Nicholson Recommendation

January 5, 2011

To whom it may concern,

I am writing with pleasure to provide a professional recommendation for Liza Sullivan. I met Liza in February 2010 when we were both presenting papers at the Conference on the Value of Play in Clemson, South Carolina. I was immediately impressed with Liza’s extensive knowledge and experience in the field of early childhood, her positive energy and professionalism. Recognizing the tremendous assets Liza could bring to our research team, Dr. Priya Shimpi and I invited Liza to join us as a Principal Investigator for an international study we were launching in July, 2011, the Global Play Memories Project. We were thrilled when she accepted this role and as a result, we have been working closely with Liza for almost a year as research partners.

Liza is an exceptional colleague and it has been a true joy to work with her. Liza was asked to direct the Intergenerational Play Talk Project in collaboration with the Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM), a research project documenting children and families in dialogue together about their experiences and beliefs about play. Liza was responsible for all aspects of the research design for the IPT project, outreach to the community, communication and planning with the CCM administration and ongoing data collection and data management. She will be part of future presentations and publications resulting from this work.

Liza has a wide range of strengths that I have observed first hand in our collaborative work together. One of her most salient assets is with communication in verbal, written and digital contexts. Liza is articulate, thoughtful, effective and gracious. She thinks very deeply about ideas, shows tremendous commitment to working in a collegial manner, and expresses her ideas clearly while remaining continuously open to listening to others and expanding her perspectives. Liza is very conscientious and responsible and follows up with every commitment she makes to her colleagues. She is caring, has a wonderful sense of humor and exudes a joyful and respectful manner in all of her interactions with others. She confidently displays leadership and initiative when appropriate yet also humbly places herself in a learner’s stance and widely acknowledges others’ strengths and abilities. Liza has a very solid understanding of research and best practices in child development, early childhood curriculum and pedagogy, family engagement/parent education and professional development and fluidly connects academic theories to contextualized narratives of practice. Everything that Liza works on is completed with attention to detail and high standards for quality.

Liza Sullivan is the type of colleague that we all feel thankful to work with and know. Her caring, skilled and positive presence would greatly enhance any organization. I would be more than happy to speak with you further if you have any questions about my experiences working with Liza.

With kindest regards,

Julie Nicholson, Ph.D.

Director, Leadership Program in Early Childhood

School of Education, Mills College

Oakland, California