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Team & Research

The Virtual Lab School was founded by Dr. Cynthia K. Buettner, Professor of Human Development and Family Science at The Ohio State University. The team is now led by Assistant Professor, Sarah Lang, College of Education and Human Ecology. VLS team members have both practical and research experience in child development and education. The VLS team and contributing writers, expert consultants, and reviewers conduct studies and update VLS content with the latest research from the field.

Principal Investigators

Cynthia Buettner, Ph.D.


Dr. Cynthia Buettner is a Professor at The Ohio State University and the founder of the Virtual Lab School, serving as the Principal Investigator of the project for more than 10 years. Her research and outreach activities have focused on at-risk children, their families, and the educational and human service systems that support them. In addition to leading the development of the VLS, she has conducted evaluation studies of Ohio’s childcare quality rating and improvement system, led the Ohio State Kid Corps project, which paired hundreds of college students with children in Head Start centers, and directed the Directory for Children with Special Needs project for the Department of Defense Office of Special Needs.

Sarah Lang, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator, Director

Dr. Sarah Lang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University, and is the current Principal Investigator and Director of the Virtual Lab School. Dr. Lang’s research is focused on strengthening children’s learning outcomes and experiences in childcare settings by examining the network of relationships and contexts in which children develop. She is committed to ensuring that the early childhood workforce is well trained and supported so they can provide high-quality care to children. She has specifically studied the co-caring relationship between families and early childhood professionals, interventions to support early childhood teachers’ resiliency, and coaching-based professional development systems, including the efficacy of the Virtual Lab School model.

Our Staff

Kristen Knight, M.S.

Associate Director of Professional Development & Training

Dan Buettner

Technical Director

Jim Pickett

Creative Director

Jason Baker

Media Director

Des’Jaslon Ivory

Technical Support Specialist

Kaleigh Matesick, M.A.

Lead Content & Training Developer

Amy Hudson

Content Training Coordinator

Kate Leach

Content & Training Leadership Specialist

Sal D’Arienzo

Editor & Implementation Specialist

Victoria Boone

VLS Program Coordinator

Erin Tebben, Ph.D.

Senior Research Associate

Dahyung Ryu, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Summer Luckey, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Erin Fox, M.P.A, M.P.H.

Graduate Research Associate

Content Experts & Contributors

  • Rosemarie Allen, Ph.D.
  • Kristin Tenney-Blackwell MA, LLP, IMH-E
  • Mary Louise Hemmeter, Ph.D.
  • Pamela Hardin
  • Neal Horen, PhD
  • Amy Hunter, LCSW
  • Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D.
  • LaToya Jackson. M.S.
  • Anneliese Johnson, M.S.
  • Tara Kirton, MSEd
  • Victoria Kress, Ph.D.
  • Kathleen Artman-Meeker, Ph.D.
  • Sharon Millington
  • Jenille Adams Morgan, M.A.
  • Adrienne Moetanalo, M.P.H.
  • Chryso Mouzourou, Ph.D.
  • Rosalie Odean
  • Michaelene M. Ostrosky, Ph.D.
  • Charis Price, Ph.D.
  • Brian Roberts
  • Aaron Robertson
  • Katherine Robertson, LCSW
  • Meredith Schilling, M.S.
  • Vanessa Shrontz, M.S.
  • Jane Silovsky
  • Sarah Simpson, M.L.I.S
  • Eliza Sproat
  • Carol Taylor
  • Jovanna Tyree

A special thanks to our military affiliated reviewers and expert contributors. Your content knowledge and practical expertise has made a positive, lasting impact on the VLS project.