College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University
Graduate School of Education - George Mason University

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PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Assistant Professor
Elementary Education PK-6
Human Development and Family Science

Contact Information

Send email to Ms. Levine-Brown

Phone: (703) 993-5345
Fax: (703) 993-2013

George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
Thompson Hall 1804
4400 University Dr.
MS 4B3
Fairfax, VA 22030


Elizabeth (Betsy) Levine Brown is in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at George Mason University as an Assistant Professor since August 2011. Grounded in an ecological systems perspective (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), Brown's research and scholarship focuses on developmental (i.e., social and emotional) and psychosocial influences on learning for marginalized children across PreK-12 schooling. Specifically, her agenda investigates the developmental and psychosocial competencies (e.g., socio-emotional, school mental health) of teachers and students that shape children and youth’s developmental and academic outcomes over time. With over 40% of U.S. children living in low-income families (Jiang, Granja, & Koball, 2017), coupled with staggering turnover rates in education, Brown's research centers on exploring these concepts among diverse, low-income communities particularly in our most vulnerable schools. Dr. Brown affiliates with Elementary Education (ELED) and Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) programs and teaches courses in child development, curriculum, foundations, research methods and individual and family development.

Dr. Brown received her PhD. in Applied Developmental Psychology (ADP) from the University of Pittsburgh, her MA in Psychology from Washington College, her MAT in Elementary Education from American University and her BA in Psychology and Educational Studies from Colgate University. Professionally, Dr. Levine Brown taught elementary school for five years from 2002-2007. As an alumnus of the Teach for America program, she taught first and second grades at Simon Elementary School in Washington, DC as well as Matapeake Elementary School in Stevensville, MD

Research Interests

  1. Developmental and psychosocial influences on learning
  2. Social and emotional development, wellness, competence and learning
  3. School mental health
  4. Teacher education

Recent Publications


  1. Vesely, C. V., Brown, E. L., & Mehta, S. (2017). Developing cultural humility through experiential learning: How home visits transform early childhood pre-service educators’ attitudes for diverse family engagement. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.
  2. Brown, E. L., Vesely, C. K., Mahatmya, D. & Visconti, K. (2017). Emotional interactions: How preschool teachers’ emotional labor predicts interactions with young children. Early Child Development and Care. DOI:
  3. Brown, E. L., Weston, K., Rogers, S., & Phillippo, K. (2017). Preparing the teaching workforce for school mental health promotion. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 10(1), 1-4.
  4. Ball, A., Iachini, A. L., Bohnenkamp, J. H., Togno, N. M., Brown, E. L., Hoffman, J. A., & George, M. W. (2016). School mental health content in state in-service K-12 teaching standards in the United States. Teaching and Teacher Education, 60, 312-320.
  5. Brown, E. L., Mahatmya, D., & Vesely, C. (2016). Home and school influences on the behavioral and academic competence of low-income children of color. Journal of Children and Poverty, 22(2), 92-112.
  6. Mahatmya, D., Lohman, B. J., Brown, E. L., & Conway, J. (2016). The perceived future educational success of low-income African American and Latino students: The role of race, gender, and teachers’ cultural sensitivity. Social Psychology of Education, 19(2), 1-23.
  7. Parker, A., Parsons, S., Groth, L., & Brown, E. L. (2016). Pathways to partnership: A developmental framework for building PDS relationships. School-University Partnerships, 9(3), 34-48.
  8. Brown, E. L., Vesely, C. V., & Dallman, L. (2016). It’s a process: Strategies for developing cultural humility in early childhood and elementary teacher candidates. The Teacher Educators’ Journal, 9, 75-96.
  9. Iachini, A., Brown, E. L., Ball, A., Gibson, J. E., & Lize, S. E. (2015). School mental health, early intervention supports, and academic outcomes:  A systematic review. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 8(3), 156-175.
  10. Brown, E. L., Suh, J., Parsons, S. A., Parker, A., & Ramirez, E. M. (2015). Documenting teacher candidates’ professional growth through performance evaluation. Journal of Research in Education, 25(1), 35-56.
  11. Kerr, M. M., & Brown, E. L. (2015). Preventing school failure for teachers, revisited: Special educators explore their emotional labor. Preventing School Failure, 60(2), 143-151. 
  12. Brown, E. L., Valenti, M. W., & Kerr, M. M. (2015). Building emotional supports: How teachers’ emotional labor informs therapeutic alliances for youth with emotional and behavioral disorders. Report on Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in Youth, 15, 4-9. Published in a peer-reviewed special issue.
  13. Brown, E. L., Horner, C. G., Kerr, M. M., & Scanlon, C. (2014). United States teachers’ emotional labor and professional identities. Korean Journal of Educational Policy, 11(2), 205-225.
  14. Garner, P., Mahatmya, D., Brown, E. L., & Vesely, C. (2014). Promoting desirable outcomes among culturally and ethnically diverse children in social emotional learning programs: A multi-level heuristic model. Educational Psychology Review. DOI 10.1007/s10648-014-9253-7
  15. Vesely, C., Brown, E. L., & Mahatmya, D. (2013). It takes two: Sensitive caregiving across contexts and children's social, emotional, and academic outcomes. Early Education & Development, 24(7), 960-978.
  16. Brown, E. L., Kanny, M. A., & Johnson, B. (2013). School settings as a mechanism of change: Establishing high-risk adolescents’ academic identities. Journal of Early Adolescence, 34(2), 178-205.
  17. Brown, E. L., & Valenti, M. W. (2013). Merging pathways: The interdisciplinary study of emotional labor and therapeutic alliances in schools. The Community Psychologist, 46(2), 35-37.
  18. Pizzolato, J. E., Brown, E. L., & Kanny, M. A. (2012). Purpose plus: Supporting youth purpose, control, and academic achievement. In N. Goam & N. Fiore (Eds.), New Directions in Youth Development: Supporting and Instructing for Youth Purpose, 2011(132), 75-88.
  19. Pizzolato, J., Hicklen, S., Brown, E. L., & Chaudhari, P. (2009). Student development, student learning: Examining the relation between epistemological development & learning. Journal of College Student Development, 50(5), 475-490.


