Journal of At-Risk Issues - About the Co-Editors

The Need

The lack of specific publications targeting the concerns and interests of researchers and practitioners in the areas of at-risk issues and dropout prevention, prompted the Executive Board of the National Dropout Prevention Network in 1992 to initiate The Journal of At-Risk Issues (JARI). Dr. Ann Reitzammer, Huntingdon College, was the journal's founding editor. The format of the Journal includes articles that are research-based, with both reports of research and practitioner projects. In addition, there are special features in each issue such as statistical or research data and book reviews. The original intent was to publish the journal quarterly each year.

The first volume, consisting of two issues, was published by the National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University in the Summer and Fall of 1994. Dr. Reitzammer resigned as editor in 1997 and the Winter/Spring 1997 issue (Vol. 3, No. 2) was the last issue under her guidance. In June of 1997, Dr. Michael D. Richardson, Georgia Southern University, became editor of JARI and new Editorial and National Advisory Boards were established. Through Dr. Richardson's persistence, JARI was assigned an ISSN and is being abstracted by ERIC.

Dr. Richardson served as editor for the fourth volume, after which Dr. Connie Rhul-Smith and Dr. James Smith from Indiana University South Bend became co-editors of JARI in June 1998.

In the Spring of 2002 a national search was conducted for a new editor for JARI. Upon completion of this search, Dr. Alice Fisher and Dr. Judy Johnson from Sam Houston State University were named co-editors. After Dr. Johnson moved on, Dr. Fisher continued to serve on the editorial staff of JARI. In 2004, Dr. Rebecca Robles-Piña came on as co-editor, becoming editor in 2007.

The Editor

Dr. Rebecca A. Robles-Piña

Dr. Robles-Pina Dr. Robles-Piña is a professor at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) in the Department of Educational Leadership & Counseling in Huntsville, TX. From 2004-2006, she served as co-editor with Alice Fisher and since 2007 has been the editor of Journal of At-Risk Issues (JARI). Rebecca is also a practicing licensed psychologist and has been a school psychologist, school counselor, and teacher. Rebecca has taught courses related to Methods of Research, Statistics, Assessment, Psychology of Learning, and Counseling. Her research interests are school aggression, depression in children and adolescents, and school readiness issues with minority students. A strength of Rebecca's is that she is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Dr. Robles-Piña may be contacted directly at

Associate Editor

Dr. Greg Hickman

Photo of Dr. Greg HickmanDr. Greg Hickman is a Core Faculty Member at Walden University in the school of Human Services. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a doctorate in human development and family science with an emphasis on adolescent development and problem behavior. In 2004, he moved to Arizona to become the Director, Arizona Dropout Initiative. His research has primarily focused in the educational psychology arena with particular emphasis on parenting styles, college adjustment, and high school dropouts. In addition, his research has focused on programmatic evaluation. Such programmatic evaluations include, but are not limited to, Procter & Gamble, Maricopa Community Colleges, City of Avondale, Westmoreland County Juvenile Probation Court, and Fayette County Housing Authority to name a few. Currently, his research has explored the differential developmental pathways of high school dropouts and graduates. This landmark study led to the writing of a book titled Do Children Drop Out of School in Kindergarten? You can visit that website at In addition, Greg enjoys watching his two young boys play hockey and football, he enjoys off reading, writing children’s sports books (, grilling, and hanging out with his family and labs named Earle, Ryder, and Buckeye (all named after Ohio State coaches and mascot).

Associate Editor

Dr. Gary J. Burkholder

Photo of Gary J. BurkholderDr. Gary J. Burkholder serves as Chief Academic Officer for Laureate University Partnerships and as Senior Research Scholar and Contributing Faculty at Walden University. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology. Dr. Burkholder has served in a number of faculty and administrative roles; his research focus has been primarily areas that intersect psychology and public health, including those involving exercise and diet behavior change and adherence; predictors of substance use, sex risk, and HIV risk among youth and young adults. More recently, Dr. Burkholder’s research interests have involved retention and persistence in tertiary education and online pedagogy. He has expertise as an online teacher and mentoring doctoral dissertation students in an online environment; Dr. Burkholder has expertise in quantitative and qualitative research design and analysis. He is active in the American Psychological Association and the American Public Health Association, serves with the Higher Learning Commission peer review corps, and serves as a reviewer for a number of professional journals in psychology and public health.