Affiliated Faculty

Ayana Allen
Ayana Allen-Handy
Assistant Professor
Drexel University | School of Education

Ayana Allen-Handy, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Urban Education and Education Policy at Drexel University. She received her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served as a first grade teacher and  literacy specialist in the Houston Independent School District from 2001-2008. After completion of her M.Ed. from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, she served as the Director of College Counseling and Alumni Programs at YES Prep Public Schools from 2008-2012.  In 2010, she completed her Ph.D. in Educational Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Urban Education from Texas A&M University. Most recently she completed her Post-Doctoral Fellowship at The Urban Education Collaborative at UNC Charlotte. Dr. Allen’s research examines issues of access, equity, achievement, and social justice within urban schools and communities. 

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Tosha Arriola
Director of the Teaching Fellows Program
Queens University of Charlotte | Cato School of Education

Tosha Arriola is currently an instructor in the Cato School of Education at Queens University of Charlotte. She is also the Director of the Teaching Fellows Program, where she supervises leadership and community service projects to enrich the students’ educational experiences. 

Arriola taught for fifteen years in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School district and also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica early in her career. She received her B.A. in Spanish and Education from SUNY Cortland and her M. Ed. in Literacy from Queens University. She is finishing her degree in Organization Development with a certificate in Executive Coaching. Tosha has a passion for diversity, community engagement, and service learning.

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Adrienne D. Dixson
Associate Professor
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign |

Dr. Adrienne D. Dixson attended Southern University from 1985-1989 where she was a flautist in the Southern University Jazz Ensemble and a Jazz Studies Major in the Alvin Batiste Jazz Institute. In 1990, she earned a B.A. in Music Theory and Composition from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University in Ohio, and an M.A. in Educational Studies at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She earned her Ph.D. in Multicultural Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Dixson currently serves as an Associate Professor of Critical Race Theory and Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her scholarship examines the intersectionality of race, class and gender in urban educational contexts, with a particular interest in how these issues impact educational equity for students and people of color in the urban south. Her work is widely published in academic journals and edited books. Her most recent books include Critical Race Theory and Education: All God’s Children Got a Song, Handbook of Critical Race Theory and Education, Resegregation of schools: Education and race in the 21st Century (Routledge) and upcoming Researching race in education: Policy, Practice and Qualitative Research (IAP Publishing).

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Abiola Farinde-Wu
Assistant Professor
University of Massachusetts Boston | Department of Leadership in Education

Abiola Farinde-Wu is an Assistant Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of North Carolina Charlotte in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Urban Education. In her previous position, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Farinde-Wu’s teaching and service focus on preparing urban pre-service and in-service teachers for diverse student populations. Her research interests are the educational experiences and outcomes of Black women and girls, teacher retention, and urban teacher education. She has co-authored numerous studies published in journals, including Teachers College Record, Urban Education, and Teaching and Teacher Education. In addition, she has a recently published co-edited book entitled Black Female Teachers: Diversifying the United States’ Teacher Workforce

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Sejal Parikh Foxx
University of North Carolina Charlotte | Department of Counseling

Dr. Foxx is a Professor and Counseling Department Chair. She is also the Director of the Urban School Counseling Collaborative. She has experience as an elementary and high school counselor. She is co-author of School Counseling in the 21st Century, 6th ed. In 2015, she received the Counselor Educator of the Year Award from the North Carolina School Counselors Association. She teaches both doctoral and master's level courses and her special areas of interest are school counseling, multicultural and social justice, urban education, and creating equity and access to college and career readiness. She has been successful working with interdisciplinary teams to obtain over $2 million dollars in grant funding from the Department of Education and National Science Foundation.

