September 2019
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Welcome to the 2019-2020 academic year at the
University of Arizona College of Education!
We hope you all enjoyed a nice summer break. If you are receiving the College Insider for the first time, welcome to the college! The College Insider is a monthly email newsletter for all students, faculty, and staff in the College of Education. You can usually expect to find news related to research and outreach projects, faculty publications and presentations, awards, and upcoming events. However, because we have a total of 28 new faculty and staff members to the College of Education team (that’s right – 28!), we’ve dedicated this edition of the College Insider to welcoming our newcomers!

One reason for the high growth in faculty and staff is the influx of people from UA South. UA South has long had early childhood, elementary, and secondary teacher preparation programs that serve people across southern Arizona, but they have operated independently from those doing this work in our college. With the reorganization of UA South, an opportunity arose to bring those programs into the College of Education. From the first conversations, we have been excited about the potential benefits of bringing UA South education programs and people into our college. They have a great deal of expertise and experience in working with students who we want to better serve. We are committed to increasing access to becoming early childhood, elementary and secondary teachers in rural communities, working adults, career changers, and others who encounter obstacles in higher education. In addition, we feel that UA South students, faculty, and staff will benefit from the opportunity to collaborate with faculty, staff, and students in our programs.
Welcome, new faculty and staff!
Office of the Dean
Stephanie ODonnell headshot
STEPHANIE O'DONNELL comes to the College of Education as a senior accountant with 11 years of experience working for the University of Arizona. A proud Wildcat, O'Donnell's duties as an accountant include general financial management, processing of financial transactions, and financial reporting.
Sherard Robbins headshot
SHERARD ROBBINS is the associate director of equity and inclusion for community engagement in the College of Education. In his role, Robbins works with the College of Education and the Graduate College to ensure that best practices regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion are being met at all levels. From student, staff, and faculty recruitment and retention, to cultivating external partnerships and burgeoning opportunities through grant writing, Robbins aims to keep the university at the forefront of inclusive excellence by continuously enhancing EDI efforts internally and externally. A former employee of the UA, Robbins is a two-time consecutive winner of the Inclusive Excellence award for the division of student affairs and a decorated higher education employee. During his time in the academic sphere, Robbins has led two men of color initiative groups at various institutions, created brand new offices and positions, and built relationships with students and staff from across the nation. His TedxTalk, Under the Page: A Philosophical Look at the Darkside of Comics , explores the ways in which comic books can serve as a viable platform for making sense of the world. Along with his work as a professional, Robbins is equally a life-long learner. He is set to complete his doctoral work in higher education with a focus on organizational development, and his law degree with a focus on workplace discrimination and constitutional law.
Department of Disability & Psychoeducational Studies
Headshot of Taucia Gonzalez
TAUCIA GONZÁLEZ is an assistant professor of special education whose research addresses issues of equity and inclusion for dual language learners with and without learning disabilities. She is currently examining how youth participatory action research can be used as a social design experiment to support learning and advance equity for dual language learners with and without learning disabilities. The second strand of her research focuses on preparing teachers to work at the intersection of language and ability differences. González’s work bridges general and special education and has been featured in journals such as the Journal of Multilingual Research and the European Journal of Special Needs Education. She currently serves as an advisory board member for New York University’s Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality . González has spent close to 20 years working in and with Latinx communities as an educator and educational researcher, which has been recognized by Chicanos Por La Causa with the Esperanza Award and by the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an Outstanding Woman of Color award. She currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses that prepare future practitioners and researchers to create more inclusive educational systems across intersecting markers of difference. 
