The American University School of Education is pleased to welcome this amazing group of new faculty members and staff to its community. These faculty and staff represent diverse areas of expertise and each will add to the School’s commitment to excellence, diversity, and antiracist/socially-just practice.
Maryam Abdelhamid, Professorial Lecturer, Urban Teachers Philadelphia, Teacher Education Program
Maryam is a founding member of the Urban Teachers Philadelphia team, serving as Clinical Faculty specializing in English Language Arts Instruction. Maryam was born in Queens, New York to immigrant parents and grew up in New Jersey. She graduated from Rutgers University - New Brunswick as a first-generation college student and joined Teach for America. She was placed to teach in Philadelphia and earned her Master's of Education from the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on Urban Education. She simultaneously earned and still holds teaching certifications in K-12 Spanish Instruction, Secondary English Language Arts Instruction, and Secondary Social Studies instruction. Maryam was a founding teacher at Mastery Prep Middle School in North Philadelphia, serving Black and Brown students and their families until 2018. She moved to Las Vegas, but soon after returned to her school in Philadelphia as Assistant Principal of instruction. She joined Urban Teachers after recognizing the need for more effective teacher preparation for teachers in Black and Brown communities in her instructional leadership. Maryam’s work is centered around maintaining high expectations and high rigor in anti-racist and culturally relevant pedagogical frameworks for Black and Brown students as a means to increase academic achievement and growth. Maryam lives with her 2 year old daughter, Leilani, and her husband. She is currently working with her local faith-based Muslim community to build an inclusive community center that serves the needs of local families.
Dr. Danielle Apugo, Senior Professorial Lecturer, Urban Teachers DC, Teacher Education Program
Danielle Apugo professionally engages the world as an educator, storyteller, writer, and speaker. She has held tenure-track positions in teacher education at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia and the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C. Danielle was appointed as founding research faculty at the Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry, and Innovation (iCubed) at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Disrupting Criminalization in Education research core. As a classroom teacher in Louisiana, Danielle was awarded the Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Danielle's research and scholarship curiosities explore the following questions: 1) how do educational institutions and exclusionary schooling practices demand and coerce Black women and girls’ conformation to hegemonic underpinnings of contemporary coloniality, and at what cost? 2) What are the hidden and invisible barriers and forces at play in schooling and educational contexts that reproduce and complicate race and gender dynamics? and 3) what cultural, emancipatory techniques do Black women and girls employ as navigational, oppositional, and sustainability mechanisms in educational settings (K-12 to career). In essence: How do Black women and girls offer “re-readings” or “reclamations” of colonizing notions of their humanity?
Her latest book, Strong Black Girls: Reclaiming Schools in Their Own Image (2020) is available now through Columbia University: Teachers College Press. Her short research documentary film, Policing Joy (2021), explores Black women and girls’ in Washington D.C. experiences with hair discrimination in K-12 schools.
D’Anya Brezzell, Senior Professorial Lecturer, Urban Teachers DC, Teacher Education Program
Before joining the Urban Teachers team, D'Anya spent eighteen years working as a high school mathematics teacher in Massachusetts, New York, Washington, DC, and Maryland. D'Anya holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Atlantic Union College and a Master of Science in Mathematics Learning and Teaching from Drexel University. Through coaching and mentoring, D'Anya works to implement inclusive practices and create supportive classroom communities so all learners can be met with success and have a positive educational experience. D’Anya loves to spend time with her family. She has been married to Nicholas for ten years, and they have two children, Payton (9) and Cole (7). She enjoys cooking, shopping, and physical fitness. She just completed her first triathlon sprint in July and plans to complete her first marathon in October. D’Anya is excited to work with Urban Teachers and American University to navigate the best practices for engaging scholars during instruction and building a community of care and an environment conducive to risk/bias-free learning.
Dr. Altheria Caldera, Senior Professorial Lecturer, Teacher Education Program
Altheria Caldera is an activist scholar, first-generation college graduate, racial equity consultant, spouse, stepmother, and doggie mom. The Alabama native recently served as assistant professor of Reading and Language Arts in the School of Education at Howard University and director of the D.C.-Area Writing Project, a chapter of the National Writing Project. She is an adjunct instructor in the master's program in Urban Education at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte where she teaches online courses in the anti-racist education certificate program. Altheria is co-founder of The Hurston, hooks, and Lorde Collective, a collective of Black women committed to advancing racial equity in education.
