Institute for Urban and Minority Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College
Columbia University

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Join Us for the 2nd Annual Edmund Gordon Lecture

In collaboration with the Program in History and Education at Teachers College as well as the Center on History and Education, IUME is excited to highlight the "Educating Harlem" lecture series in 2014-2015, which is part of a larger initiative to better explore the forces that shaped education in Harlem. Esteemed scholar, Dr. Vanessa Siddle Walker, will kick off this year's lecture series at the 2nd Annual Edmund Gordon Lecture. Make sure to save the date: October 2nd, 2014, from 9:00am to 7:3pm -- click here to RSVP!

The lecture will conclude the Educating Harlem public conference, which is being held prior, with the goal of discussing the history of education in Harlem by bringing together leading voices in the history of education field. For more information about the Educating Harlem conference, click here.

Learn More About IUME's Literacy Teachers Initiative (LTI) Project

 IUME was excited to announce the launch of the Literacy Teachers Initiative (LTI) Project in spring, 2012. Since then, we have partnered with dynamic elementary and middle school teachers from Harlem and Brooklyn in an effort to collaboratively work toward finding increased pedagogical methods for students. The LTI Project is led by Dr. Jodene Morrell of Teachers College. We have grown in number and ideas each year, received competitive research grants, presented at Teachers College and state, national, and international conferences, and written for publication.

Check out our LTI page for more information and check out the biographies of the Teacher Fellows here!

Welcome to our newest IUME Postdoctoral and Faculty Fellows!

We are excited to welcome our newest group of accomplished and innovative IUME Fellows who will be working with us this year. Our IUME Faculty Fellows include Dr. Brian Lozenski, from Metropolitan State University, and Deron Wallace, from the University of Cambridge. In addition, Teachers College's Minority Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Monique Lane, from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), will also be be a part of IUME research this year.

Learn more about them on our Faculty Fellow page and Postdoctoral Fellow page.


A Historic Evening at the Inaugural Edmund Gordon Lecture

On October 10th, 2013, IUME, in co-sponsorship with the Program in History and Education, hosted Professor Charles M. Payne who delivered the Inaugural Edmund Gordon Address at Teachers College in honor of IUME Founder and legendary figure Dr. Edmund Gordon. The address entitled, “Whatever Happened to the Negro Question? Educational Discourse and the Lost Question of Race”, drew a standing-room-only audience of nearly 200 to Milbank Chapel and helped illustrate how historical understanding is crucial for thinking about contemporary school improvement. In his address, Dr. Payne presented a broad critique of the educational community’s modern perceptions and attitudes towards school achievement, poverty, and race.

Click here to view the lecture on the IUME YouTube channel and here for pictures.

Learn More about the Youth Historians in Harlem Program!

The Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) project, sponsored by IUME, is a new critical approach to teaching history in urban schools in Harlem, focusing on empowering minority youth through their own cultural experiences, involving students in the practice of "doing" history through guided projects, programs, and participatory action research. YHH seeks to increase students' interest in history through innovative and engaging pedagogical approaches that help them become historians, researching the rich historical past of ‘their’ Harlem community. While YHIH seeks to advance the historical knowledge of education in Harlem, above all, our project seeks to make history relevant to urban students and help increase academic achievement. To learn more about this exciting project, visit the official website here.

Subcribe to the new IUME Newsletter!

In 2013-2104, IUME redesigned its monthly newsletter in a way that not only increases dissemination, but most importantly, better shares all the events and news with the world. The newsletter is available in PDF format, but also available via hard copy at the IUME office at Teachers College. Make sure to subscribe to the newsletter and e-mail list on the bottom right-hand side of this IUME homepage.

For more information and to download/view past IUME newsletters, click here.

Getting Real III Public Videoconference Series Recap

This past fall over the span of 16 weeks, IUME partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and New York University Hip-Hop Education Center to launch an innovative online seminar series called Getting Real III. Seminal scholars and leaders in the growing field of Hip-Hop studies focused their attention on how Hip-Hop culture, culturally relevant pedagogy and youth participatory action research can successfully be used to close the education gap in America's public schools.

This online public videoconference series was highly successful. The final four lectures were at Teachers College, and can be viewed in full HERE -- so check them out! The TC speakers featured Professor Chris Emdin, Professor Ernest Morrell, Jen Johnson, and Sam Seidel with Dave "TC" Ellis. (Original lineup here.)

Subscribe to our IUME YouTube Channel!

Have you visited the official IUME YouTube page recently? Want to learn more about IUME? Make sure to stop by our YouTube page here and watch a few of our videos and subscribe!. Not only do we keep a collection of IUME events and Colloquia, but our video team prepares short clips on critical research. The most recent Beyond Bullying presentation is now available, as is our December Colloquium and other great clips that should be shared!

In our increasingly digital and mutlimodal era, we believe strongly in collaborative educational content, so make sure to check back often and subscribe to your channel.