headshot of Marcela Kepic
MARCELA KEPIC is an associate professor of practice in counseling and is a licensed professional counselor in the states of New Jersey, Virginia, and D.C. and an approved clinical supervisor. Her expertise is in child and adolescent counseling, crisis response, and life development of older adults. Her research agenda is primarily focused on issues related to life satisfaction and wellness of older adults who experience many losses, especially loss of a spouse or significant other. Kepic’s further research interests include acculturation stress in immigrant women and women’s wellness. Kepic is a member of the Association for Adult Development and Aging where she served in many different roles, including the president of the AADA. She also continues to serve on the Crisis, Disaster, and Trauma Task Force of the ACA, and contributes to the development of the CDT competencies. As a member of the International Committee, Kepic is involved in exploring the understanding of counseling profession outside of the United States. 
headshot of Holly Nelson
HOLLY NELSON is an associate professor of practice and teaches in the Deaf Studies and Educational Interpreting Program. Nelson's experience spans 25 years and includes ASL/English interpreting, teaching, mentoring, program development, and assessment. She has worked and taught in academic, community, government, and corporate settings. Her recent research focus was on differentiated instruction for Deaf-parented interpreting students. Nelson has specialized in decision making/ethics, program review/development, experiential learning/mock interpreting, and test preparation. She has developed programs that focus on heritage learners of ASL, Deaf interpreters, and internships in VRS settings. She is also passionate about deliberate/reflective practice and expressing her creativity in her work. She also maintains National Interpreter Certification with the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf at the master level. She has an adult daughter that works as a traveling ER nurse (currently living and working in Maine). She recently relocated to Tucson from Salt Lake City, Utah with her partner, who is also an academic in the field of ASL/English interpreting. Together they enjoy traveling, road biking, and exploring their new city. 
Headshot of Adai Tefera
Prior to joining the the College of Education, ADAI TEFERA was an assistant professor in the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her Ph.D. in education with an emphasis in urban schooling and public policy from UCLA , and was a postdoctoral scholar at Arizona State University's Equity Alliance . Her scholarship focuses on how educational policies aimed at improving equity among students at the intersections of race, disability, language, and other sociocultural differences are enacted and experienced by educators, leaders, and students. Now an assistant professor in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies, s he is particularly interested in strengthening research-policy-practice partnerships through knowledge mobilization to improve opportunities of historically marginalized learners. Her work has been included in journals such as Teachers College Record , Urban Education , and Theory Into Practice . She has worked in schools, both in after-school and summer programs, and served as a fellow with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation . Her commitment to educational equity and justice is rooted in her experiences as the daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, her upbringing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and her experiences learning from and with students with disabilities, especially her sister, who remains one of her most influential teachers.
Department of Educational Psychology
headshot of Paul Schutz
PAUL SCHUTZ is interim department head of the Department of Educational Psychology. His research interests include emotions in education, teacher identity development, race and ethnicity in educational contexts, and research methods and methodologies . He is a past president of the American Psychological Associations Division 15: Educational Psychology , a former co-editor of the Educational Researcher: Research News and Comments, and a co-editor of the upcoming Handbook of Educational Psychology, Volume 4. Recent publications include Developing a mixed methods proposal: A practical guide for beginning researchers ( DeCuir-Gunby, & Schutz, 2017); Research on teacher identity: Mapping challenges and innovations ( Schutz, Hong, & Cross Francis, 2018) ; and Understanding critical race research methods and methodologies: Lessons from the field (DeCuir-Gunby, Chapman, & Schutz, 2019).
Department of Educational Policy Studies & Practice
Sabryna Jaimez headshot
SABRYNA JAIMEZ is joining the College of Education as the new Upward Bound coordinator. Born and raised in Tucson Arizona, Jaimez attended Cholla High School . After graduation, she went on to pursue a degree in creative writing at the University of Arizona. With years of volunteer experience as a mentor and tutor and a professional background working in high schools and higher education settings, Jaimez has seen first-hand the need for additional student support in college preparation and access. In addition, her personal experience as a first generation student has created a passion for providing knowledge and opportunities to the youth of Tucson. When Jaimez isn't working with students, she enjoys spending time writing, cooking, and baking.