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Kareema J. Gray
Assistant Professor
Johnson C. Smith University | School of Social Work

Dr. Gray is an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the School of Social Work at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She received her Ph.D. in social work from The University of Georgia. Dr. Gray has worked as a medical social worker, an adoption counselor, and as an in-home family therapist. Her extensive practice experience has focused on family preservation, crisis management, adolescent residential treatment, and adoption family dynamics. Dr. Gray’s research interests includes projects that examine the effectiveness of community initiatives to alleviate poverty, international disaster case management/disaster response, and a variety of social justice and social advocacy issues. She currently serves as an advisor on community boards in Charlotte, N.C., and Rock Hill, S.C., to address community poverty and adolescent education issues.

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Brittany Hunt
Post-Doctoral Fellow
| Duke University

Brittany Hunt is a member of the Lumbee Tribe.  She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Brittany received her Bachelor of Arts from Duke University and a Master of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill.  She developed and operated the American Indian Urban Education Division at the Urban Education Collaborative.  Her research interests include the experiences of American Indian students in education, but more specifically how the K-12 system disenfranchises Native history in the classroom and those effects on American consciousness and Native cultural identity.

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Lateefah Id-Deen
Assistant Professor
University of Louisville | College of Education and Human Development

Dr. Lateefah Id-Deen is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Middle and Secondary Education at the University of Louisville. She completed her undergraduate degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.  After completing her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Iowa State University, she taught high school mathematics in both suburban and urban contexts. She went on to complete her doctorate in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education at Michigan State University, with foci in Urban Education and Mathematics Education. Her dissertation details the connections between student-teacher relationships and learning in an urban mathematics classroom. Continued research examines Black students’ perspectives on their experiences in mathematics classrooms, and ways to support educators in hearing and developing practice in relation to students’ expressed interests. She is a Content Area and Equity Consultant for the National Science Foundation’s Designing Equity by Teaching Mathematics project. Currently, Dr. Id-Deen teaches mathematics methods courses for prospective mathematics teachers, specifically those preparing to teach in urban schools. Her research and teaching reflect her passion for creating equitable learning environments for students of color in mathematics classrooms. 

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Tambra O. Jackson
Associate Professor
Indiana University | School of Education

Dr. Jackson is an Associate Professor of Teacher Education in the Indiana University School of Education at Indianapolis. She earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from Miami University (Ohio), a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana Wesleyan University, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching, and Education Policy from Michigan State University. Dr. Jackson considers herself to be a scholar-activist committed to social justice issues pertaining to the historical and contemporary oppression, miseducation, and liberation of children of Color in U.S. schools. She studies these issues within the field of teacher education where her research and teaching focus on teacher learning and development across the professional continuum specifically centered on preparing teachers to teach for social justice, developing culturally responsive teaching and pedagogy, and examining the experiences of preservice teachers of Color and Black women faculty.

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Stephanie Jones-Fosu
Assistant Professor
| Lenoir-Rhyne University

Stephanie Jones-Fosu received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction for Urban Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  She attended Morgan State University where she received a B.A. in Political Science. She then earned her M.A. in Education and Human Development at the George Washington University. Stephanie has taught middle and high school social students for 9 years. She has also coached over 100 first and second year teachers through a non-traditional teaching organization. Her research interests include preservice, teacher preparation, and culturally sustainable pedagogy.

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Joshua Kirven
Associate Professor
Winthrop University | Department of Social Work

Dr. Joshua Kirven is an associate professor in the Department of Social Work at Winthrop University and Part-Time Instructor at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC.  He is a research-practitioner with over twenty years of experience as an educator-practitioner.  Joshua’s research areas are fatherhood engagement and impact, neighborhood adversity and safety, prosocial youth development and sports culture influence and academic achievement.  He has an array of practice experience with solution-oriented, evidence-based interventions and macro programming across communities and public-private sectors in the area of socially conscious capitalism.  He is a Fulbright Scholar and graduate of Hampton University, University of South Carolina and The Ohio State University, respectively.

