Westchester, serving as Director of Special Education and then Director of Curriculum, Assessment and Professional Development. She holds a B.S. from Cornell University, a Master’s in Education from New York University, and a Doctorate in School Administration from Fordham University.


Mindy Scirri, Ph.D., is a learning (dis)ability specialist and consultant in private practice and former Chair and Professor of Education. In addition to training future and current general and special education teachers, her career has centered around working with children and young adults and their families to successfully navigate school and special education systems; develop lifelong academic and career strategies and skills, emphasizing executive function strategies; practice mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques; and, ultimately, build confidence and the capacity for self-knowledge and self-advocacy. Dr. Scirri also homeschools her daughter and is a content writer for homeschooling curriculum and resource websites.


Julie Dunstan, Ph.D., has worked for more than 3 decades in both early childhood and learning-related settings. She has conducted public policy research on child development, family needs, addictions, learning differences and general education. She has served on numerous professional bodies, advisory boards and governmental commissions.

Julie has taught undergraduate courses in psychology, and lectured at the graduate level in psychology, education and organizational development. She has presented at international conferences including the AOGPE, AEA, IARLD and the Annual Learning Differences conference at Harvard. Julie recently co-authored a chapter for, and assisted with the editing of the book Executive Function in Education: From Research to Practice, edited by Dr. Lynn Meltzer (2018).

Julie has been the driving force in the development of innovative programs including: the ICAN Programme for children with math-related difficulties; and the I PLAY Programme which promotes phonological skills in preschool. Most recently, she retired as The Reading Clinic’s Executive Director to spearhead reFLEXions, an initiative designed to develop Flexible Mindsets for self-directed learning. The reFLEXions team is conducting longitudinal research on emerging executive function processes and related learning. The team has also created resources for families and schools, including children’s stories and guides for educators. Julie believes all learners can develop a sense of competence and be adaptive in responding to a complex and ever-changing world.