Coming from a fairly long line of educators, I had always imagined that I would become a teacher. At times, I resisted the idea and wondered if I was cut out for the rigorous demands of daily work in the classroom; but, now looking back, my years as a special educator are invaluable to me.
I began my career in a summer school setting, teaching high school students with developmental disabilities in Southern Illinois. That fall, I continued at the same high school, teaching pre-algebra and interpersonal communications to students with learning disabilities and social-emotional disabilities. After three years at the high school level, I moved to Colorado and taught special education at the elementary level for another three years. The elementary age felt like such a great fit, as I had also majored in elementary education and had received my certificate to teach general education K-8. I worked with all grade levels and implemented reading interventions with small groups of students, and I supported students and teachers in the general education classroom.
It was during this time that I started my master’s program at the University of Colorado Boulder in the department of Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity, where I earned my MA in special education and bilingual education. Here, I found my passion for research and for challenging the educational inequities faced by culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional students. As such, I continued my studies in a doctoral program in the same department, focusing on literacy and assessment for students with learning disabilities from a perspective that examines learning as culturally and historically situated, pervaded by systems of unequal opportunities.
My students at CU Denver:
I work with wonderful students who are willing to challenge and be challenged. My hope is that upon leaving my courses, students will be equipped with a variety of tools for understanding teaching and learning: theoretical tools, experiential tools, practice-based tools, and tools to create a more socially just educational environment in their classrooms, schools, and communities.
Classes I teach:
- (Advanced) Assessment in Special Education—SPED 4/5140
- Literacy Interventions in Special Education—SPED 4/5780
- Universal Design for Learning—SPED 4400
- Pedagogy 2—UEDU 4050
My research interests:
Through my research in literacy, I work to understand the ways in which texts and stories, whether spoken or written, are imbued with multiple meanings. I try to problematize the idea that texts are neutral or that there is one correct meaning or interpretation of a text, which holds implications for how literacy is assessed.
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