Courtney Zulauf-McCurdy, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, SMART Center
  • Biography
  • Projects
  • Publications

Courtney is a second-year fellow at the University of Washington SMART Center. She earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed a clinical internship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In her work, she takes an ecological approach to child development by increasing positive relationships between parents, teachers, and providers and empowering them to work together to support child development. Her research is focused on discovering ways to reduce health disparities for young children from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Through a community-partnered approach we will iteratively develop and deliver a parent-teacher relationship intervention at local preschools that serve historically marginalized children and families. The current project will:
  • Aim 1. Identify barriers and facilitators that influence parent engagement and teachers perceptions of parents (Method: Needs Assessment and Focus groups with parents and school staff),
  • Aim 2. Identify strategies to improve parent engagement and teachers’ perceptions of parents (Method: Community Advisory Board) and
  • Aim 3. Test the acceptability and feasibility of the identified engagement strategies with historically marginalized families and schools (Method: Rapid Prototyping with schools as they deliver a parent-teacher relationship building intervention to improve social, emotional, and educational outcomes for children from historically under-represented backgrounds).
(non-research) The SMART Center Postdoctoral Research Training Program in School Mental Health is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences (IES).The fellowship’s areas of focus align with those of the SMART Center and include research-based school behavioral health strategies and policies, implementation science, educational equity, clinical research methodology, and understanding and reducing ethnic and racial disparities.
A qualitative examination of the parent-teacher relationship and preschool expulsion: capturing the voices of caregivers(2022)Infants and Young Children
How teachers’ perceptions of the parent-teacher relationship affect children’s risk for early childhood expulsion(2020)Psychology in the Schools
Forestalling preschool expulsion: a mixed-method exploration of the potential protective role of teachers’ perceptions of parents(2019)American Educational Research Journal
Early risk pathways to physical versus relational peer aggression: the interplay of externalizing behavior and harsh parental discipline varies by child sex(2018)Aggressive Behavior44(2):209-220.