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Patricia J. Larke
Texas A&M University | Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture

Dr. Patricia J. Larke is a professor at Texas A&M University in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture (TLAC) and the 2014-2016 Teacher Education Fellow. She is currently serving as a Scholar in Residence at University of North Carolina, Charlotte in its Urban Education Center. Dr. Larke has been a scholar in the field of Multicultural Education for over 25 years and has over 100 publications and has made over 400 conference presentations.  Her research interests include: Effective Multicultural Teachers,  Academic Achievement of Girls of Color, Integrating Multiculturalism in the Curriculum and Diversity in Driver Education.  She was a 2005 Fulbright Scholar to China.  She was  the recipient of National Association of Multicultural Education’s (NAME) 2004 Multicultural Educator Award. She served as President of Texas NAME Chapter and received the 2010 Legend Award. She received  TLAC’s Award of Excellence (2015) and Climate and  Diversity Award (2014).

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Sonyia Richarson
Assistant Professor
University of North Carolina Charlotte | School of Social Work

Dr. Sonyia Richardson, MSW, LCSW, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Her research focuses on the intersection of social work and urban education, mental health, and suicide.  She received her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction (UNC Charlotte), MSW (UNC Chapel Hill), and BA in Psychology degree (UNC Charlotte). 

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Derrick E. Robinson
Assistant Professor
University of Memphis | Educational Leadership

Derrick Robinson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at The University of Memphis. He received his B.A from Morehouse College, an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, and a Masters of Educational Leadership from Wingate University. In 2016, he earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Urban Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. Robinson has 22 years of experience in urban schools in Washington DC, Prince George’s County, MD and Charlotte, NC. Derrick has taught Social Studies and Business Education for 15 years and 7 years of service in school adminsitration. Dr. Robinson’s research examines the contextual nature of school climate and culture, leadership effectiveness, and teacher effectiveness.

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Tonya J. Rose
Southern University and A&M College |

Tonya Rose is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA. She is the  Science, Mathematics, and Technology content specialist for the undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation programs, the CAEP Coordinator for national accreditation and the TPI  Liaison for state approval.
Dr. Rose earned her doctorate in Science and Mathematics Education from Southern University and A&M College. Her research focused on the Effects of Informal Science Learning on Middle
School Students’ Science Attitudes.
As a consultant, Dr. Rose has worked with SHEEO’s Project Pipeline Repair program, that aims to increase the number of African American males entering the teaching profession and various
Praxis Preparation programs for aspiring teachers. She also facilitates workshops on how to utilize technology effectively in the classroom and track student growth.

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Spencer Salas
University of North Carolina Charlotte | College of Education

Spencer Salas, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he is TESL strand coordinator for the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Among the courses he teaches are Globalization, Communities, and Schools; and, Teacher Leadership. An award-winning District of Columbia Public School ESL teacher, he has been a Fulbright Fellow to Romania (1998), Guatemala (2007), and South Africa (2013); a Senior English Language Fellow for the U.S. Department of State to Peru (2001-2003); and a frequent English Language Specialist for the Office of English Language Programs. His empirical and theoretical scholarship focuses on teachers' negotiation of New South contexts and the implications of Latino immigration for educational policy and praxis. His writing has appeared in venues such as TESOL Journal, Bilingual Research Journal, The Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, The Peabody Journal of Education, and, The Journal of Basic Writing. In 2004, he was named a Scholar for the Dream by the Conference for College Composition and Communication; in 2008, a National Council of Teachers of English New Voice among Scholars of Color; and, in 2009, an Early Career Fellow with the University of Georgia's Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education. He is co-editor of Vygotsky in 21st century society (Peter Lang, 2011); U.S. Latinos and education policy (Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2014); Latinization of K-12 communities (SUNY Press, under contract for 2017); and, Volume 15 TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching, Administrative and Organizational Issues (TESOL Inc/Wiley International (under contract for 2017).

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Victoria Showunmi
Assistant Professor
UCL Institute of Education, UK |

Dr. Showunmi is an Assistant Professor in Education at UCL Institute of Education, UK.  She focuses on 1) Gender and Educational leadership and 2) Black young women and their well being  through an intersectional lens.  She is currently leading an educational leadership partnership with colleagues on projects  that are based in Pakistan,  Germany and the USA .

