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Our Team

Drs. Patricia Phelan and Ann Locke Davidson launched Educational Connections in Oregon in 2001. The team has since grown to include Kristin Kajer-Cline in Washington state and Dr. Jennifer Heckman in California. Together they bring a wealth of experience to their roles as educational consultants, including helping over 2,000 families and visiting 350 schools in the last 15 years. Dr. Pamela Sheffield joined the Oregon office in 2015.


Patricia Phelan, Ph.D. and Ann Locke Davidson, Ph.D. launched Educational Connections in Portland in 2000. Since then they have helped over 1,000 families through the Portland office and made over 2,500 site visits to over 300 schools and programs.

Together they bring a wealth of experience to their roles as educational consultants. Their backgrounds include:

  • Therapeutic work with children, adolescents and families
  • Research on at-risk youth and mental health issues of children and adolescents
  • Program assessment and evaluation
  • Curriculum development, teaching, and teacher education.

Drs. Phelan and Davidson keep up-to-date on the latest research related to learning differences, mental health issues, and chemical dependency, as well as research concerned with “best practices” in the fields of education and treatment. They regularly give presentations to schools, community organizations, mental health clinics, and therapeutic and psychiatric facilities as well as to professional organizations throughout the country.

Dr. Pamela Sheffield joined the Oregon office in 2015. She is a clinical psychologist with over 15 years of experience.

Learn more about the Oregon-based team.

Drs. Patricia Phelan and Ann Davidson
During an emotionally tumultuous time for our family, Pat and Ann from Educational Connections helped steer us in the right direction. We never could have navigated the maze of wilderness programs and therapeutic programs without their professionalism, knowledge and empathy. We will be forever grateful.
- Matt and Lisa, Oregon


Kristin Kajer-Cline leads the Washington office. For more than two decades she has focused on understanding and assisting children, adolescents, and adults struggling with emotional, social, behavioral, learning, or mental health challenges.

Having earned her M.A. in Education with a focus on At-Risk Youth from the University of Washington, Kristin has developed three key areas of expertise and experience:

  • Assessment of individual social, emotional and academic needs
  • Evaluation of academic and treatment systems and direct intervention, and
  • Communication with adolescents and their families.

A member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, Kristin is most importantly the mother of a 17-year-old son and 20-year-old daughter.

Learn more about Kristin Kajer-Cline and the Washington office.

Kristin Kajer-Cline


Jennifer Heckman, PhD, MACP has a long history of working in the areas of education and mental health, with particular emphases on children, families, and family-systems. Upon completing her Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Colorado in 1977, Dr. Heckman returned to her home in Hawaii to work with the local Easter Seal Society’s Residential Services program. This program, developed to serve multiply handicapped children who were unable to live in their parents’ home, included group and foster “teaching home” placements. While with Residential Services, Dr. Heckman worked initially as a group home counselor and then became responsible for providing psychosocial and educational support for the foster teaching home parents; during her last year and a half with Residential Services, Dr. Heckman served as the Director for the program.

Desiring to further her work with children and families, in 1980, Dr. Heckman returned to the mainland to pursue graduate work in Education at Stanford University. She subsequently completed her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Educational Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford in 1981 and 1987, respectively. While at Stanford, Dr. Heckman worked as a research assistant and treatment group leader for a study on the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral coping strategies for children, ages 9-12, with recently divorced parents. Dr. Heckman also worked on studies of school effectiveness and at-risk adolescents and developed a violence prevention curriculum for use with at-risk families and management training materials for school administrators. Immediately following the completion of her Doctoral dissertation, Dr. Heckman served as a Senior Research Associate for the Department of Psychiatry in Stanford University’s Medical School. Following her work with the medical school, Dr. Heckman worked with a non-profit research and technical assistance organization in Los Altos, California where she conducted program evaluations of educational programs designed to assist at-risk adolescents.

Learn more about the California office.

Jennie Heckman, PhD
Jennie helped me through one of the hardest times of my life. My daughter was in a severe downward spiral and nothing we tried at home helped. Much effort at home was focused on medications for diagnoses that turned out to be incorrect as well as ineffective therapy approaches. After a painful and stressful year, I asked Jennie to help me find help for my daughter. Jennie’s recommended placements were both extraordinary and my daughter is now back at home, attending regular high school and her future looks bright. The key was Jennie’s expertise in matching my child’s specific behaviors and conditions to programs with the highly sophisticated and appropriate expertise. This match is not likely to happen by searching on the internet or by word-of-mouth. Jennie knew from her experience which programs had the best chance of pulling my daughter out of the deep dark hole and helping her rebuild her confidence and learn life skills to manage her challenges.
- Mother, California