Faculty and Lecturers

ECSE Faculty

Amber Friesen, Ph.D.

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Assistant Professor

Burk Hall 201

(415) 338-7654


Dr. Friesen's primary teaching responsibilities include courses in family systems and services and interventions of young children. Her primary research interests focus on supporting young children at-risk or diagnosed with disabilities and their families. Specifically, she is interested in promoting inclusive early childhood settings, early literacy development and intervention, and family partnerships.

Summer Hsia, Ph.D.

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Associate Professor and Program Coordinator

Burk Hall 148

(415) 338-2502


Dr. Hsia's primary responsibilities include teaching courses in ECSE, supervising student teachers, chairing the master’s degree students’ projects, and mentoring students in the Joint Doctoral Program. Her research interests focus on curriculum-based assessments, activity-based intervention, and issues in cultural diversity and families. She has developed international interaction and collaboration with a number of universities in Taiwan, which has provided formal opportunities to cooperate in the areas of education and research through a program of academic and cultural exchange.

Marci J. Hanson, Ph.D.

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Professor and Joint Doctoral Program Coordinator

Burk Hall 275

(415) 338-6353


Dr. Hanson's primary teaching responsibilities have included graduate courses in family systems and services, atypical infant development, atypical learning and development, and infant and preschool intervention. Her primary research interests and grant activities have centered on inclusion in early childhood education, early social-emotional development, policy in early education, and early intervention for young children who are at risk and/or disabled. Dr. Hanson has published widely in the areas of early intervention, atypical infant development, family services, cross-cultural training, and personnel preparation.

Maryssa Kucskar, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Dr. Kucskar's primary teaching responsibilities include courses in family systems, early childhood special education assessment, and early intervention. Her primary research interests focus on supporting young children at-risk and with disabilities in inclusive settings, social skills instruction, partnering with families, and activity-based intervention.

ECSE Lecturers

Rebecca Hawley

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Burk Hall 208


Sarita Santos

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Burk Hall 208

Kathleen Small

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Burk Hall 208

Lisa Verne (Wadors)

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Burk Hall 203

Kristan Stewart-Henry


Kristan is a student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University. She currently teaches an undergraduate Special Education course. Her research interests focus on the relationships between young children and their caregivers as well as the relationships between caregivers and professionals, especially within services that are provided in the home. More specifically, she is interested in identifying strategies for professionals to effectively partner with culturally diverse families and engage in family-centered practices.

Kimberly Knodel


Kimberly is a second-year doctoral student in the joint doctoral program in special education with an emphasis on early childhood. Kimberly's research interests focus on social emotional development, promoting early childhood inclusive settings, and developing resilience in the child and caregiver. Kimberly has worked in the field of early childhood special education as a special education teacher, early intervention teacher, and behavioral therapist. Kimberly has experience working and researching in the field of ECSE internationally and throughout the states.

Jetta Jacobson


Jetta is a lecturer for courses on inclusive practices, partnering with families, and culturally responsive and equitable education.  She is an SFSU alumni holding a M.A. and teaching credential in Early Childhood Special Education. She taught in a fully inclusive preschool for 20 years and now supports teachers and provides professional development for SF Unified School District as an Instructional Coach and Inclusion Program Specialist. She is passionate about progressive education, creating successful inclusive classrooms, equity and compassion in education, child-initiated, project-based learning, and supporting teachers' professional journeys.