The International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) is an international association of laboratory and university affiliated schools engaged in practices of teacher training, curriculum development, research, professional development, and educational experimentation for the purpose of supporting member’s schools and as a voice speaking for the improvement of learning for all children.
Traditionally laboratory schools' commitment has been to assist in preparing teachers while delivering quality instructional programs for children in the classroom. These schools are affiliated with a college or university for specific purposes that go beyond the scope of traditional public and private institutions. Over the years, the laboratory schools have changed to reflect the diverse needs of the teaching professional and have often led the way in improving the science and art of teaching.
IALS was formerly NALS
After more than 50 years as the National Association of Laboratory Schools (NALS), and a brief period as NALS: The International Association of Laboratory and University Affiliated Schools, our organization's Board of Directors decided to change the name to the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS). The acronym IALS better reflects our current global membership and goals for future expansion. Under all three names, we intentionally take a very broad definition of "laboratory schools" as including campus-based schools, and others with diverse university affiliations, such as charter schools, professional development schools, child study institutes, research and development schools, etc.
To honor the long history and significant impact of the National Association of Laboratory Schools (NALS), we have preserved the name NALS on documents generated under that name. Notice the newsletter names on the Publications page as a clear example of that convention.
Board of Directors
Meet our Team
Wade Smith has been the Superintendent of the LSU Laboratory School since 2002. Prior to that, he taught higher education and educational leadership courses at Auburn University. Wade was a middle school principal for 13 years and taught biology and chemistry for 11 years. He maintains an active research agenda focusing upon school effectiveness and school improvement.
LSU Laboratory School
Patricia Elizabeth Diebold has for the past 30 years dedicated her educational career to being a teacher and administrator. Her teaching experiences were both in public and private schools. Prior to recently retiring from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Patricia served for over fifteen years as the Assistant and then the Director of Miller Laboratory School and Campus Child Care Center on the Edinboro University campus. She then served the University for six years as the Assistant to the Dean of Arts and Sciences.
Miller Laboratory School and Campus Child Care Center
Elizabeth Morley is Principal of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School at the University of Toronto where she leads a unique school that has substantial impact on public policy through its research and its practice. The school has a long history of exemplary practice from Kindergarten through the Elementary grades. Ms. Morley has credentials in Early Childhood Education and in Elementary Teaching and began her career teaching young children. At the University of Toronto, she has researched effective programming in the early years, and has been involved in the education of teachers who work with young children. In 2011, she was part of a team that published a book, Natural Curiosity, about the school’s inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning. The book is in the hands of teachers in every school in Ontario, Canada, and in other schools around the world.
Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School at the University of Toronto
Center for University Outreach at Carnegie Mellon University
Jean Thompson Bird grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in Child Development. She taught in the Children’s School for seven years and then continued to work part-time for the DASH project (Developmental Approaches to Science, Health, and Technology), which was a part of the Center for University Outreach at Carnegie Mellon University. She returned to the Children’s School staff thirteen years ago as an extended morning teacher and has been teaching Extended Morning and the Older 4’s class full time since 2005. Music, woodworking, science, and exploring books and stories are some of Jean’s favorite activities to do with children. Jean is active in the mission and outreach work of Waverly Church, including directing the Children & Youth Ministry program and teaching early childhood classes. She especially enjoys performing in and producing the Waverly Opera House, a yearly melodramatic show that raises funds for youth programming. Jean’s husband Jim adds some cool factor into the family as a rock and roll guitar and bass player for the cover band, SpinCycle. Jean and Jim have three daughters. Emilie and Ahleajha are students at the Community College of Allegheny County. Darrah is a second year graduate student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and recently married PJ Pfueffer. Darrah and Emilie both have fond memories of the Children’s School as alumni.
Nicolás Ramos has been a teacher for the past 15 years. He taught English for six years at a public high school before he began working at the University of Puerto Rico Secondary School, where he continues to teach 7th Grade English and Civics Education. Nicolás received a Bachelor degree in Secondary Education at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Later he obtained a Master of Arts at the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan. In December 2009 Nicolás completed a Juris Doctorate at the University of Puerto Rico. When he’s not working at the school, Nicolás enjoys sightseeing and traveling.
University of Puerto Rico Secondary School
Starpoint School at TCU and KinderFrogs School at TCU
Marilyn Tolbert, Director and Jean W. Roach Chair of Laboratory Schools at Texas Christian University. Marilyn is the director of two laboratory schools on the campus of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas – Starpoint School and KinderFrogs School. Starpoint School is a private school for children ages 6 to eleven diagnosed with learning differences. KinderFrogs School is an educational program serving children ages 18 months to 6 years of age with Down syndrome and other developmental delays. KinderFrogs also serves a small number of typically developing children. Prior to KinderFrogs School, she was the Education Director for River Legacy Living Science Center and the PreSchool Director for River Legacy Nature School. She was a principal and kindergarten/first grade teacher in public schools for six years. Prior to her educational experience, she worked in business for 20 years before embarking on her educational career. Marilyn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Texas Christian University, a Masters of Science degree in Administration from TCU, and an Educational Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership from TCU. She serves on the board of Kauffman Leadership Academy, the board of the Green Oaks School, is past president of the Down Syndrome Partnership of Tarrant County and is on the board and holds the position President of the National Down Syndrome Congress. When she is not advocating for and on behalf of children and their families, she loves to travel, read, and spend time with family and friends.
