Two Programs, One Goal:
Academic Achievement

About the Authors

Alene H. Harris

Dr. Alene Harris Alene H. Harris, Ph.D., certified elementary and secondary teacher and retired University professor, taught over 2,000 students in her 16 years as a classroom teacher (in rural, urban, and suburban schools) and over 1,000 college students in her 26 years as a professor. She has conducted workshops with over 2,000 teachers and administrators in over 40 states.

Dr. Harris developed the vocabulary programs over her 16 years as a classroom teacher, pulling from old etymology course notes and listening to her students share how they believed they learned best. She encourages teachers to “listen to your students,” for her final morphemes materials available today, It’s NOT Greek to Me! and Latin and Loving It! align completely with the proven learning theory published by the National Research Council (see How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School and Chapter 6).

She developed Getting Off to a Good Start: The First Three Days of School (GOTAGS) in the last 15 years of her tenure as a Research Asst. Professor of Education at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Both her research studies and her conversations with teachers in over 300 workshops related to classroom management contributed to GOTAGS. At the request of teachers in California and Tennessee, she recently completed a companion text Maintaing Momentum: Building on a Good Start, coauthored with former education students and current educators, Jonathan Tomick and Justin Garwood.

Dr. Harris retired from teaching in 2014 but not from education. She currently serves as an educational consultant and is working on a third text in response to requests from teachers who did not get off to a good start: Creating a New Beginning: Reviewing and Revising Your Classroom Management, coauthored with Justin D. Garwood, Ph.D.


Jonathan Tomick

Jonathan Tomick

Jonathan Tomick worked with Dr. Harris for three years as a university student in researching and revising GOTAGS and has applied GOTAGS ideas as a teacher in rural, suburban, and urban settings, including special needs populations. He currently teaches at Jemicy School in Baltimore, MD.

Jonathan has experience in classrooms ranging from four students to thirty students and has worked to apply the principles of GOTAGS to each. He is a certified secondary teacher in two states, and has taught grades nine through twelve, including Advanced Placement English and Pre-AP English. As a certified GOTAGS Workshop Leader, he has conducted multiple workshops on classroom management for both preservice and inservice teachers.




Justin D Garwood

Justin D Garwood

Justin D Garwood, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Reading Education and Special Education at Appalachian State University. Dr. Garwood teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), classroom management, inclusion, and relationship-driven approaches to positive behavior supports. He is a licensed teacher in Special Education K-12 and English Education 7-12, and a certified GOTAGS workshop facilitator.

Dr. Garwood's overarching research goal is focused on improving the educational and life outcomes of students with EBD. To that end, he conducts research on reading and writing interventions for students with EBD, classroom management training, and collaboration between special education teachers and paraprofessionals as they design and carry out functional assessment-based behavioral interventions.

Dr. Garwood serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (JEBD) and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice (LDR&P), and his published work can be found in journals such as Exceptionality, Exceptional Children, Intervention in School and Clinic, Journal of Behavioral Education, Journal of Early Intervention, JEBD, LDR&P, Remedial and Special Education, Rural Special Education Quarterly, Teaching and Teacher Education, Teacher Education and Special Education, and TEACHING Exceptional Children.

He is the recipient of the 2018 Council for Exceptional Children’s Early Career Publication Award, as well as the 2018 North Carolina Teacher Education Division’s Early Career Award in Teacher Preparation.

Dr. Garwood recently accepted a position at the University of Vermont, where he will continue his career as a professor in the fall of 2018.