Research > Teacher Fellow Biographies

Teacher Fellow Biographies

Our elementary and middle school LTI Project Teacher Fellows come from Harlem and Brooklyn representing nine different schools. With the support of faculty and graduate students from Teachers College, they develop collaborative action research projects based on literacy practices they deem most important in their classrooms. They then present their research at Teachers College and state, national, and international conferences. They also write for publication in widely read scholarly journals and contribute book chapters to edited books. 


Marie Clevering
Marie Clevering is a founding teacher at New Design Middle School, a public school in Harlem, where she teaches sixth grade reading and writing. Marie has been teaching in NYC public and charter schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn and now Harlem for the past seven years. Born in Oklahoma, Marie received her B.A. in social studies middle school education at Texas Christian University and her M.A. in English education at City College of New York. Marie is passionate about urban education. Her goal in teaching is to create an environment where her students learn to become life-long independent readers and writers who question the world and their surroundings.

Rachael Cooper
Rachael Cooper is a third grade teacher and Literacy Liaison at Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School. She received a B.A in Psychology from Hampton University and her M.A in Literacy Acquisition and Development from The City College of New York. She is currently pursuing an M.A in Educational Leadership from the City College of New York. Her research interests are finding effective ways to implement guided reading into classroom instruction and using technology to improve student achievement. Ms. Cooper is a member of the NAACP and The National Alliance of Black School Educators. Ms. Cooper lives in Harlem, New York and enjoys bike riding and doing yoga.


Pamelyn A. Williams

Pamelyn is a 1st grade teacher at Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School and has taught for 11 years in Harlem and the Bronx. She serves many roles including: UFT Chapter Leader, co-chair of the School Leadership Team, CookShop Coordinator, and on several other school committees. She has researched ways to inspire literacy through poetry with young children, adaptation of packaged curriculum with multicultural literature, and improving literacy through reciprocal teaching with her first graders. She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi and the New York State Reading Association. Pamelyn has presented her research at Teachers College, the New York State Reading Association annual conference and has contributed a chapter for a book to be published in 2014. Pamelyn was one of the original Fellows, joining LTI in spring, 2012.

Alison Kan
Alison Khan has been teaching second grade for the past 6 years. She completed her first year of teaching in Harlem at PS 318 (The Family Academy) teaching sixth grade. Now she is happy to be a teacher at Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School (TMALS) in Harlem. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in mathematics at SUNY Geneseo. She also has a Master’s degree from Syracuse University in Literacy. Currently Alison is certified in Elementary Education (PreK-6), Literacy (Birth-5 and 6-12), and Mathematics (7-12). Along with the IUME Literacy Initiative, Alison is also involved with 2 STEM grants. She values the importance of continuing her education and staying informed about best practices in teaching. Alison is also involved in the Extended Learning Time after-school program at TMALS. In addition to teaching her students different science and technology lessons after-school, Alison also teaches 25 first and second graders tap dancing every Wednesday. Alison became a teacher because she wanted to get students excited about learning and inspire them. She provides her students with a welcoming and safe environment that encourages them to think outside the box and question the world around them. Alison works hard at writing grants through Donorschoose.org so she can provide her students with resources that otherwise her students would go without such as laptops, iPads, and basic school supplies.

Danielle Messerschmitt
Danielle is a 3rd-5th grade Special Education teacher at PS 125 and has also taught a 1st/2nd grade Special Education class, 6th grade for four years, and was a lead teacher for a 1st/2nd grade building in Long Island. She has developed two research projects: (1) the use of parent communication folders and journals to improve students’ literacy achievement and (2) using socio-emotional focused literature to improve students’ literacy skills, self-esteem and the classroom climate. Danielle has presented her research at Teachers College, the Beyond Bullying Conference, and the New York State Reading Association annual conference. She is also a member of the Principal’s Instructional Cabinet and conducts workshops at her school for colleagues. Danielle was one of the original Fellows, joining LTI in spring, 2012.


Siobhan Gordon
Siobhan Gordon is a first grade teacher at Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School. She truly enjoys teaching. Siobhan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Regis College. She also received a Masters of Science degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Fordham University. As a proud member of the TMALS team, Siobhan is on a variety of committees that enrich the environment of her school. She strives to create a culture of excellence, exploration of ideas, acceptance, thoughtfulness and respect. Siobhan is passionate about educating the whole student. She creates a classroom environment where the individual needs of her students are met so they can reach and exceed their goals. Her literacy goal for her students is to create lifelong readers and writers that have the necessary skills to glean knowledge, to show understanding, and to be analytical thinkers. As a fellow in the Literacy Teachers Initiative, Siobhan will work on multi-layered questioning to further develop her students comprehension skills. Students will be challenged to formulate their own questions and to answer questions that address higher order thinking skills.