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Tracy Spies
Assistant Professor
University of Nevada, Las Vegas | English Language Learning Program

Dr. Tracy Spies is an Assistant Professor of English Language Learning at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She received her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston and taught in elementary bilingual classrooms throughout her teaching  career. After completion of the M.S. in Educational Leadership from Sam Houston State University, she served as an elementary school principal. In 2010, she completed her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Hispanic Bilingual Education from Texas A&M University.  Her teaching and administrative experiences shape a research agenda that focuses on creating classroom conditions supportive of student access to the standards through the development of academic language.

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Andrea L. Tyler
Director of Graduate STEM
Tennessee State University |

Andrea L. Tyler, Ph. D is currently the Director of Graduate Students services and a Research Associate at Tennessee State University. She is also the Director of the POTUS Fellows Program that supports African American STEM graduate students in an attempt to address the global need to increase African American representation in the STEM disciplines.  Andrea earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the Miami University of Ohio. Andrea also holds degrees in Curriculum and Instruction and Mechanical Engineering.

Andrea’s research focuses on the higher education experiences of African American graduate students and faculty. More specifically, her research explores graduate student achievement, outcome, and career choice in STEM; graduate and faculty mentoring, socialization, and identity constructs; and African American females in STEM.

These interests have led Andrea to conduct research and write grants on a variety of topics such as academic preparation and retention in STEM fields, the influence of mentoring relationships on student outcomes, the experiences and motivational patterns of high achieving students of color, Black single motherhood, and higher education access for STEM students of color.

Prior to completing her doctoral work at Miami University of Ohio, Andrea worked as a Mechanical Engineer for companies such NASA, Honeywell, and ServiceMaster and as a K-12 central office administrator for a large Mid-West urban school district.

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Bettie Butler
Associate Professor
UNC Charlotte | College of Education

Dr. Bettie Ray Butler is an Associate Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education in the College of Education at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University, whereby she earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Urban Education Policy. Prior to obtaining her Ph.D. she received both her Bachelor’s (North Carolina A&T State University) and Master’s (Texas A&M University) in Political Science. Dr. Butler’s existing publication record consists of several referred journal articles, book chapters, and policy reports; all of which highlight her research interests in issues of equity, representation, and achievement among vulnerable populations, particularly students of color, in K-12 urban settings.

Gloria Campbell-Whatley
Associate Professor
UNC Charlotte | College of Education

Dr. Campbell-Whatley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education and Child Development at UNC Charlotte.  She has delivered numerous national and international presentations, workshops, and strands. Her specialty in academics and research is infusing diversity into higher education and K-12 curriculum and she also offers solutions for behavior problems, response to intervention, and social skills training in public schools.   She has written several articles related to multicultural education and published three books.

Heather Coffey
Associate Professor
UNC Charlotte | College of Education

Dr. Heather Coffey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Middle, Secondary and K-12 Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she completed the program in Culture, Curriculum and Change and developed an interest in English language arts teacher preparation, service-learning and critical literacy. Dr. Coffey's primary teaching responsibilities include graduate English language arts methods as well as service-learning courses. Her research interests include ways to develop critical literacy with urban learners, bridging the gap between educational theory and practice in teacher education, and supporting in-service teachers in urban school setttings through professional development. Dr. Coffey's record of publication includes book chapters and articles in refereed practitioner and research journals.


James Davis
Affiliated Faculty
UNC Charlotte | College of Education

Dr. James Davis received his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Urban Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He also received a B.A. degree in Middle Grades Education with concentrations in English Language Arts and Social Studies, an M.Ed degree in Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education, and an M. SA degree in School Administration. Davis has taught and worked as a school administrator for 13 years in North Carolina. He currently lives in North Carolina where he is a middle school principal. Dr. Davis also teaches for UNC Charlotte and he conducts staff development on "School Transformation", "Principal Leadership", “Teacher Retention”, “Safe Schools”, and “Serving At-Risk Populations.”