Headshot of Karina Salazar
KARINA SALAZAR is an assistant professor in the Center for the Study of Higher Education. Her research program analyzes whether the enrollment management practices of public universities undermine access for underserved student populations. Her dissertation, titled The wealth and color of off-campus recruiting by public research universities , explores how university recruiting efforts spatially discriminate against high schools and communities with predominantly low income students and Students of Color. Salazar is also co-principal investigator of the Enrollment Management, Recruiting, and Access research project, which investigates the recruiting practices of colleges and universities. This work has been featured by The New York Times , NPR , CNN , Inside Higher Ed , The Chronicle of Higher Education , Forbes , and U.S. News & World Report . Salazar is a local Tucsonan and proud graduate of Sunnyside High School . She completed her graduate work at the University of Arizona where her research was funded by the American Educational Research Association
Department of Teaching, Learning, & Sociocultural Studies
* indicates faculty or staff member comes to the college from UA South
Curtis Acosta headshot
Prior to his current role as assistant professor in language and culture in education, CURTIS ACOSTA * was a high school teacher for nearly 20 years, where he developed and taught Chicanx/Latinx literature classes for the renowned Mexican-American Studies program in the Tucson. He is an award-winning educator who was named one of the “Top 10 Latinos to Watch in US Politics” by the Huffington Post . His work was featured in the documentaries  Precious Knowledge and Dolores , as well as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart . He is the founder of the Acosta Educational Partnership , a consultation firm that helps educators create culturally sustaining and humanizing educational practices in their classrooms, schools, and communities. Acosta received his Bachelor of Arts from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, and later obtained a Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. in Language, Reading, and Culture from the University of Arizona.
Patricia Acosta headshot
PATRICIA ACOSTA * is a Tucson native who earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Arizona and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University . She worked as a high school English teacher for eight years and a school administrator for 12 years. Patricia is currently working as a project coordinator in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies and is also an educational consultant specializing in culturally responsive pedagogy and methodology.
Jessica Agnew Weil headshot
JESSICA AGNEW WEIL * was a non-traditional, first generation, transfer student from Pima Community College when she received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from UA South. She worked with K-6 teachers and students in Tucson Unified School District as a mathematics specialist, teacher coach, and an English language development teacher at a culturally and linguistically diverse school. She  holds an Master of Arts in Middle School Mathematics Teaching and Leadership from the University of Arizona. For six years she worked for an educational consulting firm with K-12 teachers and students in Title 1 schools in five states, including the Navajo and Apache reservations, where she modeled lessons with an emphasis on student engagement in mathematics. As a coordinator of teacher education, she is passionate about making content meaningful and engaging for learners of all ages.
Headshot of Stephen Arnold
STEPHEN ARNOLD * is an associate professor of instructional technology. He has a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology and an M.Ed. in Industrial Technology Education from the University of Idaho and a B.Ed. in Elementary Education from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks . Previously he was a faculty member and program director of the Elementary and Early Childhood Education programs at UA Sierra Vista, providing extensive outreach to rural Arizona border communities, and to urban students seeking alternative paths to education. Before coming to the UA, he was an assistant professor at Kent State University in the School of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Studies . His research examines increasing digital and media literacy in at-risk early-childhood to adult populations. In collaboration with the National Park Service , he is examining ways to increase structured environmental science engagement opportunities for the 300 million annual visitors attending its combined 85-million-acre outdoor classroom. In addition to his academic experience, Arnold served in the U.S. Army , spent time as an instructional systems specialist for the Department of Defense , and has worked for the National Park Service as an interpretive park ranger providing environmental science education to thousands of visitors from all over the world in multiple national parks, including Yellowstone, Glacier, Sitka, Grand Teton, Denali, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Bryce Canyon.
