John W. Fantuzzo

Albert M. Greenfield Professor of Human Relations
Director, Penn Child Research Center

Education Policy Division

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

Phone: 215-898-4790


Professional Biography

Dr. Fantuzzo is director of the Penn Child Research Center at Penn GSE.

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 a number of federally funded research projects that have involved extensive work with the School District of Philadelphia’s early childhood education programs, building research and service capacities. He serves on the editorial boards of major research journals in education and early childhood (e.g., Journal of Educational Psychology, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, and School Psychology Review). He is a recent recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Involvement and the National Head Start Research Mentor awards.


Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology) Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, APA approved, 1980.

M.A. (Honorary) University of Pennsylvania, 1990.

M.A. (Theology) Fuller Theological Seminary , 1976.

B.A. (Psychology) Marietta College, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa , 1974.

Research Interests and Current Projects

Dr. Fantuzzo’s research focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of school- and community-based strategies for young, low-income children in high-risk urban settings. In recent years, he has conducted longitudinal studies in Head Start that (a) relate to the impact of community and family violence on school readiness; (b) examine the development of approaches to learning; and (c) investigate the effects of early social/emotional adjustment problems and early school success. He is also involved in population-based studies that make use of citywide integrated databases across agencies serving young children. One such longitudinal study, “What’s Behind Being Behind,” examines the impact of multiple risks and early care and educational experiences on the academic proficiency and school adjustment of an entire cohort of third grade children in the School District of Philadelphia.

The success of such projects resulted in grant support to develop an integrated, archival database for children in Philadelphia. Dr. Fantuzzo and Dr. Dennis Culhane, a professor in the School of Social Policy and Practice, worked with the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to create the Kids Integrated Data System (KIDS)—one of the only such municipal databases in the U.S. Most recently, Dr. Fantuzzo and Dr. Culhane have received an additional grant to establish KIDS as a sustainable and transferable resource for research and evaluation in large, urban municipalities.

Dr. Fantuzzo and GSE colleagues are also working on a large research project supported by a grant funded by the federal Interagency School Readiness Consortium to develop and study the effectiveness of cognitive and social/emotional integrated curricula to enhance school readiness for vulnerable low-income, urban preschool children. This project involves research on innovative assessment, curricula, and professional development strategies to enhance school readiness for this population.

Dr. Fantuzzo presented the 2009 Albert M. Greenfield Memorial Lecture, The Educational Well-Being of African-American Boys. To read about the lecture, click here.

Selected Publications

Rouse, H., & Fantuzzo, J.: Competence motivation in Head Start: an early childhood link to learning peer assisted learning strategies. Academic Motivation and the Culture of Schooling in Childhood and Adolescence. C. Hudley & A. Gottfried (eds.). Oxford University Press, (in press).

Bulotsky-Shearer, R., Fantuzzo, J., & McDermott, P.: An investigation of the situational dimensions of preschool emotional and behavioral adjustment: A study of problems within the classroom context. Developmental Psychology 44: 139-154, 2008.

Fantuzzo, J., & Fusco, R.: A population-based study of chldren’s direct sensory exposure to types of substantiated domestic violence crimes. Violence and Victims 22: 158-171, 2007.

Fantuzzo, J., Bulotsky-Shearer, R., McDermott, P., McWayne, C., Perlman, S., & Frye, D.: Investigation of Dimensions of Social-Emotional Classroom Behavior and School Readiness for Low-Income Urban Preschool Children. School Psychology Review 36: 44-62, 2007.

McWayne, C. McDermott, P., Fantuzzo, J., & Culhane, D. : Defining social and structural dimensions of neighborhood context: an investigation of neighborhood characteristics and children’s academic readiness. American Journal of Community Psychology 2007.

Fantuzzo, J. & Fusco, R.: Children's Direct Exposure to Types of Domestic Violence Crime: A Population-based Investigation. Journal of Family Violence 22: 543-552, 2007.

Fantuzzo, J., Stevenson, H., Abdul Kabir, S., & Perry, M.: An investigation of a community-based intervention for socially isolated parents with a history of child maltreatment. Journal of Family Violence 22: 81-89, 2007.

Fantuzzo, J., & Perlman, S.: The unique impact of out of home placement and the mediating effects of child maltreatment and homelessness on early school success. Children and Youth Services Review 29: 941-960, 2007.

Ginsburg-Block, M., Rohrbeck, C., & Fantuzzo, J.: A meta-analytic review of social, self-concept and behavioral conduct outcomes of peer assisted learning. Journal of Educational Psychology 98: 732-749, 2006.

Fantuzzo, J. W., Bulotsky-Shearer, R. & Sekino, Y.: Head Start. Applied developmental science: An encyclopedia of research, policies, and programs. C. B. Fisher & R. M. Lerner (eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, Page: 531-536, 2005.

Fantuzzo, J. W., McWayne, C., & Cohen, H. L.: Peer Play in Early Childhood. Applied developmental science: An encyclopedia of research, policies, and programs C.B. Fisher & R. M. Lerner (eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, Page: 812-815, 2005.