The Kilby Laboratory School located at the University of North Alabama
Dr. Eric Kirkman
Originally from Panama City, Florida, Dr. Kirkman is a graduate of Rutherford High School. He came to Alabama on a full music Scholarship from the University of North Alabama in 1992. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education in the fall of 1997, and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from UNA in the summer of 2000. He received his Doctorate Degree in Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in the summer of 2009.
While at UNA, Eric was the lead trumpeter and featured soloist in the marching, jazz and concert bands. He was also the director of the Ascending Voices Gospel Choir for three years. Eric is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Eric also served a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Engagement at UNA, where he assisted with Greek-letter organizations, University Program Council and Student Organization Operations. One of his most cherished memories of UNA involved his selection as “University Man of the Year” in 1997.
Dr. Kirkman’s educational experience spans over 19 years, serving as a choral and band director at the elementary, secondary and college levels. Prior to retiring from band directing and moving into an administrative role, Dr. Kirkman was named the 2012 State of Alabama Secondary “Teacher of the Year” for District 7. He was also named the University of North Alabama Alumni Educator of the Year for 2012. Dr. Kirkman has served as a career tech coordinator, a vice-principal and a principal while in Sheffield City Schools. Dr. Kirkman is currently an assistant professor and the Director of The Kilby Laboratory School located at the University of North Alabama. Since being at Kilby, Dr. Kirkman has led his school to be recognized as an Alabama Bicentennial School of Excellence and a National Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School of Excellence. In addition, he is the Worship Leader at Highland Baptist Church, Broadway Campus of Florence, Alabama.
Dr. Kirkman’s work at UNA has involved mentoring and counseling young education students on the importance of professionalism and leaving a legacy for those younger students who will come behind them. These conversations were emphasized while serving as a guest speaker for many of the pre-service education classes. Eric has also served as a panelist and session facilitator for programs here on campus that were designed to provide participants with premier interview techniques and career preparation for upcoming educators and soon-to-be graduates. As an homage to his love for Greek life, Dr. Kirkman has recently assumed the role of Chapter Advisor for the Kappa Gamma Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha on campus. It is his hope that he will continue the work of preparing young professionals for the workplace while recruiting more minorities for the field of education. Perhaps one of Dr. Kirkman’s greatest joys is knowing that one of his former high school students went on to become an employee of the University all while in the process of obtaining his second college degree; all of this being achieved as a FIRST-GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENT! Dr. Kirkman has been quoted saying “I don’t sell dreams, I only provide the tools and cultivate the work ethic that allows others to build their dreams for themselves.”
Dr. Kirkman’s most recent research pursuits involve exploring intra-professional collaborations as various agencies work together to engage the crisis of poverty among the families of school-aged students. Another ongoing project involves exploring S.T.E.A.M. education as it pertains to the preparation of pre-service teachers for S.T.E.A.M. classrooms in the workplace. It is his intent to publish by fall, 2020.
Lastly, Dr. Kirkman is the husband of Dr. Tera Kirkman, who is the Associate Dean of Nursing at the University of North Alabama. They have two sons, Jalen and Justin.
Konnie Serr is the 1st grade teacher at Grace B Luhrs University Elementary School, as well as Assistant Professor in the college of Education at Shippensburg University. Along with teaching 1st grade she plays an active role supervising student teachers and pre-service teachers in the department of Teacher Ed. Konnie has been at the Lab school for the past 7 years. Previous to that, she taught Kindergarten, 1st , and 3rd grades for the Shippensburg public school system. She has attended and the IALS conference every year since coming to the lab school and served as A member of the Board of Directors 2011 – 2014.
Grace B Luhrs University Elementary School
Chriss Bogert just completed her 5th year as Vice-Principal at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School, University of Toronto. Chriss graduated from the teacher education program at JICS in 1994 and has since been a teacher, parent, and administrator at the Lab School. She taught Junior Kindergarten for the Lab School at the University of Western Ontario, and worked as a supply teacher for public schools, before returning to teach the Nursery program at JICS. Chriss was the Teacher Librarian and Technology Integrator for 5 years, and also served as Vice President and President on the JICS Parents’ Association. A long-time proponent of the importance of supporting educational research, Chriss served as the research coordinator for many years, chaired the inaugural Child Research Review Committee for the Lab School after establishing written policies and practices in 2003, and has worked hard in her role as Vice Principal to fulfill the purpose of the lab school through seeking out and supporting collaborations with researchers at the University of Toronto and beyond. Chriss is also a PhD student at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) studying how to best foster engagement and motivation with learning.