Robert A. Southworth, Jr., Ed.D., President

Rob Southworth is the principal investigator at The SchoolWorks Lab, Inc.

Dr. Southworth has a deep knowledge of educational policy, rigorous research, K-12 school reform, authentic assessment and job-embedded professional development.

Dr. Southworth’s school reform strategies such as arts integration depends on the trust established between teaching artists and teachers. Peer-to-peer professional development and gatherings are needed to exchange ideas about instructional excellence and to share the latest research findings. Dr. Southworth has honed his project management skills into professional discussions in a multi-model approach to prepare, support and launch instructional excellence.

Dr. Southworth has taught at Teachers College Columbia University, the Bank Street College of Education. He has worked with the United States Department of Education on four AEMDD grants, the New York State Regents to change state testing and assessment, the New York State Council on the Arts as their evaluator, the Rochester City School District to conduct two of those AEMDD grants, and with the Brooklyn Philharmonic on two other AEMDD grants. Dr. Southworth has worked with New Hampshire’s Department of Education in a working group on arts integration, the Americans for the Arts to conduct a conversation on research, San Diego Department of Education to construct a 9th grade diagnostic test, and other districts and schools across the country. Most recently, Dr. Southworth has been the evaluator for the Center for Creative Education’s Arts for Literacy in Palm Beach County.

Dr. Southworth works to improve equity and access for all students and to help all students find multiple pathways to college and career success: “The goal of equity and access in helping disadvantaged populations is one of the most important priorities in our educational system. We have to model that we are the guardians of every student’s intellectual growth. Arts Integration can help!”

Laura Reeder, Ph.D., Senior Consulting Researcher

Laura K. Reeder is an arts education consultant and teaching artist who guides teachers, artists,  leaders, community arts advocates, and young people to access their creative abilities and overcome obstacles in many situations. Clients enlist her expertise as a skilled organizer and trainer for developing arts, educational, and social programs and curriculum. She was Curriculum Coordinator for nine years with the Creative Classroom Collaboratives USDOE research project while also teaching arts education at Boston University and Massachusetts College of Art & Design. Laura was Executive Director of Partners for Arts Education, an advocate with Americans for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts, as well as a teaching artist with Lincoln Center Institute for Aesthetic Education and the Kennedy Center. She has presented widely and her publications can be found in Art Education: The Journal of the National Art Education Association, The Teaching Artist Journal, The Journal of Social Theory and Art Education, and many more. More information can be found at

Elizabeth Hallmark, Ph.D., Senior Consulting Researcher

Elizabeth Hallmark is a curriculum designer and project manager with a focus on creating innovative curricula and arts-integrated programming. She has served a four-year term on the Rochester City School District’s Board of Education and was a member of New York State’s recent Arts Learning Standards Review Committee. Hallmark taught arts-integrated curriculum design at the University of Rochester’s Warner School for nearly a decade. As a teaching artist with Young Audiences, Empire State Partnerships, Aesthetic Institute, and Wolf Trap Early Learning for the Arts, Hallmark coached many non-artist teachers on how to incorporate performing arts in their teaching. She has a passion for developing engaging content for students as well as improving educators’ collaborative skills with art professionals in the practice of high-quality arts integration. Dr. Hallmark’s writing on arts and education has been published in Arts Education Policy Review and the Teaching Artist Journal. She holds a Bachelors from Mount Holyoke College, a Masters from Antioch/New England, and a Ph.D. from University of Rochester.