Clinical Assistant Professor
School of Education
Debi teaches courses in literacy instruction, multicultural education, and social and cultural contexts of second language learning. Her research focuses on the development of culturally responsive teaching practices in beginning teachers and on their ability to partner with diverse families. She leads the Learning Initiatives for Families and Educators (LIFE) research project that supports opportunities for undergraduate students to learn from their experiences with families of school-age children.
In 1999, Debi graduated from the MA program in education with majors in English language arts and science and with elementary teacher certification (ELMAC). She served as an upper elementary bilingual teacher in Detroit, Michigan before returning to school to receive her PhD from the School of Education in 2008.
At the University of Michigan School of Education, we know that teaching is a profession that develops people. Teachers help young people have the confidence and the skills to tackle big problems. They help youth realize their vision and develop new aspirations. Teachers foster scientists, writers, and artists. They inspire politicians, activists, and health professionals. And, because the children of today are the adults of tomorrow, teachers are pivotal in shaping society. Teachers grow the next generation of social change agents—those who will fight injustice, rebuild economies, strengthen democracy, cure cancer, and promote human rights. The plays they make today infinitely impact our tomorrow. By providing the opportunities for our young people to grow and learn, teachers can change our country, and ultimately the world.
From the very beginning, our program prepares students for this work. We place our students in classrooms where they learn to understand young people and are able to observe practicing professionals. They experience ways to contend with core challenges of teaching practice. In these environments, our students begin to develop specific ways of achieving success. They receive focused feedback from practicing teachers, university instructors, and their peers. Starting on day one, we prepare our students to be capable of developing young people, with the goal of achieving a more socially just, diverse, and productive society.
We create playmakers.
Are you one?
San Francisco, California
| Arkansas |
| Massachusetts |
| South Dakota |
| Dominican Republic |
Our teacher education program is built around real-world classroom experience. From the very beginning of your professional training, you and your peers will work in local schools alongside experienced practitioners. When you complete our program and begin independent practice as a teacher, you will have already spent extensive time working as a teacher.
We believe that feedback should be active, concrete, and support professional growth. Our program builds a feedback community in which instructors and peers comment in real time. You will get feedback that is tailored to you and that will specifically support YOUR development as a teacher.
Teaching is relational work, dedicated to helping youth learn and develop crucial knowledge and skills. Teachers need to understand the content they teach more deeply and flexibly than people who do not teach. In our teacher education program, you will learn to explain, pose questions, and represent ideas to make content accessible to and learnable by your students. You will also learn to understand and connect your students’ experiences and knowledge to the content you are teaching.
Teaching isn’t just about interacting with students and colleagues. At the University of Michigan we teach you how to partner with families and communities to grow the next generation of adults who will define our future.
Our program is demanding, but sequenced to support your learning. We will frequently assess your emerging skills and capabilities, and keep track of your progress. The benchmarks and metrics we use will help us support your development and success as an early-career teacher.
Project Manager, Dawn Farm a nonprofit substance abuse treatment agency
BA, EDUCATION—MAJOR IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS, WITH ELEMENTARY TEACHER CERTIFICATION, 2008
Liz became a teacher because she wanted to facilitate educational access and student success in the face of persistent barriers and inequalities. These commitments are also central now to her work at Dawn Farm, an organization that seeks to remove the barriers to an addict’s successful recovery. In her role as project manager, Liz draws on her skills as an educator as she oversees critical aspects of the organization’s daily operations.
"The School of Education [SOE], as well as my teaching experience in Ann Arbor Public Schools did an excellent job preparing me for this position. Although I was new to the substance abuse treatment world and the project manager position when I started, there were essential skills built upon at SOE, that allowed me to be successful in this position, including: organization and multitasking work, working well in team settings, having the ability to express an idea or plan in different ways to reach different types of thinkers and personalities, and small and large group presentation practice."
Teachers matter. A lot. Students who have highly effective teachers three years in a row score as much as 50 percentile points higher on achievement tests than those who have ineffective teachers for three years in a row.
Teachers drive society. Seventy-two percent of Americans think that teachers make a big contribution to society’s well-being, according to a 2013 Pew Research survey. This outpaces doctors, scientists, and engineers.
Teaching is one of the largest occupations in the U.S. In 2012, there were 3.7 million elementary and secondary school teachers engaged in classroom instruction.
Because of looming retirements, the U.S. will need between 2.3 million and 4.5 million new full-time public school teachers between 2009 and 2020. In the next five years alone, the nation will need 1.5 million teachers.
The average salary for public school teachers in 2011–12 was $56,643.
In 2010, the number of pupils per teacher in public school schools was 16.0.
Assistant Principal Center City Public Charter School— Trinidad Campus
BA, EDUCATION—MAJOR IN MATHEMATICS, WITH ELEMENTARY TEACHER CERTIFICATION, 2005
Sidney taught middle school mathematics in Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland for eight years and received the Outstanding Educator in Gifted and Talented Education award from the state of Maryland in 2013. Now a member of the turnaround team in a charter school that is committed to promoting academic excellence and public service, Sidney is charged with facilitating instructional consistency and student achievement in grades 4-8.
"The School of Education prepared me for my career. Once I entered the field as a professional, I regularly recalled my lessons in my theory-based and teaching content courses, as well as in my practicum. As an administrator now, I am still able to use the knowledge I gained during my tenure as a student. My experience at the School of Education was world-class."
Secondary Teacher—Civics, U.S. History, English, and Health
Michigan Islamic Academy
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Tenth Grade Teacher—U.S. World History
César Chávez Academy High School
Fifth Grade/Lead Teacher
Pattengill Elementary School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
CEO, Flipping Physics
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Teachers are the playmakers behind the scenes. They are the influencers and the entrepreneurs who seek to inspire those who will go on to stem climate change, create new art forms, rebuild economies, and drive social change. Their sphere of influence is immeasurable. They inspire the big ideas, and they thrive for the big challenges. Unafraid of difficult questions, they are intellectually curious and passionate about improving their communities. Playmakers are not those who hide behind books or chalkboards–they engage communities and draft and inspire movements that improve lives.
Playmakers are the teachers who change the lives that change our world.
The School of Education at the University of Michigan does not view teaching as a vocation–we view it as a profession. We view it as a way of developing leaders who are unafraid of addressing the complexities, the dynamic realities, and the profound inequalities of the world in which we live. Our program is one that not only serves the classroom, but prepares our graduates to pursue paths in government, administration, business, non-profits, and entrepreneurship.