Faculty & Staff Profiles
Meet the Counselor Education Staff
Counselor Education Non-Core Faculty
Deirdra Sanders-Burnett, Ph.D., L.M.H.C. dedicates her life to assisting others develop skills needed to live healthy lives. Dr. Sanders-Burnett is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Qualified Supervisor for Registered Mental Health Counselors, Adjunct Instructor for the University of South Florida, and Florida Supreme Court Family Mediator. She is also a Certified Professional School Counselor and certified Teacher. Dr. Sanders-Burnett earned her Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counselor Education with a Cognate in Psychology, a Master of Arts degree in Specific Learning Disabilities, and a Master of Arts degree in Guidance and Counselor Education from the University of South Florida. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bethune-Cookman College in Exceptional Child Education and her license as a Mental Health Counselor from the Florida Department of Health.
Dr. Sanders-Burnett has taught in and provided mental health counseling in K-12 public-schools, colleges, universities, and in her private practice in Florida for the past 38 years. She has supervised Registered Mental Health Interns, School Counselor Interns, and student-teacher interns on their journey to become Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Professional School Counselors, and Certified Teachers. Dr. Sanders-Burnett is also a published author whose dissertation is in twenty countries. Additionally, she has been published in “InSession” magazines.
Dr. Sanders-Burnett is a member of multiple professional counseling organizations and non-profit organizations, serving in leadership roles and on various committees. Her professional and community affiliations include the Florida Mental Health Counselor Association-Past President, Sun Coast Mental Health Counselor Association-Past President, American Mental Health Counselor Association-Membership Chair, American Counseling Association-Member, Florida Counseling Association- Membership Chair, Florida School Counselor Association-Member, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, Gamma Phi Zeta Chapter-Finer Womanhood Chair, and The Polk County Chapter of the Charmettes, Inc.-Vice President.
Gwen Gold Pearlstein, Ph.D. (University of South Florida) is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Marriage and Family Therapist, and Qualified Supervisor for the State of Florida. Prior to her teaching appointment, she was Clinical Director of Jewish Family and Childrens Services in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Gold-Pearlstein has given expert testimony in the 12th District Family Court in conjunction with the Safe Children Coalition, at-risk youth, Sarasota, Florida. In addition to supervising registered interns seeking licensure in mental health counseling and marriage and family therapy, in her private practice she serves families in crisis/conflict, individuals with autism spectrum disorder, parenting skills workshops, IEP referrals, and privately referred individuals. She is also a consultant for school counselors about school-aged children (K-12). Her research interests focus on determining the extent to which the theories and practices of counseling, psychotherapy, and cognitive development modify family systems that are in crisis and couples seeking conflict resolution; and curriculum policy and procedure in Counselor Education programs.
Dr. Tan earned his Ed.D. in Human Development and Psychology in 2004 from Harvard Graduate School of Education. His doctoral training was on childhood trauma, risk and resilience.
Dr. Tan's research is informed by developmental and cultural theories on human development. Since graduate school, his research has been on the long-term development of children who were adopted from China and who are growing up in the US and Canada. He uses large-scale, multi-phase, and multi-informant methods to obtain longitudinal data on the adoptees’ social-behavioral adjustment from adoptive parents, teachers and adopted youth themselves. In recent years, Dr. Tan has expanded his research to study early adversity, China-to-US immigrant and Chinese children’s mental health and academic functioning.
Dr. Tan has served on many students’ dissertation committees. As an advisor, he enjoys working with motivated Ph.D. students who are interested in topics related to adoption, immigration, mental health, psychological trauma, and academic functioning. He is currently accepting Ph.D. students.
Other faculty at the USF College of Education
Find out more about our College of Education faculty members. They have excellent teaching records and are actively engaged in research and other scholarly activities, including service to the University, the community, and the field of education. These pursuits enable them to be at the cutting edge in their respective fields and to advance the knowledge base for those fields of study and for education in general. In addition, faculty members hold offices in professional organizations and make substantial contributions as members of University and College of Education committees.