She has published nearly two dozen articles and book chapters examining the ways educators can advance equity for racially minoritized students. Specific areas of interest include language and literacy, Black woman/girlhood, education history, and education policy. As a curriculum and pedagogical theorist, her work also analyzes how educators can design curricula and deliver instruction that is equitable to all students. Her 2018 article, "Woke Pedagogy: A Framework for Teaching and Learning," has been downloaded nearly 7,000 times. Altheria is presently co-editing a book that studies the Black women scholars who are advancing Black girlhood studies.
Prior to working in higher education, Altheria was a middle school English/Language Arts teacher and still holds a Texas teaching certificate in this area. A sought-after workshop facilitator, guest lecturer, and keynote speaker, she earned her PhD in Curriculum Studies and a graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies from Texas Christian University (TCU) in 2016.
Dr. Rodney Hopson, Scholar in Residence
Rodney Hopson, PhD serves as Professor of Evaluation in the Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, with appointments in the Department of Educational Policy and Organizational Leadership and the Center of African Studies at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, where he has been since 2018-2019 as part of the inaugural University of Illinois System Distinguished Faculty Recruitment Program. He received his doctorate from the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, with major concentrations in educational evaluation, anthropology, and policy, and sociolinguistics. He was awarded a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) postdoctoral fellowship at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University. Hopson is an American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellow, and has affiliated previously in the Faculty of Education, University of Namibia as a Fulbright Scholar and the Centre of African Studies, Cambridge University (UK). Currently he is affiliated with the School of Health, Victoria University-Wellington (Aotearoa New Zealand), is Editor of the Studies in Educational Ethnography Book Series, Emerald Publishers, and Co-Editor of Educational Policy as/in Practice: Critical Cultural Studies, Information Age Book Series. Hopson’s cumulative work is driven by quests to: a) understand the role of language as a harbinger of social and educational change, especially in post-apartheid and postcolonial nation states that wrestle with the tensions and opportunities of democracy and freedom; and b), emphasize the transformative possibility of developing mechanisms that promote educational and social equity through the development of communities of practice in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary ways to broaden participation, inclusion, and diversity for those often forgotten and underserved in schools, community, social systems, and the larger society.
Dr. Jisun Jeong, Professorial Lecturer, International Training and Education Program
Dr. Jisun Jeong is a researcher, educator, and practitioner with expertise in low-income and crisis-affected contexts. As a scholar-practitioner, Dr. Jeong is committed to interdisciplinary and policy-relevant research that contributes to socially just, equitable and peaceful societies through quality and relevant education. For over 15 years, she has worked as a humanitarian and education practitioner for INGOs (World Vision, Save the Children, EdTech Hub, and Norwegian Refugee Council), bilateral donors agencies (USAID through NORC, KOICA), and multilateral organizations (World Bank, UNHCR through Arizona State University). Dr. Jeong’s research and policy work has primarily focused on social and emotional learning, education in emergencies and refugee education, EdTech, and girls' education in the Global South, most recently in Lebanon, Ghana, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. She was also an adjunct faculty member teaching Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crisis at the George Washington University for the past two years. Jisun received her doctorate in education (Education & Inequality) from the George Washington University in Washington DC. In addition, she holds an Ed.M. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, and M.A. in International Studies and B.A. in Education both from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.
Emma LaPrade, Graduate Program Coordinator, Education Policy and Leadership Program
Emma is originally from Buffalo, New York, and she is a recent graduate of the University at Buffalo Higher Education and Student Affairs Ed.M. program. During her time at UB, she worked as a Graduate Assistant with the Graduate School of Education Office of Admission and as the Students’ Advocate and Community Service Coordinator with Student Conduct and Advocacy. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, playing tennis, going to concerts, watching (too many) bad reality TV shows, and exploring her new home: DC! She is very excited to join AU’s School of Education community and support EPL students throughout their educational journeys.
Mallory Latimer, Faculty Academic Support Specialist
Mallory Latimer joins the SOE team as an Urban Teachers Faculty Academic Support Specialist. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Utah State University and a master’s degree in International Education from George Washington University. Before beginning graduate school, she was an elementary school teacher for students ages 2-12. She discovered her passion for educational equity when she lived in the Philippines, seeing the vast differences in the quality of education. Through traveling and studying educational systems in Uganda, Singapore, and Cambodia as well as various parts of the United States, she has seen how education can be a catalyst for change within communities. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, live music, and exploring new places.
Jola Lawal, Professorial Lecturer, Urban Teachers Dallas, Teacher Education Program
Omolara ‘Jola’ Lawal is a Houston native who completed Urban Teachers in the District of Columbia as a member of Cohort 2016 before returning to Dallas, Texas to further her life-long commitment to education. She earned a bachelor’s in Finance from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and a Masters in Education from The Johns Hopkins University. She is a strong advocate for building relationships and connections through education, life-long learning, and nurturing the whole child through meaningful and culturally competent and relevant experiences. With a fiery passion for educational equity, she enjoys reading and writing, performing spoken word, and creating pathways for students and teachers to succeed within the classroom and beyond.