Juliet Kissoon-Pietracatella
Juliet Kissoon-Pietracatella holds degrees in Language Art, a Dual degree in Special and General Education, and school Administration. She has taught Pre-K to the University level and is currently teaching fifth grade at Mary McLeod Bethune School. She previously held positions as Coordinators for Instructional Technology, Accelerated Reader program, school library, and science. Juliet was a senior lecturer at the Guyana's Teacher College and a lecturer at the University of Guyana where she presented co-workshops in early literacy, wrote books and curriculum guides, and illustrated books specifically for children of Guyana. Ms. Kissoon loves working with colleagues to identify students at risk, implement instructional strategies, use summative data to evaluate students' progress, and shape instruction. One of her key foci has been integrating content areas and instructional technology into the core curriculum areas. Juliet's goal for participating in the project is to provide leadership and administrative support/coordination to schools with a significant immigrant population.

Joan Stewart
Joan is a 5th grade ICT teacher in Harlem and serves as a Literary and Resource Support person and Core Knowledge Coordinator at her school. She has also taught middle school Social Studies and Literacy. She was a Common Core Fellow (2012 – 2013), received a District 5 grant for middle school “Along the Silk Road” integrated curriculum (2011), and was a workshop presenter at the New York City Writing Project Teacher to Teacher conference (2012). Now completing her 12th year of teaching, Joan has been a member of the LTI Project since spring, 2012.  



Lauren Scott
Lauren has taught middle school English Language Arts for the past seven years in Brooklyn and the Bronx. She is currently ELA Department Leader and a New-Teacher Mentor at her school and completing her Literacy Specialist Masters degree at Teachers College Columbia University. Lauren’s past research focused on the connection between motivation and writing using sketchbooks in the classroom to foster a love of writing among resistant middle-school students. Her current research examines how to help readers construct text-based, inferential ideas and draws on research by Beers and Probst (2013) and theories of transference (Keene, 2007). She has presented her research at Teachers College and the New York State Reading Association annual conference. Lauren has been an LTI Fellow since fall, 2012.

Lexie Fichera
Lexie is a fifth-year special education teacher at The Ronald Edmonds Learning Center (RELC) in Brooklyn. She has taught science and is certified in Childhood Education and Childhood Special Education. Lexie recently earned her Literacy Specialist Masters at Teachers College Columbia University and was inducted into Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education (spring 2009). She has served on her school's Inquiry Team, Quality Review Team, and Local Measures Committee as part of the new Advance teacher evaluation system. Lexie has also been a School Captain liaison and Summer Resident with Educators4Excellence, an educational policy organization. Lexie's research focuses on increasing students’ engagement in reading and writing through the use of media and relevant materials. Lexie has been an LTI Fellow since fall, 2012.

Andrew Wintner
Andrew is an English Language Arts teacher at New Design Middle School in West Harlem. He entered education through the New York City Teaching Fellows program and has taught 5th – 8th in the Bronx and Harlem for the past six years.  He is completing a Masters in Literacy at Teachers College Columbia University.  Andrew’s research focuses on teacher efficacy across socio-economic status, disability and race without simply using standardized test scores. He maintains that teacher efficacy is gauged in ways that ostracizes students and teachers alike. By breaking these bonds we can create school environments that are responsive to students’ needs rather than state exam demands. He has presented his research at NCTE and has been an LTI Fellow since fall, 2013.



Lakeya Omogun
Lakeya is a 7th grade Literacy teacher at New Design Middle School in West Harlem. She has also taught 3rd grade in Detroit, Michigan. Lakeya was a McNair Scholar at Michigan State University and is an active member of Kappa Delta Pi International Education Honor Society through the Teachers College chapter.  She is currently a Masters student in the Literacy Specialist Program at Teachers College Columbia University. Lakeya recently joined as an LTI Fellow during spring 2014.





Project Director

Jodene Morrell, Ph.D

Jodene Morrell is the Director of the Literacy Teachers Initiative project, a Senior Research Associate, and affiliate of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University where she teaches in the Literacy Specialist Program and advises Masters students. Before joining Teachers College, she was an Associate Professor at California State Polytechnic University Pomona in the College of Education and Integrative Studies where she taught literacy courses for K-12 credential candidates and advised Masters students. She also codesigned the Reading and Literacy Added Authorization program for teachers interested in furthering their understanding of literacy pedagogy for diverse populations. Prior to teaching at the university, she worked as a literacy specialist at a magnet middle school for culture, language and communication arts in Lansing, Michigan where she co-taught and co-planned with teachers and taught sixth and seventh grade writing and E.S.L. classes. She also taught elementary school in San Francisco and Lawndale, California for many years. Jodene has a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy with an emphasis in Literacy from Michigan State University and is the author of book chapters and articles in journals including the Reading Teacher, Language Arts and the Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching and Research. Her recent research focused on supporting elementary students struggling with reading and writing in an after school literacy based program she developed for a Professional Development School.
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