Presently, I am Associate Professor of English Learner Education, Program Director of Secondary Education and K-12 Single Subject teaching fields, and Principal Investigator for professional development grants from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA). I hold an undergraduate degree in Linguistics from the University of California in San Diego, a master's degree in teaching German from the University of California Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (English as a Second Language) from the University of Alabama.
I have established a research agenda on the preparation of educators for effectively serving English learners and coupled it with my career interest in issues related to English learner pronunciation. In a recent study, my colleagues and I have examined the impact of our National Professional Development grants. In another study, we are examining the oral English proficiency of non-native English speakers pursuing graduate degrees in education and factors related to their identity and perceptions of self-efficacy as teachers. In earlier studies, we examined how mainstream teachers learn to implement ESL Best Practices and how they help their colleagues through collaborative mentoring. I also explored how visual analogies in "The Fun-Analogy Train" served to empower graduate students in understanding phonological concepts and in using such concepts to help ELLs improve their pronunciation.
I currently teach EESL 625 "Phonology for Second Language Teachers" in the master's degree program for teaching ESL and world languages, EDC 732 "Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Instruction" for the EdS in ESL and secondary education, and EDC 760 "Engaging Glocal Communities" in the Educational Studies in Diverse Populations PhD program. I have given presentations at over 80 conferences (in 20 states and 5 countries) and have conducted professional development workshops for over 4,000 educators in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi as well as Nicaragua, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
My major service activity entails leadership roles in the Alabama-Mississippi TESOL affiliate and the regional Southeast TESOL council, such as chairing the 2016 AMTESOL conference and the 2017 SETESOL conference. I also serve on the Speech/Pronunciation/Listening Interest Section (SPLIS) board for the TESOL International Association. My service to UAB includes serving on the Faculty Senate and chairing the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.
Before coming to UAB, I was a teacher educator in Paraguay for 20 years. After serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, I taught linguistics at Paraguay's National University, English at a language institute associated with the British Council, and Spanish as a Second Language at the American School of Asunción where I also served as Curriculum and Professional Development Coordinator.