As a sophomore in college I volunteered at the New Mexico Preschool for the Deaf and had the privilege of learning from a masterful teacher. I realize now she was teaching me as much as she was teaching the two- and three-year-olds in her classroom. As I watched her open the world of language to the Deaf children of hearing parents, I fell in love with Education—I knew then that I wanted to teach.
After finding my passion for teaching and learning, I pursued a degree in Special Education from the University of Texas as well as a Master’s degree in Multicultural Cultural Special Education. Later I taught in a working class, predominantly Latino community where more than half the students were bilingual—much like the community where I grew up.
At the end of my seventh year in the classroom, I had many questions about literacy teaching and learning, so I returned to the University of Texas for a Doctorate in Language and Literacy Studies. I grew up hearing multiple languages at home and in my community, so I’ve always had a fascination with language. It seemed natural that my doctoral studies focus on multilingual & multiliterate learners and students labeled struggling readers.
I focus on language, literacy, and social justice, at the intersection of race, language, and ability.
Now, as an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning my research focuses on classroom literacy practices and literacy teacher education. Because I draw on my experiences as a former elementary school teacher, it is important to me to continually highlight and build on what teachers and students are doing right in classrooms.