Ruth Greene
Johnson C. Smith University |

Dr. Ruth L. Greene is a Professor of Psychology at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She received her doctorate degree from the University of Massachusetts and has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Aging and Human Development at Duke University Medical Center and the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

Her research and professional interests have been broad based and include minority issues in the area of urban education, minority aging, cultural competency, diversity training and adolescent development and health.  She has served as Assistant Dean of Studies at Mt Holyoke College, Chair of the Education and Psychology Department at Fayetteville State University and Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Robert L. Albright Honors College  at Johnson C. Smith University. She also served as an Extramural Associate with the National Institutes of Health and faculty researcher for the Department of Defense.

Dr. Greene has served on numerous boards that include the Executive Committee, Ford Foundation, Charlotte Mecklenburg School Reform Initiative, Co Chair, Research Committee of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Charlotte, the  Larry King Center, Council on Children, the Carolinas Association for Community Health Equity, the Executive Board, American Red Cross, Greater Carolinas Chapter, the Governor’s Planning Committee on the Concerns of Older Women in North Carolina, the Executive Board  of the Human Services Council  for Charlotte Mecklenburg, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Mental Health Board, the North Carolina Cultural Competence Initiative Advisory Committee, the Executive Board, of the Council on Aging for Mecklenburg and Union Counties, the Education Committee of Division 20, Adult Development and Aging, American Psychological Association.

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Esrom Pitre
Affiliated Faculty
University of Houston Clear Lake |

Esrom Pitre has done more than just teach the principles of educational leadership; he has actually practiced them. Prior to joining the UHCL faculty in fall 2013, Pitre successfully took on the challenge of transforming a low-performing/high poverty Louisiana high school into a model of academic change and success. After years of low performance, Donaldsonville High School rated an F school for eight consecutive years, the school had been placed on the academic watch list and was on the verge of being taken over by the state. The graduation rate at the school was a low 67 percent and that the school culture was one where the students weren’t motivated to learn and showed no respect to teachers, with teachers encountering discipline and attendance problems. Dr. Pitre explored the following three research strands: (1) the impact of culturally responsive leadership on improving marginalized students’ achievement, (2) the impact of law and policy on student development and achievement in urban schools, and (3) what role does community engagement play in sustaining school improvement in urban school.

Malcolm E. Scott
Assistant Professor
Colorado State University | School of Social Work

Dr. Malcolm E. Scott is currently an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University (CSU), Director of the Human Services Assessment Project (HSAP) and Associate Director of Public Achievement for Community Transformation (PACT). Malcolm is an advocate for equity and fairness, social and economic justice, and cultural competency and diversity. As an emerging young scholar, Malcolm’s research interests focus on youth and community development, urban education and community-engaged scholarship, issues facing vulnerable populations, and higher education access and opportunity for students of color. In the classroom, Dr. Scott infuses diversity into his teaching and helps students understand human growth and development from a perspective that appreciates the influence of culture, age, sexual orientation, religion and other factors that influence a multi-cultural society.  –

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Tehia Starker Glass
Associate Professor
UNC Charlotte | College of Education

Dr. Tehia Starker Glass is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Elementary Education in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education at UNC Charlotte.  Dr. Starker Glass earned degrees from Bethune-Cookman University (B.S. Elementary Education), the University of Northern Iowa (M.A. Educational Technology), and University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Ph.D. Educational Psychology).  Dr. Starker Glass’ teaching background spans K-12 through higher education.  She has taught in Japan, Italy, Hawaii, New York, Florida, and Tennessee.  The majority of her teaching experiences have been in urban and/or title one elementary schools while in the states. Dr. Starker Glass’ research interests include preparing preservice and inservice teachers’ culturally responsive teaching self-efficacy, examining motivational factors that influence teachers’ behavior towards culturally diverse students, culturally responsive classroom management, investigating the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) and teacher education, and instructional design.