Alison Barrett headshot
ALISON BARRETT * is an Arizona native who grew up in Tucson. She is a two-time UA alumna with bachelor degrees in both speech communication and elementary education. She also holds a Master of Arts in Education from North Arizona University . Barrett has supported education and outreach at UA for 11 years, including five years in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as a senior instructional specialist in the Cochise County Cooperative Extension Office where she facilitated youth and adult workshops on water and energy conservation. For the past six years, she has enjoyed providing administrative support to students, faculty, staff, and school partners in the UA South teacher education programs. Prior to her UA experience, Barrett taught third through fifth grade in Sierra Vista, Arizona. In her role as a senior coordinator in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies, she enjoys helping students become certified teachers. In her free time, she is an avid cyclist and hiker who loves to travel.
Isela Franco headshot
ISELA FRANCO * is an administrative assistant in the Master’s in Secondary Education Program. Franco joins the College of Education with many years of work experience in various educational settings and capacities. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Arizona and is currently working on a master's degree in public health. In her free time, Franco enjoys spending time with her two boys.
Dorea Kleker headshot
DOREA KLEKER is a teacher educator with more than 20 years of experience working with students and teachers across a wide variety of educational contexts in both the United States and Latin America. Her work focuses on global and multicultural children’s literature, literacy, and play to develop intercultural understanding and the use of literature to actively engage children as readers and inquirers across all content areas. Kleker comes to the college as a lecturer in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies.
Headshot of Etta Kralovec
ETTA KRALOVEC * is an award-winning professor of teaching, learning and sociocultural studies. She holds a doctorate in philosophy from Teachers College, Columbia University , from which she received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. In 2017, she received an honorary Master of Philosophy degree in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic and in 2002, she received a distinguished alumni award from her undergraduate college, Lewis and Clark College . She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 1996 to establish a teacher education program at Africa University in Zimbabwe. Working closely with student editors, they co-authored the collection, Identity in Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Writings from Zimbabwe Students. Under Kralovec’s direction, the UA South M.Ed. program received over $3 million in federal funding to prepare STEM teachers for Title One schools in Arizona border communities. Her program was awarded the Peter Likins Inclusive Excellence Award from the University of Arizona in 2015.  Kralovec’s work explores the importance of context in the preparation of teachers for schools in border communities. She has conducted comparative research on teacher education in Finland and on the Finnish/Russian border. Kralovec’s international work also includes video projects with high school students in Finland and Mexico.
Sonja Lanehart headshot
Professor SONJA LANEHART received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan . She is a former Ford Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow, Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellow awardee, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, Lilly Teaching Fellow, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society . She has won grants from the National Science Foundation and other agencies and has taught at the University of Georgia and the University of Texas at San Antonio . Lanehart has published on all of her teaching and research interests, which include sociolinguistics; language, literacy, and education in African American communities; language and identity; African American women’s language; motivation, self-efficacy, and resilience; goals and possible selves; and language variation and education. A professor of linguistics in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences , Lanehart will spend a quarter of her time teaching in the College of Education.
Kevin McBeth
KEVIN MCBETH * is originally from Western Michigan and has lived in Bisbee, Arizona for 20 years. Prior to his current role as coordinator of teacher education, McBeth spent the past 10 years serving as a teacher in Palominas, Naco, and Bisbee, teaching fourth grade, first grade, and middle school math, as well as coaching, mentoring, and participating on school leadership teams. In 2013, he was selected as the Arizona Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History . In 2017, he received his principal certificate and master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Arizona. A talented and recognized educator, McBeth is most passionate about the relationships that stem from shared ideas among educators, communities, and children.
Eric Meyer headshot
ERIC MEYER * is a clinical instructor and project coordinator with experience as an instructional coach for master of education students. He spends his days instructing methods and strategies of teaching and also organi zes the Sin Frontera Professional Development Program , a professional development series and learning community. Meyer also designs and implements assessment, unit planning, and classroom management professional development workshops.
