Dr. Caroline Watts is the Director of School and Community Engagement at Penn GSE, and works to facilitate and support partnerships with schools and communities in order to improve the educational outcomes and overall wellbeing of children and youth in Philadelphia. As a psychologist, program administrator, practicing child therapist and university educator, she has devoted her career to developing healthy educational environments for children and youth. She has focused on building capacity in mental health and educational systems to serve the complex needs of urban children, youth, and families through creating innovative institutional partnerships among schools, universities, and community health organizations.
At Penn GSE, Dr. Watts has served as the university’s liaison to the Henry C. Lea Elementary School in West Philadelphia, and as a member of the Penn Partnership faculty group that served as a leadership support team for several West Philadelphia schools. She has also been the School's Coordinator of Special Education, working across divisions to develop coursework and experiential placements for students that will provide critical learning related to issues in special education and English language learners (ELL). In addition to her school- and community-based work, Dr. Watts coordinates the internship program for students in the Professional Counseling Program at Penn GSE.
Before coming to Penn GSE in 2008, Dr. Watts was the founding director of the Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program (CHNP), the community mental health outreach program of the Department of Psychiatry at Children’s Hospital Boston. Dr. Watts was also a lecturer on education in the Risk and Prevention Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Watts has over 20 years of experience working in community and school settings to develop models for prevention and intervention services provided in a tripartite university-community agency-public school collaborative structure. She is a licensed practitioner of psychology in the states of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Dr. Watts has served as clinical director of the Devereux-Deerhaven Residential Treatment Center for Girls in Chester, New Jersey, the nation’s largest not-for-profit behavioral health care provider. She is on the Education and Behavioral Health Committees of the Board of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), a Philadelphia-based child advocacy organization.