  1. Brown, E. L., Sprague, D., Ross, J., Leith, K., Byun, E.*, & Wood, H.* (2013). It takes a village: Relearning our PDS roles through an ecological, collaborative model. In (Eds. K. Zenkov, D. G. Corrigan, R. S. Beebe, & C. R. Sell), Professional Development Schools and Social Justice: Schools and Universities Partnering to Make a Difference (pp. 171-190). Landham, MD: Lexington Books.
  2. Parsons, S. A., Groth, L. A., Parker, A. K., Brown, E. L., Sell, C., & Sprague, D. (2014). Elementary teacher preparation at George Mason University: Evolution of our program. In R. Flessner, & D. Lecklider (Eds.), Case studies of clinical preparation in teacher education (pp. 1-20). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.


Other Information


Grants Funded

  1. Brown, E.L., & Vesely, C.K. (2013).   Early childhood educators’ emotional labor and well-being. Center for the Advancement of Well-being, George Mason University, $32,083Role: Co-PI
  2. Vesely, C.K., & Brown, E.L. (2013). Early childhood educators’ emotional labor and well-being. Seed grant. College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University, $3,000.  Role: Co-PI
  3. Brown, E. L. (2013). Emotion matters: The effects of early childhood educators’ emotional labor on well-being. Mason University Summer Research Funding, Top Recipient, George Mason University.  $4,900Role: PI
  4. Brown, E. L. (2011). Emotions matter: Exploring the emotional labor of teachers. Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh. $10,000.  Role: PI
  5. Brown, E. L. (2010). American Educational Research Association, Division E: Emerging Graduate Scholars Fellow.
  6. Brown, E. L. (2010). Intervening for success: Developing skills for achieving diverse, low-income youths’ possible selves. Alumni Grant, University of Pittsburgh, School of Education. $5,000Role: PI
  7. Brown, E. L., (2009). “I am who I am because of here”: School settings as a mechanism of change for high-risk adolescents. Council of Graduate Students of Education Supplemental Research Grant, University of Pittsburgh.  $500Role: PI
  8. Brown, E. L., & Pizzolato, J. (2008). Decision-making and self regulation skills established for at risk adolescents through an intervention program. Faculty/Student Research Fund, University of Pittsburgh, School of Education.  $1,500.  Role: Co-PI

Grants In Review

  1. Brown, E. L., Valenti, M., Mellin, E., Bettini, E., & Mahatmya, D. (August, 2017). Collaborative communities in special education: How school networks and social and personal resources inform effective educator collaboration and positive student outcomes. United States Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, Revision. $1,378,323.00Role: Co-PI
  2. Montreuil, T., Rodger, S., Brown, E. L., & Hibbert, K. (September, 2017). Learning, leading and staying: Teacher retention in the 21st century. James S McDonnell Foundation.  $1,760,000.00  Role: Co-PI

Grants In Preparation

  1. Brown, E. L. & Valenti, M. W. (January, 2018). Emotional alliance: Improving special educators’ emotional competencies to improve educator effectiveness and stability. Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.  $178,980.00Role: Co-PI. Letter of Intent submitted in April, 2017 and full proposal submitted in January, 2018.

Grants Unfunded

  1. Brown, E. L., Valenti, M., & Mahatmya, D. (2016). Working alliances: Exploring the malleable factors of educator relationships to promote quality inclusive classrooms and student outcomes. United States Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences.  $847,824.57Role: Co-PI
  2. Taylor, L., Weist, M., Mellin, E., & Brown, E. L. (2012). Exploring teacher identification of traumatized youth. United States Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences.  $913,421.00  Role: Co-PI

Honors and Reserch Awards

2016    Program Recipient, National Association of Professional Development Schools Award for Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement

2015    Early Career Faculty and Researchers Award Nominee, American Educational Research Association, Division E

2015    Distinguished Research Award Nominee, American Educational Research Association, Division E

2014    Program Recipient, Association of Teacher Educators’ Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Award

2014    Program Nominee, National Association of Professional Development Schools Award for Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement

              2013    Center for Advancement of Well-being, Fellow, Fall 2013-present

2012    Recipient, Longview Global Education for Teachers Collaborative Scholar, George Mason University and American University.  $250.00.[1]**

2010    Predoctoral fellowship, University of Pittsburgh.  $10,000.

2009    Receipient, Council of Graduate Students of Education Travel Grant, School of Education.  $175.  Role: PI

              2008    Alumni Grant Recipient, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh. $5,000.