Patricia Graczyk
Network Capacity Coach, Northern Illinois

Patricia Graczyk, Ph. D., is a Network Capacity Coach for the Illinois MTSS Network and an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology and Clinical Psychology from Northern Illinois University in 1998. In 2001 she completed a three-year NIMH postdoctoral prevention research fellowship in urban children’s mental health. During that time she worked at the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and had a leadership role in several seminal SEL projects. These included conducting a literature review and defining SEL skills, developing criteria to evaluate SEL programs for the Safe and Sound Guide commissioned by the U. S. Department of Education, presenting on SEL at numerous national and international conferences, and several publications on SEL, some of which are still available on the CASEL website. Dr. Graczyk is a licensed clinical psychologist and school psychologist. She is a certified What Works Clearinghouse reviewer for group designs and has served as a grant reviewer for the US Department of Education – most recently for their 2017 Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP). She also is a member of the Network to Advance State Attendance Policy and Practices (NASAPP).

Dr. Graczyk is a seasoned Illinois educator, having worked in Illinois public schools for over 35 years. She has worked at the building level (building problem-solving coach, building PBIS coach, school psychologist), district level (district level problem-solving coach, district PBIS coach), Area Wide Instructional Leader for the Illinois RTI Network, and Lead Coach for 9 member districts in the Illinois RTI network. At all these levels, Dr. Graczyk has had to “think systemically” to help move schools and districts forward in their continuous quality improvement process. Currently, Dr. Graczyk is a Network Capacity Coach for the Illinois MTSS Network and supports districts and schools in Northern Illinois.


As a researcher, Dr. Graczyk’s work also reflects a systemic approach. For example, she was a co-investigator on an NIMH-sponsored grant that utilized social diffusion theory to provide improved services to students with ADHD in schools serving predominantly low-income African-American communities in Chicago. Social diffusion theory posits that, to change the attitudes and behaviors of members of a social network, encouraging key opinion leaders within that network to embrace and endorse the targeted innovation increases the probability that other members of that network will adopt it. The randomized control trial provided evidence to support that hypotheses (Atkins, Frazier, Leathers, Graczyk, et al., 2008). In 2014 Dr. Graczyk also co-authored an article in which she and her colleague provided a blueprint of evidence-based practices to improve school attendance and organized them within a tiered framework depending on whether they were appropriate for all students (Tier 1), some students (Tier 2), or a few students (Tier 3). She was especially honored when Ireland adopted the tiered model developed by her and her colleague as a way to improve school attendance and tackle problem absenteeism in that country! Dr. Graczyk is active nationally in promoting school attendance and serves as a member of the Network to Advance State Attendance Policy and Practices (NASAPP). Dr. Graczyk also has presented on systemic educational and mental health approaches at peer-reviewed local, national, and international conferences.