Gesell Staff

Peg Oliveira, PhD

Executive Director

Dr. Peg Oliveira is a child development expert and an activist. Since receiving her doctorate in developmental psychology from Brandeis University in 2000, Peg has advocated for fair pay for early childhood educators, child care assistance for working parents and equitable access to high quality education. Peg brings the work of Gesell to educators and parents in approachable and humorous seminars and webinars.

Peg is a member the Board of Directors of the Becket Chimney Corners YMCA, and serves as founding director of 108 Monkeys, a yoga service organization.

Click here to access Peg's CV

What do you enjoyed most about working at Gesell?

"The inspiration I get from my conversations with teachers and parents. From the grown ups I work with I have learned a great deal about how to connect with kids, how to imagine their intentions, understand their motivations, and empathize with their impeccable choices.”

How have you seen Gesell’s theory of child development at work in your own life?

“When my daughter was finishing Kindergarten we were told that, unlike her peers, she was not falling in love with reading. It was suggested that some literacy supports might be useful over the summer break. So... as a family we went swimming, crab catching, sea shell gathering, mountain climbing and camping! At some point during these excursions, I found her one rainy afternoon holed up in a blanket fort. She was reading The Trumpet of the Swan, a book I had read to her numerous times before. Dr. Arnold Gesell encouraged us to see each child as a unique being, and to allow them to find their own path & pace through the rituals of child development. Keeping this in mind allowed me to get out of the way, to put my own anxieties on the shelf and allow my daughter the space to find the deep connection she now has with story.”


Bailey Woods, M.Ed.

Education Programs Manager

Bailey Woods, M.Ed. is the Education Programs Manager for the Gesell Program in Early Childhood at the Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine at Yale University. In this role, she leads Gesell’s research and training for the Gesell Assessment System. Her work focuses on informing educators, pediatricians and therapists in the latest research on how children learn and grow.

Bailey attended Western Kentucky University for her bachelor’s degree, and went on to receive a master’s degree in education with a curriculum and instruction concentration from Fresno State University. During her 13 years as an educator, in private and public schools, she has taught 2 year olds through 5th grade. She has worked with Gesell as a trainer since 2015.

Jade Greene

Education Programs Administrator

Jade Greene is the Education Programs Administrator for the Gesell Program in Early Childhood. With over ten years of teaching experience in early childhood, her passion for play-based learning pours into classrooms as she supports and mentors teachers in how to build play in their rooms. Jade has a Bachelor's Degree and has spent time in Finland and Sweden learning about Forest schools and the importance of nature, play, and freedom in classrooms which create spaces for children to feel safe, learn and thrive. She has worked with Gesell since 2021.


Sally Coleman Keller, MAT

National Lecture Staff - Michigan

Sally Coleman Keller is an Early Childhood educator and advocate. She has retired from her most recent position of teaching and directing a local preschool. After receiving her BA from Alma College in Michigan, she continued on to earn her MAT in Early Childhood Education from Oakland University, in Rochester, MI.

Sally started in Early Childhood and throughout her career has held various educational roles including initiating programs for young children in her community, working with parents, consulting, as well as teaching and leading a preschool. Sally has been a member of the National Lecture Staff for nearly 40 years, and previously served as the NLS Director. Sally is a parent and a grandparent which gives her a special connection when explaining to parents and educators the important connection between child development and the overall learning continuum.

Cecilia Locke, MAC, LPC

National Lecture Staff - Texas

Cecilia Locke holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Counseling degrees from St. Edward's University in Austin TX.  She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and completed a Montessori Teaching Certification. Cecilia has worked in the education field for over 30 years; 20 in early childhood. Cecilia is now retired from her last position as the Director of Students Support Services at a private school in Texas.  In this role she supported the learning and development of children in Pre-K 3 through 8th grade who needed guidance in order to be successful in school.

Cecilia completed her first Gesell GDO-R workshop in Grapevine, Texas in 1999; she was immediately hooked. Cecilia joined the National Lecture Staff in 2015. Over her many years using the Gesell Assessment System she is convinced of the value of a tool to help in placing children with their developmental peer group.  She is fond of saying, “Viewing children through a developmental lens is life changing; it provides insight into developmentally appropriate behavior and academic expectations for each unique child.”

Patsy Griffin

National Lecture Staff - North Carolina

Patsy Griffin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and Master of Counseling degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). She is certified as a Dyslexia Testing Specialist and as a Trauma and Loss Specialist by The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children.

Retired from education with 36 years of experience in School Counseling and over 30 years of experience administering the GDO-R, she was first trained to use the GDO-R in the 1980s and continued to use it throughout her career in counseling and admissions. Both the GDO-R and the developmental information it offers have been very valuable tools to her as she helped and advised families. Knowing the information in the GDO-R has also helped her with planning for and understanding her own children and grandchildren.