Dr. Rebecca Lubin, Professorial Lecturer, Urban Teachers DC, Teacher Education Program
Dr. Rebecca Lubin is a vested educator and education policy researcher. Dr. Lubin has served as a specialist, case manager, and local education agency representative while working at District of Columbia Public Schools. Prior to her practice in Washington, DC, Dr. Lubin worked as a proficient project-based learning facilitator and an arts integration educator in Orlando, FL. Dr. Lubin’s expert leadership at school sites across the district has resulted in streamlined vertical practices at elementary schools and increased equity for scholars receiving specialized instruction and related services. As an accomplished educator, Dr. Lubin has pioneered comprehensive RTI programming resulting in holistic scholar growth and optimal scholar performance. Her research concerning gifted education pedagogy in support of the social, economic, and educational advancement of Black girls will be presented at the 2022 International Conference on Urban Education (ICUE), Speaking Truth to Power: Sustaining Excellence in Urban Realities.
Terence Ngwa, Director/ Senior Professorial Lecturer, Antiracist Administration, Supervision, and Leadership Certificate Program
Dr. Terence Ngwa is a veteran educator and organizational leader with over 20 years of national and international service. A lifelong union leader and advocate, he has worked for many years to ensure an effective voice for educators, parents, and students in the P-12 setting. Before joining the American University School of Education, Terence served as executive director at the Washington Teachers’ Union, and French at Alice Deal Middle School for 15 years. He is very passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion and antiracist initiatives in education.
Dr. Andrea Guiden Pittman, Senior Professorial Lecturer, Teacher Education Program
Andrea began her career as a classroom teacher. Her desire to examine “what works” for teachers and their students led her to work as a school administrator, Master Educator, education researcher, and education consultant —resulting in high-leverage client work with organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United States Department of Education, and Teach for America among others. Dr. Guiden Pittman holds a PhD in Education with an emphasis in Education Policy and U.S. History. A historian of education, Andrea’s research explores the intersection of race and the professionalization of teachers’ work. In her spare time, Andrea can be found trail running, baking, or spending quality time with her family.
Dr. Eugene Pringle, Senior Professorial Lecturer, Education Policy and Leadership EdD and MA Programs
Dr. Eugene Pringle, Jr. believes in the power of education and the prime need of sound educational practices and outcomes for students. With a passion for literacy, leadership, teacher preparation, and varied professional development methodologies, his educational tenure has been shaped by and has encompassed each.
Most recently, Dr. Pringle served in the capacity of Director of the School of Education at Bethune-Cookman University. As a teacher education practitioner and researcher, he merged theory, research, and application to prepare students for careers in the K-12 setting. He also served as the department chair for elementary education, reading instructor, taught introductory education courses, and facilitated senior research projects. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Pringle served in multiple capacities in urban school settings. He has served as an English language arts teacher, literacy instructional coach, and assistant principal. Additionally, Dr. Pringle has delivered professional development and participated in collaborative team efforts to support the implementation of standards-based instruction at the school and district level, developed district-wide secondary ELA curriculum, developed district-wide progress monitoring assessments, and provided support to teams of teachers as a SpringBoard trainer through The College Board.
Through a collaborative approach with faculty, students and school districts, he works to identify critical issues in education, promote efforts to develop systems-based literacy within urban and rural school districts, examine critical trends and issues in teacher preparation programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and examine the Black male leadership pipeline in the K-12 and higher education setting. Dr. Pringle’s awards and recognitions include: Bethune-Cookman University Top 40 Under 40, University of Central Florida 2018 30 Under 30 Class, and the International Literacy Association 30 Under 30.
Dr. Sung Ryung Lyu, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, Teacher Education Program
Sung Ryung Lyu earned her PhD in early childhood education from the Pennsylvania State University, focusing on multicultural/anti-racist education. Her research combines the fields of educational anthropology, reconceptualist scholarship in early childhood education, and critical approaches borrowed from critical race theory. Based on her research about pedagogical beliefs and practices of multicultural curriculum in the Appalachia region, she investigates issues of race, racism, and racial identities in the United States context. Her research also aims to understand better what happens when federal policy is implemented across sites, and how various communities can make truly meaningful curriculum and pedagogy for transformation, based on her experience working with young children, their families, and educators.