Kelly Ferris- Board Chair 

Kelly is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with 15 years of experience working with children with autism. She earned her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Washington in 2003. Her clinical expertise includes early intervention for toddlers, instructional design, functional communication intervention with speech generating devices, elementary academic instruction, and positive behavior support for children and their families.  She has worked with children with autism and their families as a Program Manager at Northwest Behavioral Associates, Program Director for Rising Star Academy at Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) of Washington, and a Consultant with Fabrizio/Moors Consulting.

Kelly currently resides in Seattle, Washington where she is co-owner and a Clinical Services Supervisor for the Organization for Research and Learning (O.R.L.).   She is Conference Chair for Washington’s Association for Behavior Analysis, Past Vice-President, and a current Board Member of the Standard Celeration Society, a special interest group of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI).

Kelly has presented numerous data-based papers related to her clinical work with children with autism and other related disabilities at a range of state, regional, national and international conferences, including California’s Association for Behavior Analysis, Association for Behavior Analysis International, and the International Precision Teaching Conference. Kelly has published her applied work with children with autism in the Journal of Precision Teaching and Celeration and the Journal of Speech Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis.

Kelly is a sustaining member of the Standard Celeration Society, a full-member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), the Association for Professional Behavior Analysis (APBA), and Washington’s Association for Behavior Analysis (WABA).


Carl Binder 

Dr. Carl Binder began as a doctoral student in Experimental Psychology, attending Harvard University at the invitation of B.F. Skinner, whose writings had inspired him deeply. With an interest in making a societal contribution, he rapidly shifted from basic research to real world application of behavior science, first developing innovative instructional methods and teacher training for educators, and later contributing to the emerging field of human performance technology in large organizations.  With input from many extraordinary teachers and colleagues, Carl has spent nearly 40 years bringing his enthusiasm for behavior science into corporations, schools, and public organizations worldwide.  Founder of four consulting firms, recipient of career awards from the American Psychological Association and the International Society for Performance Improvement, prolific author and speaker, Carl believes that the Performance Thinking Network is his best opportunity yet for making a contribution.  His ability to synthesize information from multiple fields, communicate complex ideas in plain English to non-specialists, and build excitement about making a difference with behavior science bring an intellectual and emotional spark-plug to The Performance Thinking Network.


Kent Johnson 

Dr. Kent Johnson is founder and Director of Morningside Academy, in Seattle. Morningside is a laboratory school for typical children and youth, investigates effective curricula and teaching methods, and has provided training to over 125 schools throughout the world.

Dr. Johnson’s many publications about research-based curriculum and teaching methods include The Morningside Model of Generative Instruction, and Response to Intervention and Precision Teaching with Dr. Elizabeth Street. Over 40,000 students and over 1,000 teachers have implemented Morningside’s Generative Instruction model.

Dr. Johnson is recipient of the Award for Public Service in Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, the Anderson Award for Exemplary Contributions to Behavioral Education from the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, the Award for Excellence in Evidence-based Education from the Wing Institute, the Allyn and Bacon Exemplary Program Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, and the Lindsley Lifetime Achievement Award in Precision Teaching from the Standard Celeration Society.


Chuck Merbitz 

Dr. Merbitz has 15 years of full-time experience teaching at the university level, 12 years as a full-time researcher on learning in rehabilitation, and two years of full-time experience in service delivery as a certified school psychologist. He also served as director of the Center for Disability Resources at IIT for nine years, where he was responsible for all disability accommodations provided by the university. Dr. Merbitz has a national reputation in the rehabilitation and behavioral communities and is widely cited on issues in functional assessment. His current research involves objective process measures for relating clinical interventions in rehabilitation to outcomes and outcome measures (Merbitz, Morris and Grip 1989; Merbitz, 1996).

Dr. Merbitz has published numerous articles, two books, and has served as reviewer for NIDRR (the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research) and the journals Stroke, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Behavior Research Methods Instruments and Computers, Journal of Precision Teaching, and The Behavior Analyst. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers, for whom he helped, write SCI treatment standards.

Dr. Merbitz recently completed a term as president of the Chicago Association for Behavior Analysis and simultaneously of BASIL, the Behavior Analysis Society of Illinois. He served on an advisory board of the Illinois Assistive Technology Project and the Governor’s Task Force on Human Services Reform in Illinois. Dr. Merbitz received a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1975.

Mary Schmidt 

Mary Schmidt, Ph.D. currently serves as a consultant for Milwaukee Succeeds and Milwaukee Public Schools, working to improve elementary school students’ reading outcomes district-wide by implementing a scalable, teacher-professional development and coaching model. She is also the founder of Tosa Learning Center in Wauwatosa, WI, which for 10 years has contracted with parents to provide effective instruction for their children.

Previously, Mary partnered with Elizabeth Haughton, Carl Binder, and Kris Melroe to increase school-wide reading and math performance using Haughton Learning Center, Morningside Academy, and Headsprout programming, together with the design and implementation of a school-wide monitoring plan, at St. Anthony School, Milwaukee, WI (the largest, K-12, Catholic school in the nation).

She has served as an adjunct instructor, recently teaching Pediatric Psychology at UW-Milwaukee, and previously teaching Statistics at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. She enjoyed teaching department managers to count outcomes important to their results as a Process Improvement Analyst at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, FL.

Mary was introduced to behavior analysis as an undergraduate in Jay Moore’s Experimental Analysis of Behavior laboratory at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She earned her Ph.D. in Urban Education at UWM, under Caren Wesson (a student of Stan Deno), and her M.Ed. in Exceptional Education at University of Washington, as Tom Lovitt’s student, also studying with Owen White.

Mary feels very fortunate to call herself a member of the precision teaching community, and especially so to have Elizabeth Haughton as her close and dear mentor.

Mary has diverse interests, but many are connected by the universal utility of measurement science. Mary loves to turn people on to ‘Celeration, because she loves to help them learn, and to achieve better contact with the things they value.