Rick Orozco headshot
RICHARD OROZCO * is an associate professor of secondary education and the interim program director for the M.Ed. in Secondary Education, Alternative Pathway program. Prior to arriving at the University of Arizona in 2013, Orozco served as a faculty member of the College of Education at Oregon State University . He also taught social studies classes for 15 years in a segregated high school in Tucson. He graduated with his Ph.D. in Language, Reading, and Culture from the College of Education in 2009. His research interests include investigating the schooling experiences of students of color using critical whiteness studies, critical race theory, and critical discourse analysis. He has published chapters in various edited books and articles in journals including Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences , Journal of Education Policy , World Studies in Education, Journal of Latinos and Education , Education Policy Analysis Archives , Multicultural Perspectives , and Whiteness and Education .
Ada Parra headshot
Assistant Professor of Practice ADA PARRA * received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Bilingual and Multicultural Education from the University of Arizona. She is a career track professor who teaches the reading and language arts methods courses in the Elementary Education program as well as courses in the B.A.S. Early Childhood Education program. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Arizona, she taught kindergarten for 14 years in bilingual and ESL classrooms in border cities of Southern Arizona.  
Roxanna Rivera Pelton headshot
Lecturer ROXANNA RIVERA-PELTON has been volunteering and working in schools since the age of 16. She has worked as a bilingual reading tutor, classroom teacher both at the primary and intermediate levels, a learning supports coordinator, dean of students, instructional coach, administrator, and is now an instructor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies. A proud Wildcat, Rivera-Pelton received both her bachelor's degree in elementary education and master's degree in educational leadership from the UA. While in the classroom and pursuing her master’s degree she was recognized for her consistent record of high test scores while serving students in areas of high need. She was nominated by the assistant superintendent of Arizona’s second largest school district and was one of only six individuals in the state of Arizona to be selected as a Rodel Aspiring Principal . There she received administrative training from mentors all over Arizona who held a track record for leading successful schools.
Headshot of Christopher Sanderson
CHRISTOPHER SANDERSON * is a lecturer in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies with an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and a B.A. in Education. He began his career in education as a middle school teacher in Southern Arizona. Prior to joining the College of Education, he was an instructor for UA South, where he provided educational opportunities for students living in the rural regions of Southern Arizona. His research interests include digital literacy, equity, and inequalities and their effect on adult learners.
Laurie Seder headshot
LAURIE SEDER * is an assistant professor of practice in the Department of Teaching, Language, and Sociocultural Studies. Seder’s work focuses on early childhood and elementary teacher education, education assessments, reading disabilities, and inclusion. Prior to her current role, she was the assistant director of research and program development for the SALT Center and a statistical consultant for the college's Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies and for Campus Health . She is currently serving as the program director for the Bachelor of Applied Science Early Childhood and the Bachelor of Science Elementary programs. 
Mayela Trevino headshot
MAYELA TREVINO is a senior accountant in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies. New to the College of Education, Trevino has worked for the University of Arizona for nearly seven years in roles with responsibilities that included coordination, accounting, and human resources. A proud Wildcat, she is thrilled to work for her alma mater.
Elizabeth Urias headshot
Originally from Glendale, Arizona, ELIZABETH URIAS * currently resides in Sierra Vista, where she moved to begin her career as a graduate coordinator at UA South. Urias has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Arizona State University and experience in higher education data management and customer service. She is thrilled and honored to work in an environment where she can assist in empowering individuals as they catalyze their potential. As a graduate coordinator for the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies, she is excited to continue learning about education and the challenges each individual faces in striving to achieve social mobility. With aspirations to enter the field of teaching, she hopes to continue to further assist individuals to finely tune the instrument of their minds.  
Alison Van Gorp headshot
An active community member and business owner in Bisbee, ALISON VAN GORP * has been living in Cochise County for 27 year. She has worked for the University of Arizona for the last five years as a STEM grants manager. She has worked on a variety of federal grant initiatives since 2008, including green stimulus grants for the Department of Labor and STEM education grants through the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation . With a degree in communications from San Francisco State University , she started her career in the insurance industry in which she worked for more than 25 years. As a program manager and passionate advocate for education, she enjoys her work at UA where she can serve students and regional teachers.
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