Dr. Fantuzzo is founder and faculty director of the Penn Child Research Center at Penn GSE and the co-founder and co-director of the Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy national network. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, Dr. Fantuzzo took a faculty position at Fuller Graduate School of Psychology and developed the Covenant House, a residential facility for children with serious emotional disorders. In 1983, he joined the faculty at the University of Rochester to work as a research associate at the Mt. Hope Family Center, a special research and treatment facility for young victims of child maltreatment. In 1986, he took a faculty position at California State University at Fullerton to work with a large, diverse Head Start program in Santa Ana. Working with Head Start, he examined the impact of maltreatment and domestic violence on children’s development and learning. This work paved the way for Dr. Fantuzzo’s joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1988. Since that time, he has been involved in many foundation, state, and federally funded research projects that have involved extensive work with the City of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia’s early childhood programs, building sustainable research and service capacities.
Dr. Fantuzzo was invited to deliver a master lecture at the 2018 National Early Childhood Research Conference sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families. In this lecture, “The Use of Child Outcome Data in Head Start – We’ve Got to Get it Right!,” he provided an account of his three decades of early childhood research in Philadelphia.
Dr. Fantuzzo is also working on a Penn Futures initiative to improve the lives of Philadelphia youth and families, along with Dr. Vivian Gadsden and other Penn professors in the schools of Nursing and Social Policy and Practice. Dr. Fantuzzo and Dr. Gadsden convened a special lecture at Penn to focus on early childhood in Philadelphia, entitled, “What must we do to promote school readiness and school success?”
Dr. Fantuzzo serves on the editorial boards of research journals in education and early childhood (e.g., Educational Researcher, Early Education and Development, and Children and Youth Services Review). He is a member of the National Academy of Education and the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Involvement Award and the National Head Start Research Mentor Award.