Ashley Sullivan, Ph.D.

Ashley Sullivan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, Elementary and Early Childhood Education
47 Kochel

Mailing Address:
ERIE, PA 16563

Dr. Ashley Lauren Sullivan is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education (PreK-4) at Penn State Behrend. Her research focuses on social justice and equity in early childhood education, LGBTQ children and families, poverty studies, and literacy development in toddlerhood. Prior to her position at Behrend, Dr. Sullivan worked as a kindergarten teacher, curriculum writer, and professional development facilitator for Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut.


  • Ph.D., Curriculum & Instruction: Early Childhood Education, Arizona State University- Tempe, AZ; Dissertation: Hiding in the Open: Navigating Education at the Gender Poles: A Study of Transgender Children in Early Childhood.
  • Master of Social Work, Arizona State University West, Glendale, AZ
  • Bachelor of Social Work, Arizona State University West, Glendale, AZ


Recent Courses Taught

  • The Young Child’s Play as Educative Processes, ECE 479
  • Instruction in Early Childhood Education Derived from Developmental Theories, ECE 451
  • Parental Involvement in Home, Center, and Classroom Instruction, ECE 453

Courses Taught through Other Institutions

  • Early Learning Development, EED 270
  • Nutrition, Health and Safety for Young Children, ECD 220
  • Foundations of Early Childhood Education, ECD 400
  • Quality Practices in Collaborative Classrooms, SPE 416
  • Understanding the Culturally Diverse Child, MCE 446

Social justice and equity in early childhood education, LGBTQ children and families, transgender children in early childhood education, poverty studies, and kindergarten "readiness."


Sullivan, A. (2017, November). [Review of the book Book Review- Cohen, L. E. & S. Waite-Stupiansky, Eds. (2017). Theories of early childhood education: Developmental, behaviorist, and critical. New York, NY: Routledge., edited by Karen Lindeman and Lynn Hartle]. Play, Policy, and Practice Connections- Play, Policy, & Practice Interest Forum of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.


Sullivan, A. (Co-Author) (2016). Kindergartners Studying Trans* Issues through I am Jazz. In sj Miller (Ed.), Teaching, Affirming, and Recognizing Trans and Gender Creative Youth: A Queer Literacy Framework USA: Routledge “Critical Studies in Gender and Sexuality in Education Series”.


Sullivan, A. (Co-Author, 50%), & Urraro, L. L. (2017). Missing Persons’ Report! Where are the Transgender Characters in Children’s Picture Books? Bank Street Occasional Paper Series.

Sullivan, A. (2014). Seeking Solace in the Music Room: Normalized Physical Spaces in the Early Childhood Environment and the Resulting Impact on Transgender Children. Gender, Education, Music, and Society, 7(2), 12-24.

Sullivan, A., & Lietz, C. (2008). Benefits and Risks for Public Housing Adolescents Experiencing Hope VI Revitalization: A Qualitative Study. The Journal of Poverty, 12(2), 133-154.

Ph D, Curriculum & Instruction, Arizona State University

MS, Social Work, Arizona State University

BS, Social Work, Arizona State University

AAS, Social Work, Paradise Valley Community College