Dr. Annie W. Spell, Ph.D. graduated summa cum laud from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana in 2002. Earning a bachelor’s of science in psychology, with a focus on child development, she was awarded the university’s highest honor of Outstanding Graduate for the 2002 graduating class, as well as the Hait Lewis Award as the top graduate within the psychology department. Dr. Spell then earned her masters degree in clinical psychology with specialization in children and adolescents from Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2004. She then continued her graduate studies and completed her doctorate in child clinical psychology from LSU in 2007. In 2007-2008, she completed a one-year intensive internship with the Psychological Services Department of the Houston Independent School District. In 2010, Dr. Spell earned a masters degree in psychopharmacology from the California School of Professional Psychology.
Currently, Dr. Spell has returned to her hometown, and is married to her college sweetheart. There she conducts most of her services within a private psychological practice as a licensed and board certified clinical psychologist, specializing in children and adolescents. She also continues to provide psychological consultation to schools in her area, as well as to the Office of Juvenile Justice of Louisiana.
Dr. Spell’s specialized clinical experience and interest areas include childhood behavior disorders, Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), childhood depression and anxiety, learning disorders, crisis intervention, child abuse and trauma, childhood grief, and classroom management. She has received specialized training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is a certified crisis responder by the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA). In regard to her research, she has also co-authored a grant awarded by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) in researching childhood responses following Hurricane Katrina. Her research has been published in psychological journals, such as the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and Violence and Victims, as well as in a book chapter regarding the parenting aspects of childhood adjustment following a trauma. She has presented at several meetings of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) on topics such as parent-adolescent conflict, community violence exposure, and childhood response following a disaster.
Dr. Spell’s history with Leap ’N Learn began with casual kitchen table conversations with Beverly Spell, discussing classroom management issues within the dance studio setting. In 2003, Dr. Spell, who then was a master’s level doctoral candidate, provided psychological consultation for the Leap 'N Learn Early Childhood Dance Syllabus. Since that time, Dr. Spell has also collaborated with Beverly Spell in creating Leap 'N Learn for the Classroom, a movement syllabus that focuses on applying the general concepts of the original syllabus to the traditional academic classroom, and a series of teacher training DVDs that allow teachers worldwide to be able to study the Leap ’N Learn methods of teaching dance to children. Dr. Spell greatly enjoys merging her knowledge of research and theory with Beverly Spell’s many years of experience in designing an effective early childhood dance syllabus.